Sunday, December 2, 2007

By request, pics of the 'Backyard' trails!

So Guitar Ted mentioned in a thread on eMpTy BeeR that I've mentioned these trails before but have not actually shown them to anyone who would even be remotely interested. Huh. So here they are. My local stash. These aren't very good shots, firstly. Second, these are shot only on one small section of trail.

Notice in this shot, a large rock off to the left in the shot. I'm standing on it in the next shot.

I'm up about 8' above the trail here.

The view to Wyalusing State Park. And there's some good news about the park I'll get into later. Good stuff for sure!

Yes, its steeper and rockier than it looks. This section is pretty intimidating to come upon. Its ridable, but not every time. This section of trail is actually pretty rocky for a good 1/3 to 1/2 mile.

A few details of the trails. They're primarily horse trails. As such, there are climbs here that can't be done. There is some hiking involved. Personally, I don't mind that. It gives one a chance to slow down, and really take in the surroundings you're riding through. Many trails really don't let you do that, y'know? The trails start at La Riviere City Park, a 300 acre former farm with probably 5 miles of trail on it. Its also the perfect place for a future 'cross race! Anyways, the trails start at La Riviere, and branch out from there. There is a claimed 50 miles of trail laced through the hills here. Yes, you read that right 50, as in 5 - 0 miles of trail. dayum. And they ain't easy as alluded to earlier. Now, that's what they claim. I've been up there exploring for the summer months here, and I feel I've only found 25 or so. If there really is twice that much, I can't wait to find it! If you want to come on around for a ride, PLEASE DO, but be prepared. Its steep. And technical. The single track ain't beginner friendly. If one wants easy, there's Wyalusing, Pikes Peak, or the wide trails on La Riviere proper.

So that's the scoop for the 'Backyard'. While we're talking local trails, I guess I should mention what else this area has to offer. I won't go into terrible detail, I'll save that for later posts. Gotta give myself topics after all!

Wyalusing State Park - there are roughly 10 miles of tail open to bikes. Its all easy, grassy trail with minimal elevation gain. Some pretty views. The July storms destroyed some of the trails there though - and they are looking to develop a new system of sustainable trails, with an aim of attracting more MTBer's to the park. Yay! I'll be helping them with design and layout, and Vernon Trails will be helping with construction if timing is right. They've got their hands pretty full up there in Viroqua. I'll be looking for local help too, so any of you locals wanting to learn trail construction - pay attention! I'll be spreading the word as more news develops!

Pikes Peak State Park, IA - Probably 5 or so miles of moderate trail. Not single track, but ATV width trail that starts on ridge top, and goes alll the way down. Then you climb back up. A somewhat entertaining ride.

Yellow River State Forest, IA - a rough 40 mile loop can easily be created. Again, this is mostly on ATV width trail, with moderate to high horse use, so a single path has been worn in. Can be a pretty fun place to ride.

Volga Rec Area, IA - Ryan and I did a 17 mile loop there a few weeks ago. There used to be an IA mtn bike race there in the years past, but I guess the sand killed it. Yep, this place can be sandy, but one can still get a nice long loop in. Be aware of high horse use though.

That's about it for staying in close proximity to Prairie du Chien. There's lots more if you travel within an hour of here. Yellow River and Volga would be perfect places to start trail creation efforts. The terrain is perfect for truly great singletrack. Something to think about you IA locals!

Ah. this is long enough. Thanks for reading!

Listening to: Loose Fur a great littel side project from Jeff Tweedy. Check it out.


Guitar Ted said...

First of all, Thanks Marty! This is awesome news. To finally get the 4-1-1 on what's goin' down East of here is super cool. Can you believe it has taken over 20 years for anything to get going over there for mountain biking? I know I can't!

The shots you posted are very tempting. It's amazing that somebody with a vision hasn't taken that area into the limelight of Mid-Western mountain biking. (Kind of where Decorah is headed now)It would only make sense to create more tourist dollars in your area.

On Volga: You probably know this, but Deke was the man that put on the early events there and then a club I was involved in ressurected the event for a few years in the mid-90's. It is as you say, very sandy in spots, but a killer loop. Horse traffic is way lower on weekdays, as you might suspect. I've had some epic rides there in the past.

Well, this is a good bunch o news to chew on over the winter months. Thanks again Marty, this is great and I appreciate your sharing. Take care!

Captain Bob said...

Awesome! I have to come up there too.

pete said...


Looks great! Sounds like a good excuse to take a trip down there in the spring!

gNAT said...

I'll be down. Martini, I'll be coming down your way the week before the 2008 Big Wheel Ballyhoo. I think I'm riding down. Can't wait to see your trails.