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  1. #1
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    Where Should I Take A Midwest MTB Trip To?

    I am in need of some assistance in planning a 5-9 day trip later this summer. In years past I have always headed west for my trips i.e. Colorado and South Dakota’s Black Hills in search of fresh singletrack. I have came to realize that there are many great underappreciated Midwest singletrack trails much closer to home that would satisfy my needs. This year I am looking to stay within a 6 hour radius from central Iowa. I have ridden all major trails in Iowa and the trails around Madison, Wisconsin, Redwing, Minnesota and Perry Lake in Kansas. I thoroughly enjoyed all of these trails especially Perry Lake. I also know that every state has some great I will be with the GF so beginner friendly trails for her and advanced for me would be ideal. To make a trail system worth traveling to I believe it should be well thought out with good signage/difficulty ratings, maps and up to date on trail maintenance. I am looking to camp most nights to keep the costs down. My only requests in a campground are showers for after riding. Another bonus would be staying in close proximity to some good breweries/brew pubs.

    Thanks in advance for all input!

  2. #2
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    I'm from the Kansas City metro area (but I'm an Iowa grad - go Hawks - and lived in Ottumwa for a few years). Only been MTB riding for a little over 3 months now. Perry Lake is definitely a good ride. A few technical areas for my skill level, but still manageable. My son & really enjoyed it, but it kinda kicked our butts.

    A few others I've ridden in the area so far:

    Shawnee Mission Park in Shawnee, KS - a pretty good mix of rock/root sections with a couple of decent flowing areas; not a lot of cornering runs IMHO; recently opened up the new Red trail which ain't too bad (though I've endo'd a couple times there already).

    Kill Creek Park in DeSoto, KS - seems fairly tame for the most part, although there are a few rocky areas, especially once you cross the creek. A pretty low-key ride I thought.

    Wyandotte County Lake Park in Kansas City, KS - mostly hardpack, and can get some speed in a couple of areas; not a lot of rocks/roots to contend with; pretty manageable for a noob like me; not much cornering fun IMHO.

    Lawrence River Trail in Lawrence, KS - only been there twice (1x on our crappy Wally bikes, and again tonite for the first time on my new Mamba) but this trail is an absolute blast for fast flowing Midwest track; the 29er tires felt like they were blazing thru this trail; very very few rocks & roots to contend with; tons of multiple S-curve sections with some embankments for ripping thru the corners; a few smaller jumps to catch a little air; thought it was great for a noob... fairly flat but fast enough for more experienced riders to have some fun cranking the speed up. Probably the most fun I've had on a trail ride yet! But avoid the new trail... it was like riding on the beach, and NOT in a good way. Sand was so heavy there, killed all momentum.

    Others in the KC metro area that I'm planning to ride, that you might look into:

    Swope Park in Kansas City, MO
    Smithville Lake in Smithville, MO
    Landahl in Blue Springs, MO - heard it's got a good mix of trails for different levels; and LOTS of them; very good reviews on singletracks.com
    Clinton Lake near Lawrence, KS

    Hope your Midwest MTB travels go well. Stay safe on the trails!

  3. #3
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    Not sure how far it is for you but what about Brown County State Park in Nashville, IN?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bballr4567 View Post
    Not sure how far it is for you but what about Brown County State Park in Nashville, IN?
    Brown Co fits all the criteria. It's a blast to ride. Plenty of trail and it is well marked, maintained with camping on site. Closest of the trails I recommend.

    Plenty of options up in Michigan too. Ft Custer is another favorite. Lots of fun to ride. Camping on site, plenty of trail, and the local group does a good job of maintaining the trail.

    Mohican in Ohio between Cleveland and Columbus is another destination trail. A bit further away for ya though. Again, plenty of trail, a bit more difficult than the others. Camping on site.

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  5. #5
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    +++1 on Brown County State Park in Nashville, IN. Something there for every level rider. I'm scheming to get back there this year. One trip a year just isn't gonna do it!
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  6. #6
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    Brown County State Park in Nashville, IN is a great ride! You could also include French Lick and Versailles State Park. If you feel like driving a couple of hours further I highly recommend the Upper Peninsula in MI. Ride Michigan Tech, Swedetown, Copper Harbor(a must ride), and possibly Marquette. You will not be disappointed!

    U.P. Mountain Biking

  7. #7
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    +1 for Mohican. How this is not an IMBA Epic blows my mind.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by black_taco View Post
    5-9 day trip...a trail system worth traveling to...well thought out with good signage/difficulty ratings, maps and up to date on trail maintenance. I am looking to camp most nights to keep the costs down...
    More like 10 hours but 300 miles of outstanding trail system; all skill levels short of ledge hopping.

    No showers in NF campgrounds; some in state park campgrounds.

    Terrific riding and a very fun area. Take a rest day from riding and float the Namakagon River.

    Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association

  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    5-9 days? You could do Chequamegon, Duluth, and Cuyuna in that time frame if you don't mind the driving. If you'd rather stick to one spot, do Chequamegon. There's so much trail and wilderness up there it's insane. Legit adventure mountain biking.

    Also, with the temps the way they've been lately, you definitely want to head north. We spent our honeymoon in the Lake Superior area at the beginning of July and the temps were at least 20 degrees cooler than back home (eastern Iowa). This allowed us to play outside the whole time without heat exhaustion.

    If you decide to ride Cheq, stay in Hayward, WI at the Northern Pine Inn. They were very accommodating, have a pool, sauna, spa etc etc. Hit the following trails:

    Hatchery Creek
    Seeley Pass (Pothole Plunge!)
    Rock Lake
    Patsy Lake

    Those are my faves but there's 300 miles of trail up there so you'll never run out.

  11. #11
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    Brown County vs. Land Between the Lakes?

    It has been about 5 years since I have been to Brown County, but I didn't think there were enough trails to warrant 5-9 days as the OP wants.

    What about Land Between the Lakes? I could see spending 5 days there without ever riding the same trail / section of trail twice.

    Only bad thing is BYOB. No good pubs, except maybe in Hopkinsville? Alot of the area is dry counties (no alcohol sales at all).

    Josh

  12. #12
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    I just reread your OP.
    Seriously, as much as it's kinda cool you want to experience the best midwest riding, there really isn't anything out here warranting a 5-9 day vacation.

    There's a reason you, and everyone else, goes west for this stuff.
    It's better
    Way better.
    Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
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