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The Best Family Friendly Biking Trail In North Iowa

The Prairie Land Bike Trail in Northern Iowa is quickly becoming one of my favorite biking trails in Iowa. It’s on a rail trail in Northern Iowa and offers scenic prairie views.

Bike riders of all levels will enjoy this trail, making it North Iowa’s best biking trail. The wildflowers, corn, and soybeans offer an incredibly colorful view during the summer. Here are tips on how your biking experience can be best while riding the Prairie Land Trail.

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Best Places To Park On Prairie Land Trail

My husband and I typically ride to the trail from our home or park in Burchinal, Iowa. There is no parking next to the trail. It would be best if you parked on a street in Burchinal, and it’s a short bike ride to the trailhead.

The short driveway near the trail is the driveway to a farmer’s field, do not park there. If you are coming from Mason City, there is a small parking area near the trailhead at 13773 240th St, Southwest of Mason City, Iowa.

Swaledale, Iowa, offers a nice size parking lot at 10365 150th Street.

The Swaledale parking area has a picnic table, garbage can, and parking.

There is no running water or toilets at either of these parking areas, so plan accordingly. Mileage from Burchinal to Swaledale roundtrip is 12.4 miles- a nice bike ride to start or end any day.

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Sights Along The Prairie Land Trail

You can expect to see corn and soybean fields during the summer months. July brings an abundant amount of wildflowers, hence the Prairie Land Trail. You will find yourself amid a prairie in the thick of summer. Farmhouses dot the land around the trail. You will cross several bridges; if you look across the fields, you will see other bridges in the distance.

wooden bridge prairie land trail north iowa's best biking trail

As you ride the trail, you will notice the large trees that hover over where you are riding. I imagine the previous years’ trains traveling under them as I pedal along the Prairie Land Trail in North Iowa. It’s not uncommon to see rabbits on and along the trail. On a recent ride, a bird flew next to me for 15 seconds. Connect with nature and enjoy North Iowa’s best biking trail.

wild flowers North Iowa's best biking trail

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Stop At Stop Signs

All bicyclists should know that stop signs mean stop. The Prairie Land Trail intersects with several rural county roads, meaning all trail users must stop before crossing any of these roads.

Stop signs are present, reminding you that you are approaching a county roadway. Look both ways before you cross and continue experiencing North Iowa’s best biking trail.

Trail Amenities

The Heartland Prairie Trail is composed of crushed limestone, which means it is not a paved trail. It’s fairly easy to ride, as the trail is flat. There are trees along the trail, but not in a large abundance. The best part of this trail is that it’s in the wide open country with incredible views of America’s Heartland, Iowa.

windmill North Iowa's best biking trail
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The Prairie Land Trail continues to evolve, as of July of 2023, the trail is being expanded south of Thornton. You can ride from Mason City to Thornton (15 miles) and experience Iowa at its finest. Next time you consider a family bike ride, why not hop on North Iowa’s best biking trail, Prairie Land Trail?

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Sara is a travel enthusiast that resides in North Iowa. You can find her traveling where the plane, train, ship, or car will go. Are you looking to take a road trip? Sara has solutions for you!

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