Sunderbruch Park – Mountain Bike Trails – Davenport, Iowa

Sunderbruch Park is located on the west side of Davenport, Iowa and only a few miles from I-280. Recreation on the trails includes mountain biking, dog walking, and horseback riding. Parking is free, abundant, and supports horse trailers. There are restrooms and a picnic area but no water fountains. My cell phone service was strong while in the park.

I biked three counterclockwise loops in the following order: all of the trails, all of the beginner and intermediate trails, and all of the beginner trails plus L.T. (Loud Thunder). The Google Map above and the elevation chart below were generated on my first loop. The chart illustrates the continual change in elevation (i.e., rolling terrain) incorporated into each of the sub-loops.

Access to the network of trails is via a one-way trail named Kickapoo Up. It included a prolonged climb that got my heart rate going.

Comlara is one of two trails that serves as a main artery for the larger network. It is rated as easy and rides fast.

Comlara connects with the larger Farmdale Loop, which is the other main artery and also rated easy. It weaves in and out of the forest.

The trails are very well marked with a rating system that includes green circles for “easy”, blue squares for “more difficult”, and black diamond for “most difficult”. I biked counterclockwise around the easy loops because all four of the black diamond sub-loops are one-way in the counterclockwise direction. As a result, the first black diamond I came upon was L.T. (Loud Thunder). It includes several bridges that were short enough that I didn’t notice how far below it was on either side.

In addition, it offers obstacles like the mound of logs seen below. There was little lead time so it surprised me and forced me to dismount.

Other than the mound of logs mentioned above, most of the challenging features on this sub-loop are separated by long stretches of easy to medium terrain. Another challenging feature is an elongated turn with logs laid across it.

The next picture features a short, narrow bridge at the bottom of a descent, which is ultimately offset by a long climb to complete the sub-loop.

After a quick jaunt on Farmdale, I biked on the Jubilee sub-loop. It is one of four sub-loops rated “more difficult”. Of the four, it has the most interesting human-made feature, which is a spiraling wood platform. I stayed in the middle on my first pass and ventured a little farther from the center on my second pass. With more practice, I can see myself having fun riding farther and farther from the center line.

Sometimes I don’t have fun on trails designed for advanced riders because I struggle to maintain momentum across obstacles bunched together and that frequently force me to dismount. However, on this sub-loop, there are long stretches of fast and easy trail that make it easier to try some of the more difficult bridges and ramps. For example, I don’t have much confidence when it comes to riding over narrow logs but the following bridge is short and has enough lead time for me to do it.

The subsequent ramp is another instance of an obstacle with plenty of lead time.

This sub-loop ends with a large deck ideal for hikers taking a break or having a picnic.

Next, I biked on the “more difficult” Sugar Bottom trail. I only took one picture because it was easy enough such that I didn’t have to dismount. I’m pretty sure I maneuvered all of its obstacles, which means they are on the easier end of the spectrum.

The next sub-loop was the black diamond Watermelon Pass. It is very short with an uneven descent leading down to a narrow log bridge.

I liked all of the “more difficult” trails but Rock Cut was my favorite. It included medium difficultly obstacles like the log ramp pictured below and some fun, twisty climbs.

The subsequent picture captures a curvy turn on the Farmdale Loop between Rock Cut and Palos. The easy trails may be devoid of obstacles but are fun because they are narrow and curvy.

Palos was the third black diamond sub-loop. Like the elevated log ramp below, some of its obstacles were optional. However, it also included some steep descents and deep drops.

The last of the “more difficult” sub-loops was Kettle Moraine. I found it to be fast and fun.

It ends at four-way intersection. I made a hard right turn to get to the Blue Mound sub-loop, the last of the black diamond trails. I found this sub-loop to be the most challenging because of its rugged terrain that included tree roots and rock gardens.

In addition, it included two of the longer, more precarious log bridges.

I walked across both of these bridges during my one ride on this sub-loop.

Considering the overall smoothness of the trails in this park, this sub-loop ended with what felt like an out of place rock garden.

I completed all three of my loops by riding on Kickapoo Down. It is entirely downhill and, if you go easy on the brakes, you will finish with great fervor.

In sum, Sunderbruch Park has a diverse set of trails atop rolling terrain. It is very well maintained and clearly marked so first time visitors should have a lot of fun. In addition, I recommend mountain biking at the nearby Scott County Park. It features trails that should be fun for beginners and experts but has less elevation change than Sunderbruch.

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