Scott County Park – Mountain Bike Trails – Iowa

Scott County Park is about 25 minutes north of Davenport, Iowa and is well marked by street signs. Directions from I-80: take exit 295B for US-61 N, take exit 129 for Long Grove/Park View, turn right onto 267th St/Co Rd F41, turn left onto Scott Park Rd, turn right onto 270th St, and then turn left into the park. Parking is free and abundant. The mountain bike parking lot has a restroom but no water. Recreation on the trails includes mountain biking, hiking, dog walking, and horseback riding (on separate trails). Cell phone service was strong while in the park.

The trail system is separated into two main loops: the northern Park View Loop and the southern Long Grove Loop. All of the trails are one-way, clearly marked with enter and exit signs, and very well maintained.

The Google Map above contains three recorded sets of GPS coordinates: all of the northern trails, all of the southern trails, and the Park View Loop trail in isolation. The Park View Loop is about three miles long with gently rolling terrain.

It is smooth, curvy, and should be fun for riders of all skill levels. For example, I saw a family of four ride into the trail system from a campground.

The Park View Loop is the main artery that has two large secondary loops connected to it: the ScoCoPa Loop and the Cannon Loop. The following elevation chart was generated while riding on the Park View Loop and all of the trails that branch off of it. The estimated total distance was 7 miles.

The first secondary loop is the ScoCoPa Loop. It has trails that branch off of it too so a unique experience can be had with each ride. The only branch I skipped was the Bad Neighborhood Trail. TheĀ  ScoCoPa Loop rides similarly to the Park View Loop in that it is smooth, narrow, and twisty.

After seeing a deer run across the trail, I hopped on the Sunrise trail for a quick and easy ride.

Next up on the ScoCoPa Loop was a short and optional set of obstacles that I walked over. The first was a large mound of logs.

The second was a large tree modified to be an elevated platform.

I rode the Park View Loop twice and felt confident enough to attack its obstacles on my second pass. However, I skipped many of the obstacles on the ScoCoPa Loop since I was seeing them for the first time and and didn’t know what was on the other side. The next noteworthy intersection I came across was unnamed and marked with a black diamond. After my ride, another rider said it is known as Area 51. I recommend that first time explorers, like myself, walk Area 51 as opposed to riding it because its obstacles, ramps, platforms, and sheer ascents/descents are very challenging. Beverly Park in Cedar Rapids has very cool obstacles and platforms but Area 51 has an incredible set that is unmatched by any I’ve ever seen. For example, the following is an L-shaped wood platform.

By themselves the wood platforms look challenging but I think they are extremely challenging considering that most of them are preceded and followed by steep stunted climbs and blind tight turns. It seems like you’d almost have to memorize the sequence in order to safely navigate them. The following is a long wood platform that narrows on the backside.

All of the trails appear to be very well maintained and Area 51 is a prime example of the blood and sweat that has been poured into this park. After Area 51, I got my confidence back by completing the ScoCoPa Loop and riding on a stretch of Park View Loop that slices through pine trees.

Next, I biked on the Cannon Loop, the other secondary loop connected to the Park View Loop. This was my favorite trail in the park because it was the hilliest and it fit my (medium) skill level the best. Notably, all of the trails are ridden counter-clockwise except this one. The only spot that made me pause was a collection of fallen trees near the beginning.

It has numerous rolling S-curves, one of which can be seen below.

It ends with a distinct looking tree that has a broken branch that forms an arch over the trail.

After the Cannon Loop, the Park View Loop has one more short loop named Pine Bowl. It is an easy .5 mile obstacle-free jaunt.

The subsequent elevation chart was generated by riding the three miles of southern trails. All three elevation charts illustrate the park’s gently rolling hills and short climbs. Sugar Bottom near Iowa City has longer climbs and, thus, offers are more rigorous workout but I find the two trail systems to be equally fun.

The primary loop of the southern half is the Long Grove Trail, which rides faster than the northern half because of its elongated curves. In addition, the landscape is open and includes a view of Pride Lake.

The Tarmac Loop extends off of the Long Grove trail. It is a fun ride with two wood platforms that are less scary than those of Area 51. The first is more challenging than the second because it is a little uneven.

The second is low to the ground and a good one with which to build confidence.

After the two platforms it rides fast and easy.

After following the Long Grove trail into a wooded area, I hopped on the Jumbo trail for an additional .7 mile loop that was fast and easy.

After Jumbo, the Long Grove Trail ends where it began.

In sum, the Scott County Park mountain bike trails are a lot of fun because they are clearly marked, well maintained, and easy for a first-time visitor to enjoy. I hope to visit again with my family for a camping weekend because the campgrounds, playgrounds (example below), and water park look like a lot of fun too. Mountain biking enthusiasts should also visit Sunderbruch Park on the west side of Davenport.

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