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Level: Intermediate
Length: 12 mi (19.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +439/ -364 ft
Total: 64 riders

Mountain Biking Council Bluffs Trail

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#15 of 168 mountain bike trails in Missouri
#1,324 in the world

Great trail that circles a large lake in the Mark Twain National Forest located in the Council Bluffs campground. Has multiple trail heads located at the campground, boat ramp and beach area. Trail offers a variety of challenges but none to overwhelming for a beginner wanting to get their feet wet in mountain biking. A well conditioned rider can easily complete this trail in 2 to 2.5 hours. Also connects into the Ozark Trail if you desire a longer ride. Great scenery as it winds around the lake. A must ride! http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/marktwain/recreation/sites/council_bluff_trail/

First added by cloudless_day on Nov 21, 2006. Last updated May 1, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From Potosi, MO, go south 13 miles on Hwy P. Turn right on Hwy C, go 1/4 mile; turn left on Hwy DD. It's about 7 miles to the entrance. Turn at the sign and follow the paved access road.
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Council Bluffs Trail Trail map

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seanD (on Jul 13, 2019)
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Fair (on Nov 18, 2017)
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  • Midmoab

    We rode this on Sunday the 18th after a pretty good rain storm. The trail was wet but in good shape. We checked with the ranger to be sure that riding would be ok. We rode in a counter clockwise direction from the boat launch parking lot. The first two to three miles was pretty rocky and rooted with obstacles seemingly pushing me towards the downhill lake side. Miles three through six were a bit more mild for obstacles but lacked flow. Many downhills were followed by steep inclines with rocks and roots. This is an ungroomed hiking trail that one can ride a mountain bike on...not really a designed bike course. Lots of fallen sticks and branches to avoid as well as high waster wash/debris at coves. With that said the last six miles are pretty mellow and fun. Variety of open prairie feel to alpine/moss covered rock gardens. Worth the ride.

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  • trcd25

    I recently moved back to MO and this was my first time here. Challenging, but awesome. Next time I would like to ride it in the opposite direction.

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  • ryancozart

    Great trail was awesome for the first 6 miles or so, if that's 12 miles I'm way more out of shape then I thought. No cell service so there is no way to track ride. The trail is not marked very well at all WARNING : do not attempt to ride this 1.5 hours before dark we got lost finally got cell service off the trail up a hill they had to send a search party but that was our fault. Other than being lost for 3.5 hours and almost dying I loved the trail however I doubt my loved ones will ever let me go back again. Big thanks to Bismark Fire Dept for finding us finally at 10:30 pm in the rain still somehow 10 miles west of our cars. A better marked trail would make this a perfect trail

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  • mongwolf

    Are you giving such a low rating because of this supposed incident? Or did you not like the trail for some reason?

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  • Tony Buttice Sr.

    Rode CB yesterday. Trail was in good shape after rain the day before. Shared the trail with a couple other more advanced riders and about 40 hikers. Great day to be on the trail.

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  • Tony Buttice Sr.

    1st time on this trail. Definitely intermediate ride. Started at 7am and done by 945. It was dry and fun. Cleared every spider web along the way.

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  • Matthew Grider

    First off no cell signal! Go with a friend or make sure someone knows your going. Take water! I made the mistake of not taking water. I'm from florida so it wasn't that bad. The trail for me isn't marked very well. I didn't have a way to track my ride but it's the longest 12 miles I've ever riddin. Great view the hole ride! The mix of loose to hard pack rock was new for me! Fun and fast!!!! I will ride it again!

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  • Patrick Schmitt

    Really fun trail!!! Rode Middle fork the day before I hit this trail and was bored, but this trail was interesting, really fun, hilly, and great views. A true mountain bike trail, not just a hilly road ride in gravel. This trail should be rated much higher than Middle fork, I was confused how people would rate a trail mostly by physical ability needed rather than skills. If you are in the Potosi area, be sure to ride this one before you do the others, and then when you hit the other trails and find after a few miles you are bored then you can go back to this one. If you are not bored on the middle fork, then you really do not like any technical stuff in a trail. Sorry if it sounds like I am bashing Middle fork but it is boring compared to Council Bluffs!

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  • TrailMonster

    This trail just received it's fall manicure. The corridor has been widened and the briars beaten back to the dirt. Fast, yet loose in a few of the lower lake cove off camber corners. Leaves are just starting to turn colors and fall. Best shape ever!!! (10/6/13) The only access point open during the Government Furlough is Enough Boat Launch located on the South end of the lake via Hwy 32.

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  • heckmanlloyd

    I started at the campground and went counter clockwise around the lake. The trail was well maintained. There are markers to guide you back onto the trail once you hit some roads. The trail has some very small sections that might make it an advanced trail. It has some of the best scenery I have found in a Missouri Singletrack.

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  • mtnspectre

    If you are new to this trail as I was, do not go by your Garmin to find trailhead. It takes you to the dam and there are trails from there, just not the one you're there to ride. I found it eventually and rode CCW to camp area and back to truck to take my wife to the boat ramp trailhead. I finished riding it CCW. It was a great trail with a lot of rocky sections. Although I wouldn't say it is an advanced trail, I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner (you might scare them from riding more).

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  • bbrown7602

    I rode this trail in 90+ temperature and what felt like 90+ humidity. Took me 2.5 hrs to complete. I was exhausted to say the least. However I think that was partially my fault since I had not eaten enough food for the long ride. No cell service here so let someone know where you are, or better yet take a buddy. There is a water fountain and a outdoor shower at the beach area. Also the lake has a nice campground if your interested. Here is a link to my youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkzm-nJvSSo&list=UUB-u8XNRsC6suYtL2rr98bA&index=1&feature=plcp

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  • CFM   ✓ supporter

    Rode this trail a couple of times with a friend on a camping/riding weekend in October. Very fun singletrack experience riding in either direction. Some of the swoops through drainages need a little maintenance. One section had a fallen tree needing removal. It was too big for us to budge. We took a side trip up to Johnson Mountain one of the days. The side trail is steep and rutted but the view of the lake from the bluff edge near the top was fabulous.

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  • mscott003

    Rode this trail by myself today (Memorial Day). Overall it was a nice ride. I am a beginner to intermediate and this was a little more difficult than I am use to but managed to complete in 2:24. A lot of Rocky roads to climb but a good mix of small climbs and decents. Not sure if it was worth the 2 hour drive from St. Louis but still glad I rode it.... Oh and there was alot of major trees down due to recent stoms that you have to navigate around...

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  • markgowan

    Nice trail here; There is a little of everything here, and for the most part: well kept. Baby heads abound, so be careful about pinch flats etc... all and all, nice experience. Not too difficult.

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  • deserteagle99uzi

    Rode this trail in early august with the temperature around 80 degrees. Having done the Berryman the day before this flowing singletrack around one of Missouri's bigger lakes was a sweet surprise. I would recommend a clockwise ride although either direction is fun, only a few challenging climbs near the beginnning if taken clockwise. The rest of this trail closely follows the shore of the lake making for some of the fastest paced, perfectly flowing singletrack in the midwest. May take up to 3 hours for beginners but a seasoned rider can expect to complete in 1.5 hours or less (yes all 12 miles). Many scenic views of the lake so expect hikers although limited to no equestrian use (thank god). I did not expect much from this no name trail located in southeast missouri but it has since become my favorite singletrack in the state. Excellently maintained and highly recommended. Be sure to cool off at the lakeshore which features a soft sand beach, roped off swimming area about the size of a 50 meter x 12 lane rec pool and full beach facilities.
    *note there is a small $2-$5 charge to enter the park for the day.
    Map: http://gorctrails.com/trails/mcouncilbluff.asp
    * Review edited 9/29/2008

    * Review edited 9/30/2010

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