October 8, 2013
Trailhead is almost hidden. Literally about 10 feet inside the gate to the monument on the left side. You have to drive in to park, then ride down the hill to the trailhead. No signs were posted to the trailhead at the parking lot either.
Not being from the area I brought my bike and decided to hit a bunch of trails in the area. This being rated the most difficult I made it my first day. The rating is right on, for a irregular, recreational rider this is a tough trail. Technical in the manuevering and steep both incline and decline. Cardio will be tested here. The climbs are not wildly steep but there are so many of them it will get anyone panting.
This ride had considerable "pucker" factor. Within the first 20 minutes you get moving downhill at a good speed and there are "steep consequences" should you go off the trail down the bank. The dropoffs/ steep banks along the downhill side the trail at some parts also make this an advance trail rating. This time of year the trail is covered in fallen leaves that make the downhills difficult to control, be aware the leaves will get between your tires and the dirt and you will slide if braking hard.
RECOMMEND RIDING WITH A GUIDE YOUR FIRST TIME. Ride with someone who knows the trail. The trail markings are great at first, then they get confusing and what was a tree branch barricade you then go over and it is easy to lose your bearings and your patience.
Banner State Park, Indianola IA; Decorah MTB system, Decorah, IA