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Level: Beginner
Length: 7 mi (11.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Other
Elevation: +65/ -74 ft
Total: 61 riders

Mountain Biking Sycamore Trail

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#13 of 94 mountain bike trails in Iowa
#1,993 in the world

The Polk County Conservation Board and the Central Iowa Trail Association (CITA) worked together to open this trail. The trail will be closed to motorized vehicles and is officially now open). The trail follows the west bank of the Des Moines River. It starts on the the east edge of the Euclid Avenue Target parking lot in NW Des Moines and runs 6 or 7 miles North to the Sycamore boat access on NW 66th Street. The East lot also serves as a parking area and trail access point for the paved Saylorville Bike Trail on the East bank of the Des Moines River. This is a twisty turning trail and is very flat. It is excellent for the beginning to intermediate cyclist. Keep an eye and ear out for oncoming cyclist and/or ATV's. It connects with The Brickyard at one point, so you can combine the two rides.

First added by searsandrewj on Jan 1, 2003. Last updated Apr 26, 2022. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: no
  • Lift service: no
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: no
  • Fat bike grooming: yes
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: no
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
There are several ways to access this area, but the most common is to follow Martin Luther King Parkway North until it stops (This is just a few blocks North of the Euclid intersection in NW Des Moines). The trail starts on the the east edge of the Euclid Avenue Target parking lot in NW Des Moines .
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Sycamore Trail Trail map

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Trail checkins

dgw2jr (on Oct 8, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Oct 8, 2019)
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Sycamore Trail videos

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Sycamore North Mountain Bike Trail |…
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Rider questions

Q: I have trouble finding the trail again (going south) after going over Beaver on the trestle trail. Where does the single track start again?

Q: I just discovered this trail last week and it looks like someone is starting to place concrete barriers around the south entrances. Is this trail being shut down?

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  • dgw2jr

    High speed, flat-ish singletrack in the Des Moines river flood plain. Great for year-round riding.

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  • Joey Gordon

    Trail was a lot of fun. Very confusing once you're out on the trail. A lot of side trails to take. Trail maintenance is hit or miss. I hit a lot of downed branches where I had to turn back. Really fun though, and great for a beginner ride.

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  • 515Bryan

    Fun ride! Always a new way to challenge yourself with different routes. I bet its amazing in there during late summer/early fall.

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  • Andrew Evans

    Very fun to ride, I've rode it multiple times and never fails to challenge you with new routes, with the construction of the road to the parking lot it is a challenge for parking.

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  • CHetrick

    A good trail with something for everyone. Easy,fun,fast with good flow.

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  • The_mitch_109

    Trailhead: coming from the west take Beaver rd past the Johnston soccer fields, there is an unmarked gravel road on the right shortly after that goes down a short hill to a parking lot, paved road to parking lot is about 100 ft. Trailhead is well marked from the parking lot on the eastern side.If you go over the bridge you have gone too far.

    Flat-ish and fast this trail is a good time and a good workout without being too technical to slow things down. With solid riding and good cornering you can average 11mph through the whole trail pretty easy. The trail is pretty well maintained but it's not advisible to ride it the day after rain because of being so close to the river the ground stays wet longer and nobody wants the trail rutted out. Trail splits off into a small section with rollers that do not require you to get airborne. This is a small loop that brings you back to the regular trail(and is really fun). There are some trees to ride over or rocks, one manmade jump but everything is optional. This trail is rideable straight through without stopping. More than once if you have adequate cardio.

    BE WARNED: this trail is used often by trail runners, hikers, and bikers in both directions. Have fun by be watchful for incoming people, especially bikes, where you both can be on top of eachother in the blink of an eye.

    This trail is my regular trail because it is so fun to ride. Definitely recommended to everyone.

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  • Bubblehead10MM   ✓ supporter

    Good long trail ride, plenty of fun stuff, yet litteraly saw a 5 yr old out riding. CITA is on the ball. going in AM there were 2 huge trees down and at least 5 smaller ones, by mid after noon all cleaned up except the biggies and there were neatened up and bypassed. I loved the roller coaster option. just N of freeway.

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  • kladd

    Hit this over the 4th and the north section was good, but the south section is still under puddled water about a quarter of a mile into the ride if your heading north and entering where the old target used to be. Still a great trail with lots of little side trails. If you are heading north on the northern section of the trail stick to the left to hit some good rolling hills and fun section...

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  • macbot3000

    When heading southbound, after crossing under the interstate, you need to ride a couple of miles on the paved trail until you reach the pond. The pond is on your right and the dirt picks up again on your left. Watch out for small stumps in the trail once you get close to Euclid :-)

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  • cjanderson3

    Hey, i was wondering if anyone could tell me where the trail picks back up after the 80/35 underpass. I ride from johnston and get to the bridge and can’t find the trail again. Thanks!

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  • Jared13   ✓ supporter

    I started at the north end of the trail. The parking lot is just west of the Des Moines River on NW 66th Street.
    The trail is slowly becoming wide singletrack compared to the ATV/doubletrack it started out as. It's very twisty/turny and pretty flat-ish. A great trail for beginner/intermediate and a very fast trail if you have decent cornering ability. There are a few log crossings (all can be bypassed) and some mounds/dips you can get some decent pump on but those are just in certain sections of the trail.

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  • dnadowns24

    The building you are looking for is now a DOT building.

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  • csafris

    spring 2008 flood debris cleared away, a few areas of fresh, deep sand.

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  • steelealexander

    the target is no longer there so just look for an old abandond building that looks like it could have been a tagret just north of douglas and you'll have no problem finding it. It's a easy flat ride along the river nothing too exciting but a peaceful ride

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