Trail: Trout Run Trail
Terrain: Hilly to Flat
Numerous organizations, business, and individuals from the Decorah area contributed towards the develop this “must-ride” Iowa trail. The 11 mile loop has a variety of terrain to keep the ride interesting. Multiple locations for starting your ride are found around the perimeter of this asphalt trail. The tree canopy in Phelps Park provides a cool break from the more open portions of the route.
Our ride began at the fish hatchery. Heading east along Trout Run Creek the scenery was breathtaking. Seeing the trout stream, prairie grasses waving in the breeze, and bluebirds perched on cattails, we knew we were in for a fantastic bike ride.
Outside Trout Run Park the scenery evolves into an urban setting. It winds alongside the Upper Iowa River and travels through city parks. If inclined, riders can leave the trail and use bike lanes to venture to downtown Decorah for shopping or grabbing something to eat.
Phelps Park was another pretty section of trail with it’s tree lined tunnels, art installations, and glimpses of limestone cliffs.
The most challenging and beautiful portion of the ride was the southwest segment. With it’s hills and switchbacks the trail disproves the theory of Iowa being flat. The scenic view from high above Decorah is something from a postcard.
Don’t feel bad if you need to walk your bike up some of the hills. Consider it a reason to take your time to enjoy the beautiful views.
Take along water bottles and maybe a snack to enjoy at one of the trailside benches.
- The beauty of this trail will make you wish it was longer. Extend your ride with stops at city parks along or downtown Decorah.
Where to Stay
Located just off the bike trail, The Country Inn is a great place to stay while visiting Decorah. This well run hotel is very clean, quiet, and has an impressive continental breakfast. Just what you need before heading off to the bike trail or trout stream.
Where to Go
Not only is there great fishing and biking opportunities in Decorah, there’s lots to see and great food to eat.
Old Armory BBQ
Blues tunes, the smell of smoked meats, and the taste of tangy BBQ sauce put us in heaven. The smoked meatloaf was amazing! The cornbread muffins were moist and had a perfect sweet and spicy combo thanks to the added jalapenos. The small shrine to Elmore James sitting on the piano added to the great ambiance. Blues piano is played here on Wednesday nights. That in itself is something special!
Seed Savers Exchange
This heritage farm is dedicated to growing heirloom seeds. Both Martha Stewart and President Obama have visited this famous spot. Not only can you purchase seeds and plantings, there are gardens to visit, and trails to hike. A lovely gift and garden shop is located Inside the visitor center. We browsed through the heirloom seeds and settled on Red Milkweed to plant in our butterfly garden at home. Along with the seed selection there were books, tools, and other gardening themed gifts.
Toppling Goliath Brewery Company
If you like craft beer, then planning a trip to Decorah is likely on your bucket list. This casual tap room filled with light from overhead skylights was a welcoming place to unwind after a day of biking and fishing. People drive for hours just to drink this beer and after one taste we could see why. Beers with creative names like The Millennium Falcon and pseudoSue just begged to be sampled. Spring Grove Soda Pop from just over the border in Minnesota is also available.
DNR Fish Hatchery at Siewer Springs
Each year over 150,000 trout are grown here to be released in Iowa’s catch-and-release trout streams and urban lakes. With the beautiful waterfall, picnic areas, and fish to feed, it’s a great spot to take the family. With their own webcam, the nests of world famous Decorah eagles are just across the street. While they are viewable from the street, take along binoculars on your visit. Visit
This quaint coffee shop has been voted #1 in Iowa by UrbanSpoon. You see why the minute you step inside. One of the best cups of tea I’ve ever had was here at Magpie. Lunch was simple, flavorful, and made with care. Menu items are named after popular Decorah landmarks I ordered the Phelps Park and was impressed with the thick cuts of turkey and how fresh the guac and sprouts were. I could have spent HOURS here relaxing and reading. On our next trip, a Magpie breakfast will be a must!