Type: Rail Trail

Length: 51 miles

Surface: Mix

Over half the 51 mile Cedar Valley Nature Trail is blacktop and works well for road bikes, skaters, etc. There are 16 miles of crushed limestone surface between the McFarland Bridge south of La Porte City to Urbana. In 2022 Black Hawk and Linn County Conservation received grant money to complete the paving of this section in the near future.



Grade - Flat



The Cedar Valley Nature Trail (CVNT) runs from Hiawatha to Evansdale & follows the Cedar River Flood Plain. Over half the 52 mile CVNT is blacktop/concrete and works well for road bikes, skaters, etc. There is 16 miles between the McFarland Bridge south of La Porte City to Urbana that is crushed stone / gravel. In 2022 Black Hawk and Linn County Conservation received grant money to help complete the paving of this section. Plans are pending.

This 2013 high speed POV video playlist takes us from Hiawatha to Evansdale in seven stages covering the whole 52 miles. It even includes a visit to fabled lost city of Brandon :-)

Part of the Linn County Trails System.

Click through to YouTube for Playlist navigation.

Best viewed in 1080p HD or Original resolution if you have a fast connection & video acceleration.

The entire trail is road bike friendly (2013) although the section around Brandon is a bit rough as you can see in the Urbana to Brandon video. There are access points with parking, water, and bathroom facilities 10 miles or less apart. Campgrounds are located at McFarlane Park and Deerwood Park.  At the south trailhead the CVNT provides access to the Cedar River Trail system in Cedar Rapids and to the north access to Waterloo/Cedar Falls via the extensive Cedar Valley Trails system.

The Wolf Creek Bridge at La Porte City has been completed reconnecting Cedar Rapids to Evansdale. 

Location - Where is this Trail?

Between Cedar Rapids & Waterloo Iowa


  • Hiawatha
  • Center Point
  • Urbana
  • Brandon
  • McFarlane Park
  • LaPorte City
  • Gilbertville
  • Evansdale

Sites & Attractions

  • Small towns
  • River Views
  • Birds & Wildlife
  • Buzzard's Glory Quarry

History of the Trail

The trail follows the route of the Waterloo Cedar Falls & Northern Railway’s (WCF&N) Cedar Valley road.  This electric railroad ran from the early 20th century through the 1960’s. You can see well preserved depots at Center Point & Gilbertville. The Gilbertville Depot is a beautiful spot along the trail to take a break. The restroom is open from sunrise to sunset during the summer months. More history here: Waterloo Cedar Falls & Northern Railway

The Cedar Valley Nature Trail follows the fertile Cedar River between Evansdale and Ely. The 52-mile trail comprises three former trails—the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, Cedar River Trail and parts of the Hoover Nature Trail—which merged in Spring 2017.


The following members have contributed to the above Trail content.

This trail was last edited by CedarFallsVisitor on Oct 3, 2022.

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Members of the BIKEIOWA Community can update Trail information. We figure that YOU may know more about the Trail than WE do.


Latest Cedar Valley Nature Trail News

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We rode from the southern terminus of the trail in Hiawatha (after connecting to it from Downtown Cedar Rapids) to Center Point. The trail is paved for that distance and was in good condition. Both Mr. BIKEIOWA and I commented that the blacktop sections had less protruding roots than we experience on many Central Iowa Trails. Lots of birds were spotted along the trail.

#11 - bikeiowajess posted Jul 5, 2017

Why is the bridge closed? How long do they expect that it will be closed? Is there a website with more details?

#10 - dbpaul8 posted Oct 5, 2015

Sad, but true, the CVNT has a new bridge closure! This time on the north edge of LaPorte City where the trail crosses Wolfe Creek. Officials are working on a proper bypass around the closure but according to Google Map it appears the closure can be bypassed using a public access road that connects the trail to the 12800 block of LaPorte Road but this is not official data, nor recommendation. Be sure to obey any and all traffic control devices concerning this closure.

#9 - bacchettaman posted Oct 4, 2015

We rode the CVNT on 10/18/14 from Urbana to La Porte City and my takeaway is that this is one of the coolest trails in Iowa. Ok, so maybe don't plan on bringing your Trek Madone, but you surely don't need a mountain bike or fat tires to conquer this gem. The other reviews on this trail are accurate; the trail many times is reduced to nothing more than two dirt single tracks side by side, and at best is just crushed limestone littered with all sorts of plant debris. But that is what makes this trail so damn fun! I took my Surly LHT and my friend rode his Trek XO1 cyclocross bike (each loaded with 60+ pounds of camping gear) and we sailed on this trail. Yes there are portages and yes the walnuts and locust thorns made for some hairy slalom runs, but beauty and solitude of this caliber does not come cheap...especially in Iowa. I hope they NEVER pave the rest of the CVNT as it is perfect the way it is. You want pavement? Stick to the High Trestle, where everyone else will be.

#8 - Houdeeny posted Oct 22, 2014

We rode from the Boyson Road trailhead to McFarlane Park, outside of La Porte City on August 19, 2013. The trail was paved and busy from the trailhead unti about 3 miles before Center Point. The last 3 miles into Center Point were packed limestone and in good condition. From Center Point until Urbana, the trail was in relatively good shape and an easy ride. Some slight inclines during this section but nothing major. It was a great ride until the section between Urbana and Brandon. The trail began to look like a field driveway with grass growing up the center. It made it difficult to pull the Burley trailer. At one point, the limestone was about 3 inches of loose gravel on the trail that was impossible to even ride your bike through it. We had to walk this section of the trail. Not a soul in sight during this portion of the trail. It is not maintained. They say because it isn't used much but maybe it would be used if it was maintained. The trail was better between Brandon and La Porte City. We stopped at Phat Alberts in Brandon. Very friendly and obtained good info on the trail. We have officially riden the entire CVNT. Waterloo to LaPorte City is great and the section from Cedar Rapids to Center Point is great. The CVNT needs to work on maintenance between. More riders would ride the 51 mile trail if it were maintained.

#7 - slnorthrop posted Aug 14, 2013

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