Distance: 66.4 miles
Cumulative climb: 3085 ft
Route Surface: Road
The Dubuque-1 Bike Route is one of the most scenic bike rides in the midwest. This is a challenging 66 miles with a couple of spectacular climbs. But the breathtaking scenery and low-traffic, paved roads will make up for the uphill challenge.
There are several places to begin and end this rides, but the best spot for parking is the 52 Heritage Pond on Hwy 52 on the north end of Dubuque. It is just beyond the trail overpass on Hwy 52 and is the start of the Dubuque Heritage Trail. There is plenty of parking and bathrooms. If you do plan to use the Dubuque Heritage Trail, note there is a trail fee, but you can purchase a trail pass at the kiosk on the trail.
The route starts on Hwy 52 for a mile or two. This will be the busiest road of the day. Turn right in Sageville and the climb to Sherrill and Balltown begin. The first climb may seem daunting, but it won’t be that way all day.
After Balltown, the climbs level out into typical rolling hills. The route travels to Holy Cross. It is a small community with a market, bar, and church. You can stop by Noonan’s North for refreshments.
The roads take you to towards Dyersville, but before you arrive, you can off route and visit the Field of Dreams movie site. The town has a thriving downtown with several restaurants. You can also visit the Catholic Basilica, twin steepled landmark that you can see for miles. The downtown library has a waterfountain in the entrance.
If you wish, you can take the Heritage Trail 26 miles back to Dubuque. But one caveat – it is not paved. You may expend more energy than you would taking the road. Also, the trail does not stop in the communities, so be prepared for water.
If you take the road back, You will hit Farley, Epworth, and Centralia. Each community has services available. Turn north on Sundown Road at the Junction 21 Restaurant.
When you reach Dubuque, you will follow Asbury road to Hwy 32. At this point, take the trail. It is a spectacular downhill ride from the top of the bluff to the river. Follow the trail across Hwy 52 where it will lead to an overpass and return you to the Heritage Pond.
There is also a community bicycle program called the Dubuque Bike Coop.
You can find more route and information at www.IowaBikeways.com. There is a comment section in case of detours or closures.
This is a road route with variable traffic. With significant climbs, it may be easier to use a road bike. Be safe and bike at your own risk.