This ride provides an opportunity to check out the Lehigh Portland Trails, a new trail system under construction on the grounds of the old Lehigh Portland Cement Company. There are currently about 4-5 miles of trails open (of a projected 8-10) and in various states of completion.
The route begins at Riverside Park in Iola, and follows Vine Street east through town, hooking up with Nevada Road over Rock Creek, and following paved back roads to the Lehigh Portland Trails east trailhead. There will be volunteers on hand to lead riders through the singletrack trails, winding through cedars, hardwoods, and prairie environments, along the majestic bluffs surrounding the Quarry Lake, through the Ozarks-like terrain along Elm Creek, and atop the harrowing peaks of Mt. Lehigh.
If you’d like to ride the trails, a mountain bike, hybrid bike, or cyclocross bike is recommended. The trails are mostly smooth and flowing, though there are some rocky sections, as well as a few elevation changes and tight twisty sections that provide challenges to your skills.
There may be a limited number of mountain bikes available to borrow to ride the trails, provided by local volunteers. These will likely be either fully rigid or hardtails.
If you do not provide your own bike, and if no loaner bikes are available, you’re welcome to hike or run the trails.
From the Lehigh Portland Trails, the route heads west to Old US-169 highway, then back north to Riverside Park.
If you use a GPS cyclocomputer or a smartphone app that can handle GPX files, you can download the GPS Track to your computer, then upload it to your device. Most devices will provide turn-by-turn directions to allow you to easily follow the route without worrying about missing turns or getting lost.