Macbride Lake Hike | The Gazette


The Field Campus Trail offers a view of the Coralville Reservoir (left) as it traverses the woods of the Macbride Natural Recreation Area to the dam and waterfall. Photographed in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021 (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

With a variety of trails rated from easy to moderate, including one that connects the trail surfaces to the streets of the town of Solon, Lake Macbride contains trails for hikers of all skill levels.

Planning and preparation

Before setting out on a trail, planning ahead is one of the most important steps you can take, especially when preparing to hike a more distant trail.

“Having your general safety gear,” is what Lake Macbride Park Superintendent Ron Puettmann recommends. “You have a lot of water, you have good, durable shoes. Some of our trails are dirt trails and go through the woods so there are going to be tree roots sticking up, there are going to be some uneven surfaces.

Carrying extra water bottles or even an extra pair of socks can provide comfort and help prevent heat exhaustion.

“If you are planning long hikes, make sure your shoes are comfortable,” Puettmann said. “You have good, sturdy hiking boots. And if it’s a long, long hike, don’t be afraid to add an extra pair of socks. Halfway through, just change your socks as it can make a huge difference in distance traveled and your comfort. . “

Puettmann, who has lived at Macbride Lake for 25 years, spent most of his childhood outdoors on his family farm. Puettmann knew he wanted to work in natural resources, and after spending a summer at college employed by Ledges State Park in Madrid, Iowa, it “clicked” for him.

Hiking the trails

With classifications like easy and moderate, it’s straightforward to decipher which trail to walk based on personal experience and how much time you’re willing to devote. Classifications are based on the length and type of trail surface.

One of the most popular trails in the park is the Beach to Dam Trail, Puettmann said. “This one goes from the beach to the dam along the shore. It is on limestone surfaces.

The mile-long Beach to Dam Trail is considered an easy trail and offers panoramic views of Lake Macbride.

“If you like hikes that are a little heavier or more difficult, we have a few that I would recommend and enjoy because you go off the beaten track and go back far into the woods, where not many people go,” Puettmann said. .

For more advanced hikers looking to get off the beaten path, Puettmann recommends the Field Campus and North Shore trails. The North Shore Trail is 4.7 miles long and can be traveled on foot, bike or mountain bike. The Field Campus Trail stretches for 2.3 miles.

“The Field Campus Trail, especially at the western end, ends above the weir and the dam area and there is a nice panoramic view there and some limestone steps that have been installed,” said said Puettmann.

Not only do you have a guaranteed view of Lake Macbride through a clearing of trees or various rock formations that have evolved over time, but a number of wildlife and pets can also be present.

Deer, raccoons, mink, squirrels, and rabbits are the most common wildlife that could potentially cross your path.

“We had bobcat trail camera footage, which is pretty cool but it’s pretty secretive so you’re probably not going to see one, I guess,” Puettmann said.

Hikers often also bring their four-legged companions. Puettmann reminds visitors to keep their dogs on a leash at all times and not to leave any traces behind.

It is also important to watch out for plants when walking on trails that are not paved or limestone, as poison ivy is prevalent at Macbride Lake.

“Poison ivy, which is normally quite low to the ground, will climb trees, but in some areas it will form its own type of shrub or tree to reach sunlight,” Puettmann said. “It’s got a lot of people and it might not even look like poison ivy because of its shape; it may look like a sapling. Being able to identify it right away is probably the most important thing.

Although summer is the most pedestrianized Lake Macbride time, Puettmann encourages residents of Eastern Iowa to visit year-round to see nature through the seasons.

“There are a lot of benefits and beauty in all seasons,” Puettmann said. “In my opinion, fall is the best. It’s just because of the cooler weather the leaves are falling and changing color. But spring is also beautiful with wild flowers and the Field Campus Trail, those reaching the most remote areas. We have some of our most pristine forests there and wildflowers grow. “

The Field Campus Trail at Macbride Lake traverses the woods of the Macbride Nature Recreation Area to the dam and waterfall. Photographed in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021 (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Stone steps lead down the Field Campus Trail from Macbride Nature Recreation Area to the dam and waterfall. Photographed in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021 (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

The Field Campus Trail offers views of the Coralville Reservoir as it traverses the woods of the Macbride Natural Recreation Area to the dam and waterfall. Photographed in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021 (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

The Field Campus Trail offers views of the Coralville Reservoir as it traverses the woods of the Macbride Natural Recreation Area to the dam and waterfall. Photographed in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021 (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

People climb the rocks under the waterfall, a spillway between Coralville Reservoir (seen left) and Macbride Lake. Photographed in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021 (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Trails cross the grass atop the sand dune overlooking the Coralville Reservoir in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

People gather on the shore of Lake Macbride along the Beach to Dam Trail at Lake Macbride State Park in Solon on Saturday, August 7, 2021. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

People climb the rocks under the waterfall, a spillway between Coralville Reservoir (seen left) and Macbride Lake. Photographed in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021 (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

A bee lands on a Foxglove Mullein along the Field Campus Trail in the Macbride Nature Recreation Area in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Ferns grow in the shady forest along the Field Campus Trail in the Macbride Nature Recreation Area in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

The Field Campus Trail runs along the edge of Macbride Lake through the woods of the Macbride Nature Recreation Area. Photographed in Solon on Saturday August 7, 2021 (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

A fallen tree begins to lose its bark along the Field Campus Trail in the Macbride Nature Recreation Area in Solon on Saturday, August 7, 2021. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

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