The Mines of Spain State Recreation Area
Swiss Valley Nature Preserve
Swiss Valley is located southwest of Dubuque on Swiss Valley Road. Be sure to park at the Nature Center and not at Swiss Valley Park.
FDR, located just off North Cascade Road and accessible via an unmarked dirt road just west of Storybook Hill Children's Zoo, is a little-known gem. Only 200 acres in size, the park is packed full of singletrack trails built and maintained by local mountain bikers. The trails twist and turn up and down and all around and first time visitors will feel lost so it's best to go with someone familiar with the trails. There is plenty of climbing and very little flat running. A gated access road runs through the area and offers a way out and back to the small parking area. The park is littered with old mine shafts and the trails pass within feet of these in places so please be careful!
The closest other substantial trail system is at the Hirsch farm, south of Platteville and 15-20 minutes from Dubuque. The trails there are fantastic and like FDR they were designed and built for mountain biking. They are mostly singletrack, hilly and offer a mix of forest and prairie. They are on private property so access is limited, but there are plans for another Blockhouse Trail Run in 2014. Participants in the inaugural 2013 event were not left wanting for climbing and were treated to a run through an old barn during the race. Stay tuned for more details...
More Driftless-area trail running opportunities include Governor Dodge, Blue Mound and Wyalusing State Parks in Wisconsin and Yellow River State Forest and the Decorah city trails.