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blue Solon to MacBride Beach

  4.0 ( 2 ) Favorite


7.8 mile 12.5 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 724' 221 m
Descent: -717' -219 m
High: 876' 267 m
Low: 706' 215 m


Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)


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Trail shared by chris kilgore


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This route runs from the town of Solon to the beach at Lake MacBride SP on about 99% trail.

chris kilgore

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


This route begins in Solon, takes the North Shore Trail to where where it connects to the North Snowmobile Trail, a challenging 1.5 miles of hilly trail, that terminates just NW of the dam separating Lake MacBride from the Coralville Reservoir. After a short stretch of road, visitors will take up the Beach to Dam Trail back to the Beach at Lake MacBride for a little over 7 miles in one direction.

Need to Know

I would highly recommend lower leg protection during the summer months on the North Snowmobile Trail. It's also worth noting that this route is not an out and back, and it will require either a shuttle, or quite a bit more hiking distance to reach your vehicle in Solon.


Begin where the North Shore Trail turns to crushed rock and enjoy the view, as the first 4.5 miles of this trail cover gentle, mostly-flat trail, much of it within a few feet of Lake MacBride. About 2.75 miles in, the crushed rock will end and you'll need to work your way along Opie Ave for a little less than a half mile until the crushed rock trail picks up again. In another mile and half, you'll arrive at the end of the North Shore Trail.

Cross to the dirt/grass parking lot across the road, and look for the mowed path on the right. After about .1 miles, the trail will turn left into the woods along the State Park boundary line, and continue on the North Snowmobile Trail. Watch for a tricky intersection about half a mile into this trail when the more maintained fork veers left (this is part of a short interpretive trail that overlaps with the snowmobile trail), while the actual trail cuts off to the right. The turnoff is inconspicuous and in the summer can be almost entirely obscured by undergrowth. I've gone a few steps past it even when I know it's there.

The North Snowmobile Trail is one of the more challenging trails in this area. It's about a mile and a half of up and down, in the summer time there's very little maintenance on the trail, so beware of nettles and poison ivy. The North Snowmobile Trail terminates in one of the park roads leading down to the dam where boats can put into the Coralville Reservoir. At this junction, turn right and head down the road along the water, and follow the road as it curves back up to a picnic area behind a park maintenance shed. Turn right and cross the picnic area, and at the far end pick up the Beach to Dam Trail. At this junction, turn left and follow the contours of Lake MacBride all the way back to the beach where the trail ends at the concession area.

Flora & Fauna

The North Shore Trail and the North Snowmobile Trail are both pretty abundant with wildlife. Lots of waterfowl on the lake, at various times I've see pelicans, cormorants, geese, loons, coots, several varieties of duck, blue and green heron. There are a lot of songbirds along the trail as well. It's also not uncommon to see turtles, deer, mink, or the occasional fox or coyote.

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Land Manager: Iowa DNR

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