This trail system has about 5.5 miles of singletrack trail that is VERY hilly and more technical than anywhere else in the DSM area. It has a 0.25 mi section of road between Comer Pocket Trail
and Riverside Trail
and then again between Riverside Trail
and Extra Credit Trail
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Family Friendly: It is hard to get lost on this trail despite lots of twists and turns, and there are lots of spots to exit the trail to the park road. Strollers will not work on this trail.
There's a bathroom near the first parking lot, but it is typically disgusting. The bathrooms between Riverside Trail
and Extra Credit Trail
are much nicer, but only open from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
If you hike clockwise, start at the first parking lot and look for the sign just north of the restroom (just on the other side of the road that you turned in from). This trail is called Coal Miner's Daughter Trail
. When this section ends, you'll pass right by a small parking lot where it meets a bathroom, the paved Summerset Trail
, and a local shooting range.
Now you take a connector trail that reverses direction from here to Missing Link Trail
. At the end of this section (which runs parallel to the park road), turn right and go up the hill to connect to New Ed Beach Trail
(between the ridge and the street that goes around Summerset Park, not the street right by the bathroom). This trail section is flat, wide, and without shade. At the end of the connector trail and at the New Ed Beach Trail
sign, go straight to the road, turn left and go less than a tenth of a mile. On your left, you'll see a sign to start the Comer Pocket Trail
When you exit Comer Pocket Trail
, take a left on the road and go approximately a quarter mile. You'll see the Riverside Trail
on your left. When exiting Riverside, turn left on the pavement. At the intersection, go left again. One-tenth of a mile past this turn is the entrance on your right for Extra Credit Trail
This is a 0.75 mile section that involves continuous, short, steep hills with twists and turns similar to switchbacks. If you want less mileage after either of the first two sections of trail, turn right (when reaching the road) and you can easily return to your car via the road.
Wildflowers, eagles, owls, deer, chipmunks, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, and an occasional coyote or wild cat can be seen along this hike. Beware of poison ivy.
This area used to be the Banner Pits (Banner Mines).