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blueBlack Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park

  4.8 ( 4 ) Favorite


5.3 mile 8.5 kilometer loop
98% Runnable


Ascent: 312' 95 m
Descent: -312' -95 m
High: 863' 263 m
Low: 796' 243 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 11% (7°)


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Trail shared by Amber Crews


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This run offers fantastic dirt with moderately technical footing and continuous short, steep hills.

Amber Crews

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

Due to nearby lakes and rivers, this trail system tends to flood in late spring each year. If the trail system says closed, do not enter and return after the trail has had adequate time to dry. The CITA (Central Iowa Trail Association) website will have updates about all area closures.


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.

Need to Know

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.

Runner Notes

Watch your footing throughout this area due to the flooding, and be prepared for hills that will test your legs.


If you run 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.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers, eagles, owls, deer, chipmunks, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, and an occasional coyote or wild cat can be seen along this run. Beware of poison ivy.

History & Background

This area used to be the Banner Pits (Banner Mines).

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Land Manager: Iowa DNR

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Aug 4, 2018
Elizabeth Wade
11.1mi — 2h 15m

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  4.8 from 4 votes


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