Last Updated on August 6, 2022
With over 40 parks in Waterloo Iowa, there are plenty of places to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Many of these parks are also connected by over 100 miles of paved trails that make up the Cedar Valley Trails system. I share 5 awesome Waterloo parks that you should check out this summer!
Parks in Waterloo Iowa
Riverview Recreation Area
🚶🏻♀️🚲1.6 miles (3.2 miles return): Trail 6 – ‘The Riverwalk Loop’ from Downtown Waterloo
🚙E Mitchell Ave, Waterloo, IA, 50702
🚾Facilities: Parking, toilets, shelter, picnic benches, boat ramp
A nice nature trail is The Riverwalk Loop from Downtown Waterloo. It follows the Cedar River before reaching the Riverview Recreation Area. The trail is paved and suitable for both walking and cycling and is around 3.2 miles return.
The Riverview Recreation area is home to Harold Getty Lake which can be fished and has a boat ramp. An unpaved gravel trail, just under 2 miles long, runs around the perimeter of the lake. This is in addition to The Riverwalk Loop, as Trail 6 double backs on itself once it reaches the lake.
If you didn’t want to walk or cycle for the Downtown area, there is a parking area on E Mitchell Ave. Here you’ll find restrooms, a shelter and picnic benches. There is also a boat ramp nearby.
Riverview OHV Park
🚙2561 Kenyon Ave, Waterloo, IA 50702
🌳180 acres | 5 miles of ATV trails
🚾Facilities: Parking, toilets, shelter, picnic benches
A Waterloo park that’s a little more unique is the Riverview OHV park. This makes up part of the Riverview Recreation Area. It covers 180 acres but only has 5 miles of ATV trails. It’s mainly terrain parks for dirt bikes but it has a 4 mile perimeter track that is a nice ride. There’s a very large parking area with 2 ‘long drop’ toilets (1 male, 1 female) which are kept fairly clean.
Most of the perimeter trail is sand, I actually prefer riding on sand compared to mud! There’s also an area in the woods with some mini ‘jumps’, that are great for ATVs. Other than the perimeter trail, there’s not really many places to explore for visitors on ATVs. You’ll also come across signs for trails and cut throughs that are only for dirt bike riders.
For this reason, Riverview is very popular with motorcross and dirt bikes. There were only a couple of other ATVs during our visit. There’s also a barrier that you have to pass through to get to the perimetre trail, so make sure your vehicle is definitely under 65 inches wide!
The nearest gas station is the BP which is 1 mile from the park entrance.
Hope Martin Memorial Park
🚶🏻♀️🚲Approx: 1.5 miles (3 miles return) Trail 5 – ‘Cedar Prairie Loop’ from Downtown Waterloo
🚙Parking area on Fletcher Ave or at the end of the track close to the junction of Ansborough Ave and Black Hawk Rd.
🚾Facilties: Parking, toilets, playground, shelter, picnic benches
Another park connected to Downtown Waterloo via the Cedar Valley Trails network is Hope Martin Park. It’s approximately 1.5 miles one way to reach the park. This park has a nature area along Black Hawk Creek and Singing Bird Lakes. There are toilets, play equipment and a shelter with picnic benches.
There are a couple of different parking areas. One is along Fletcher Ave or another at the end of a track that can be reached from the junction of Ansborough Ave and Black Hawk Rd.
🚶🏻♀️🚲Approx: 2 miles (4 miles return) Trail 5 – ‘Cedar Prairie Loop’ from Downtown Waterloo
🚙1110 Campbell Ave, Waterloo, IA 50701
🚾Facilities: Parking, toilets, playground, shelter, picnic benches, sports courts, swimming pool, golf course
A little further along Highway 63 and Trail 5, is Byrnes Park. This park has a large parking area with toilets, play equipment, shelters, picnic benches, sports courts and the Byrnes Park outdoor swimming pool. They pool is open between June to Mid August and has water slides, a shallow area and lap swim lanes. Daily entrance for people 2 years and over is $5. The Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course is also located at this park in Waterloo.
George Wyth State Park
🚶🏻♀️🚲17 mile loop Trail 2 – ‘Cedar River Loop’ from Downtown Waterloo
🚙3659 Wyth Rd, Waterloo, IA 50703 (Several different parking areas around the park)
🚾Facilities: Parking, toilets, playground, shelters, picnic benches, fishing/boat ramp, hiking/cycling trails, swimming beach, camping
George Wyth State Park is exactly a 10 minute drive from both Cedar Falls and Downtown Waterloo. This large park has 4 lakes: Alice Wyth Lake, Fisher Lake, George Wyth Lake and Brinker Lake, which are great for fishing. As well as being park of the Cedar Valley Trails network, it has 3.5 miles of paved trails and another 10 miles of ‘soft’ trails.
The campground has 69 pitches with both full hook up and non electric options. Here you’ll find a toilet block with showers, a dump station and more.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Maxx Rentals is open at the swimming beach on George Wyth Lake. It has all different kinds of rentals: from kayaks, to paddle boards, peddle boats or float mats and tubes, which can all be enjoyed from a small beach area with toilets and a concessions stand. They also offer SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Yoga classes and LED kayak light tours on selected evenings.
Cedar Valley Trails Cycle Network
Although it’s not exactly a park, the 100 mile Cedar Valley Trail network is a great way to experience the Waterloo and Cedar Falls area. The trails are in great condition and are well signposted. Bike hire is available in Downtown Waterloo. Check out the video below to see a section of Trail 6 (The Riverwalk Loop) and Trail 5 (Cedar Prairie Loop) which connect several of the parks mentioned in this post!
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Which of these parks in Waterloo Iowa is your favourite?