Stretching eleven miles from Carlisle to Indianola, the Summerset Trail follows the route of an abandoned rail line. It passes through rolling hills and wetland river bottom as it winds from town to town.
Things to Do
We manage over 2,700 acres that are open for visitors to enjoy a variety
of year-round outdoor recreational activities.
Stretching eleven miles from Carlisle to Indianola, the Summerset Trail follows the route of an abandoned rail line. It passes through rolling hills and wetland river bottom as it winds from town to town. In the middle sits the village of Summerset on the south bank of the Middle River. North of Banner Lakes is a scenic area equipped with an observation platform. The platform is a great spot for birding as well as a nice break on an afternoon stroll. The Summerset Trail can be enjoyed in the winter as well by exploring the trail on cross-country skis, snowshoes or your own two feet.
Riding from north to south, riders start at the Carlisle parking area and travel southwest through the outskirts of town. The terrain is flat, and features both fields and wetland conservation areas. The entire northern section of the trail has no gain or loss in elevation. When the trail turns south at Banner Lakes, it crosses the Middle River bridge, and riders will notice the start of a gradual uphill climb for the rest of the length of the trail. South of the Middle River, the terrain becomes gentle rolling hills and prairie remnants. The Summerset trail ends at the Indianola trailhead, however riders can continue on the short McVay trail. The McVay trail heads downhill south of the trailhead through a deeply wooded area. Many people who ride the trail prefer to start at the northern end, to avoid the “hill” into Indianola at the end of a 22-mile (35 km) ride.
Restroom facilities with running water are available at the Indianola trail head. Pit toilets are available at the Carlisle trail head and at Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park at the trail’s half-way point. Parking is available at all three points.
What to Do and What Not to Do
Parks shall be closed from sunset to sunrise.
It shall be unlawful for any person to destroy, remove, damage or deface any buildings, park equipment, plant life, trees, signs, structures or natural material found within the boundaries of of the Summerset Trail.
All vehicles shall be confined to designated roadways and parking areas. No vehicle shall be left unattended on any county conservation area in such a manner as to obstruct traffic except in case of emergency.
All privately owned domesticated animals shall be either carried, led by a leash or chain; kept confined in or attached to a vehicle by their owner(s) or kept under strict control of the owner. Horse riding is not allowed.
Recreational Vehicles are not allowed in conservation areas. Speed limit for all motorized vehicles is 15 mph.
Fireworks and explosives are prohibited in this conservation area.
Disturbing The Peace
No person shall be guilty of an act that constitutes a breach of peace, or interferes with their visitors use or enjoyment of the county conservation areas.
All refuse must be placed in disposal cans provided or removed from the area when vacated by the user.
No camping allowed.
No fires allowed
No swimming allowed.
It shall be unlawful to hunt, trap, or in any manner intentionally take, capture, kill or wound any type of wildlife, game or non-game, native or migratory within the boundaries of this conservation area.
State of Iowa
All laws of the State of Iowa not specifically mentioned here shall apply.