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Mount Trashmore trails open on Thursday


Mount Trashmore ribbon-cutting ceremony

2250 A Street, SW, Cedar Rapids — Thursday, Sept. 13 at noon

The overlook pavilion on top of Mount Trashmore. — photo courtesy of the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency

The river level is dropping, closed streets have reopened and, on Thursday, Cedar Rapids’ Mount Trashmore will finally have its grand opening at noon. The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the greenspace built out of half-a-century of Linn County trash was original scheduled for last week but had to be delayed due concerns over possible flooding.

It’s the second delay for Mount Trashmore, which was originally supposed to open in early July, but that opening was pushed back because of construction work on a water main.

Located southeast of Czech Village, Mount Trashmore will be the highest point in Linn County at 948 feet above sea-level. That’s 16 feet higher than Mount Mercy, the county’s highest natural feature, thanks to the 208 feet of buried garbage.

“It’s has an incredible panoramic view of all of Linn County, and especially downtown Cedar Rapids, Czech Village and the river,” said Joe Horaney, communications director for the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency. “There are benches at the top for people to enjoy the view.”

There are also three trails on the man-made mount: the Stumptown Trail, a 5,000-foot trail for just walkers and hikers; the Overlook Trail, a 3,400 foot multi-use trail for hikers and bikers; and the Trashmore Trail, a downhill biking trail.

“It’s a green-level flow trail, 4,000 feet, and it has cutbacks and little mounds and things like that,” Horaney said. “It’s a really fun ride.”

A flow trail requires very little or no pedaling, and green is the International Mountain Bicycling Association rating for an easy trail.

Map of Mount Trashmore trails. — courtesy of Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency

Cedar Rapids’ Mount Trashmore is the latest example of a shuttered landfill being converted into a public space. The first Mount Trashmore opened as a park in Evanston, Illinois in 1965. At 65 feet, it’s more of a hill than a mount, but it does offer some things that won’t be found in Cedar Rapids. In winter, for example, locals can use it for sledding and tobogganing.

“That is something we cannot do, because we have 47 gas collection wells,” Horaney explained. “With Mount Trashmore being a closed landfill, there are permitted regulations that go along with it. So, it’s not a park.”

“Hours the public can access the trails are going to vary,” he added. “Each day, our recreation coordinator will assess conditions of the trail and then will post hours on the Mount Trashmore site.”

“Thursday is going to be a soft opening. We’re going to start small, and see how things go from there.”


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