Parking is available on both the north and south sides of the lake. Another convenient trailhead for this loop is Gateway Park.
From Gateway Park, take Big Woods Road northeast, across a short bridge towards the Cedar Falls Compost Facility, until you see the trail on the right. Follow the winding trail for about a mile until you get to Big Woods Lake. The loop around the lake is about a mile and a half. On the north end, by the campground, you’ll exit and cross East Lake Street. Head north on Big Woods Road for about a quarter mile, then take a left and head west for about two miles along the Lone Tree Road Trail.
The Lone Tree Road Trail terminates at Black Hawk Park. From here, you’ll pick up the Cedar Valley Lakes Trail and follow it southeast for about two miles along the Cedar River and through the quiet and pretty Cottage Row neighborhood. Eventually, you will end up at Island Park, on Center Street in Cedar Falls. Cross the river on Center Street and head east for a short distance on 1st Street. Take a left on Main Street and cross the river again to make your way back to Gateway Park and your starting point.