High Trestle Trail

The High Trestle Trail needs to be on your bucket list if you are ever riding a bicycle in Iowa. This paved trail has become a very popular ride. The 25 mile trail runs from Ankeny, Iowa to Woodward, Iowa. The highlight of the ride is the iconic High Trestle Bridge between Madrid and Woodward.

The bridge is approximately one-half mile long and 130 feet high. It offers scenic views of the Des Moines River valley below. Decorating the bridge is beams reminisent of a coal mine – a nod to the coal mining heritage in the area. The beams are angeled to simulate moving through a spiraling coal mine as you ride across the bridge. The beams are lit at night.

The route begins in Ankeny, but you can start riding the trail anywhere since it is an out-and-back trail. There is plenty of parking near the city sports complexes along with bathrooms and water. A good spot to start and finish your ride is theFiretrucker Brewery – housed in an old firehouse.

An alternative start option would be at the Boulders Inn and Suites in Polk City. We created a map from the location.

Your next stop along the trail will be the Oasis. This is a small gazebo shelter and portapottie trailside. It has running water, so you can fill up if needed.

Sheldahl and Slater are the next stops along the trail. Slater has the Nite Hawkwith a outdoor patio and beverage garden along the trail. You can’t miss it. The food is great too.

There is 7 more miles to Madrid. Again, there are businesses located right on the trail. Find the Flat Tire Lounge to reload with beverages. The Hotel Pattee has a food trailer at this stop. If you wander further into Madrid you can find Elmo’s – look for the signs on the trail.

Next stop is the iconic High Trestle Bridge. Take your time to soak up the view along the bridge. There is an overlook point on the west side of the bridge.

Your final destination is Woodward, where you need to find the Whistling Donkey.

If you want a bigger experience, try the trail at night. The bridge is lit up until 11 PM. There are frequent full-moon rides. Be sure to have working light and keep a look out for other trail users (pedestrians might not be very visible).

Ankeny, Iowa

Madrid, Iowa

Slater, Iowa

Woodward, Iowa

Download the GPX file.

Downlaod the KML file.