The Iowa Great Lakes Trail is 25 miles of asphalt and concrete that winds its way through the Iowa Great Lakes region, which offers plenty of outdoor opportunities for visitors-from its popular blue lakes and sandy beaches to quieter natural areas, many protected with INHF assistance. The trail was formerly known as the Dickinson County Spine Trail, and it is just that—the ‘spine’ of the great active transportation system in the Iowa Great Lakes region near the border with Minnesota.
The multi-use Iowa Great Lakes Trail provides local citizens and visitors a safe place to bike, walk, rollerblade, run and cross-country ski. The trail winds along rural, community and nature areas in the heart of the Iowa Great Lakes Region, including Spirit Lake, Okoboji, West Okoboji, Arnolds Park, Milford and Lake Park.
The Iowa Great Lakes Trail (including on-road portions) starts just north of the small town of Orleans to its southern endpoint in the city of Milford. For much of its route, the Iowa Great Lakes Trail winds immediately adjacent to Okoboji Lake and Spirit Lake, providing beautiful views of the clear water. South of Orleans, the trail parallels a rail corridor that was active until 2009. Plans call for the corridor to be converted into a recreational trail, which will ultimately span from Sibley in the west to Superior in the east.
In the city of Spirit Lake, an interior loop connects more homes and a hospital to the trail. South of the city’s downtown, be sure to stop to take a picture of (or just gaze out at) East Okoboji Lake from the separated pedestrian bridge near the marina. That bridge takes you to the quiet residential part of the city of Arnolds Park. For the rest of the route, the trail separates from the road and offers a more peaceful ride or run to the southern endpoint in Milford.