Iowa Hiking, Nature June 30, 2019
The Brand New Cross-Country Rail Trail That Winds Its Way Through Iowa
When the Transcontinental Railroad crossed the country, it changed the face of America. Now, more than a century later, the Rails to Trails Conservancy is trying to connect the coasts in a different way. Check out the Great American Rail Trail through Iowa to see exactly what their dream entails.
Since the 1980s, Rails to Trails Conservancy has been working on the idea that one day, the Great American Rail-Trail would link both sides of the country.
Recently, the RTC announced that their Great American Rail Trail route was more than 50 percent complete — making this dream look more and more like reality.
The route spans nearly 4,000 miles from Washington, D.C. to Seattle, and it goes right through Iowa. In the Hawkeye State, more than 53 percent of the trails are already built, and more are being renovated every day.
The trails include the familiar and scenic Cedar River Valley Trail, which showcases some of Iowa's historic industry.
The Heart of Iowa Trail is another part of the pathway across the country — and this trail is known for its serene natural beauty.
Along the Racoon River Valley Trail, cyclists and pedestrians will enjoy traveling under the old Waukee Railroad Pergola.
Of course, the one-of-a-kind High Trestle Trail bridge will be a part of the Great American Rail-Trail! Iowa's most famous bridge is a sight to see.
There are 218 miles of trail left to complete in Iowa, and groups are working on completing links and expanding trails like the Iowa River Trail shown here.
In the end, the Great American Rail-Trail will connect 50 million people who live within 50 miles of the route, and allow adventurers a new route across the country. Nearly 500 miles of the trail are in Iowa — will you join in and ride?
You can learn more about the Great American Rail Trail route through Iowa
For more information about Rail-Trails in Iowa, visit the
Rails to Trails Conservancy website.