You’ve Never Experienced Anything Like This Epic Abandoned Railroad Hike In Iowa
Rail trails are great, not only because of the natural beauty and fresh air, but the sense of history you get along the way. The Wabash Trace Nature Trail is a fantastic rail trail because it’s not only one of the longest rail trails in Iowa, it runs through the unique and beautiful Loess Hills, a series of hills formed from silt that was blown in from the Missouri River floodplain after the last ice age.
This trail has plenty to explore, and it runs 63 miles from Council Bluffs to Blanchard, near the Missouri border. You can find a map of the trail here.
A member of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Rail-Trail Hall of Fame, Wabash Trace Nature Trail’s history is connected to the Wabash Railroad, an important Midwestern railway in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In fact, the passenger train called the "Wabash Cannonball" that ran between St. Louis and Detroit even had a song named after it.
If you’re up for a Thursday night bike ride on the trail, there’s a group ride every week during nice weather trail called the "taco ride." Starting in Council Bluffs, the ride is 14 miles in length. It used to end at a bar in Silver City with a Thursday night taco special. While the bar is no longer open, the ride is still called the taco ride, even though now the cyclists’ final destination is the Mineola steakhouse.
The Wabash Trace Nature trail contains more than 70 restored bridges along its length.
It also passes through several charming small towns, like Imogene, a town originally settled by Irish immigrants, and Shenandoah, the boyhood home of the Everly Brothers.
Shenandoah is home to a fully restored Wabash Railroad depot, the home of the Depot Deli Restaurant serving plenty of good food and beer.
South of Shenandoah, you’ll be able to take in some of Iowa’s natural beauty, including lush wooded areas and a reconstructed native prairie.
Whether you want to experience Iowa’s railway history, take in the beautiful scenery, go for a taco ride or experience all of the sights along the way, Wabash Nature Trail has something for everyone.
Have you hiked or biked this trail? What did you think? For more awesome Iowa trails, These 10 Trails In Iowa Will Lead You To Unforgettable Places.
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.