High Trestle Trail

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Trail Information

The High Trestle trail is a 25 mile long recreation trail running through the cities of Woodward, Madrid,High Trestle 1 Slater, Sheldahl and Ankeny and opened in 2011. This trail includes an iconic 1/2- mile, 13-story high bridge across the Des Moines River valley, one of the largest trail bridges in the world. It encompasses Dallas, Boone, Story and Polk counties and connects with the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail.  

Due to the popularity of the trail between Madrid and Woodward, the City of Madrid and Boone County require a permit (free) for organized events on the High Trestle Trail pavement, right of way, or trail head in their jurisdictions. To obtain the appropriate permit(s), please e-mail or call the City of Madrid or Boone County Conservation at least two weeks in advance.  

Let's Connect! Learn how you can help connect the High Trestle Trail with the 
Raccoon River Valley Trail through your donation!

 High Trestle Trail Map

Did You Know?

    • The High Trestle Trail is built on a former railroad bed, previously owned by Union Pacific Railroad.

    • At each end of the ½ mile long bridge are four 42’ tall artistic towers. The dark bands represent
      geologic coal veins found in area limestone deposits 

    • Forty-one steel “frames” over the bridge represent support cribs within an historic coal mine 

    • It's famous for its thirteen story, 1/2 mile long bridge over the Des Moines River. The bridge is 
       located between Madrid and Woodward in Boone County. 

    • There are six overlooks on the bridge with interpretive panels that highlight the region's cultural
       and natural history. 

    • Trail designed by Snyder & Associates. Bridge designed by Snyder & Associates
       and Shuck-Britson, Inc.  Artistic enhancements designed by Dahlquist Art Studios/ RDG
        Planning & Design. 


Resources From Other Sites

Polk County Conservation Board
This site site covers four facets of the trail: accessibility, facts and features, history and a narrative tour. No maps are provided.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation 
This site has information about not only the High Trestle Trail, but also others around the state. Links to articles and more.

Raccoon River Valley Trail Association
This very informative site provides extensive information about the trail. Maps, fee information, trail events, news, history and other recreational activities are expanded upon. An overview of surrounding communities is also provided.