Proving Des Moines is NOT boring

Tour the High Trestle Trail

My first mode of transportation was a green tricycle. I loved riding that trike throughout my neighborhood, especially because it was green and all my friends seemed to have red tricycles. I’m sure it was my sister’s before mine, so it had its fair share of use. When I was ready for a bicycle, I learned how to ride on a pink Schwinn with a stellar banana seat. Bicycles were an important part of my childhood as I was raised by bicycle enthusiasts who proudly displayed “Share the Road” bumper stickers on their cars.

Photograph by Kelly Green

My first job, naturally, was at a local bike shop – Bike World. I was fifteen and really had no clue what I was doing, but I loved working there. Over time, I began to actually know what I was talking about when it came to cycling and the different options people have when purchasing bikes and equipment. I never became an expert, but it was a fun, and I worked there for four years.

Bicycling in Iowa is special. For one, we have RAGBRAI, but we also have an extensive trail network that allows cyclists to ride through the state exploring its beauty. The Central Iowa Trail system itself has 670 miles dedicated to cycling, hiking, in-line skating, and even cross-country skiing and horse riding in some areas. Last Saturday the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) had a grand opening for its newest addition to the trail system, the High Trestle Trail.

The 25-mile trail was built on an existing railroad bed and connects the communities of Ankeny, Sheldahl, Slater, Madrid, and Woodward. The focal point of the trail is the 13-story high bridge running over the Des Moines River. This half-mile long destination bridge has special lighting and six overlook spots where people can step off the trail and enjoy the views. Both the natural scenery and the bridge itself are a sight to see. Because the bridge is located near numerous mining shafts, the design of the bridge is an artistic view through a mine shaft. The trestle bridge is the fifth largest in the world and quite breathtaking.

This project has been in the works for eight years. Over 800 private donors, public grants, five trail communities, four trail counties, and INHF have brought this project to life. I’m so excited for this newest addition to the Central Iowa Trail System and hope that everyone gets a chance to visit the trail. Whether you are on your bike, feet, or horse (they’re not allowed on the bridge), go enjoy the High Trestle Trail. You won’t regret it.

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