Length 25 miles
Surface paved (concrete and asphalt) surface from Woodward to Ankeny
Connecting Trails Heart of Iowa Nature Trail
Hours all hours
Fees no fees
Counties Boone, Story, Polk, Dallas
Cities Woodward, Madrid, Slater, Sheldahl, Ankeny.
About this trail
This trail runs for 25 miles through five towns (Ankeny Sheldahl, Slater, Madrid and Woodward), and through Polk, Story, Boone and Dallas counties. The trail includes a 1/2- mile, 13-story high bridge across the Des Moines River valley, one of the largest trail bridges in the world.
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 trailhead in their jurisdictions. To obtain the appropriate permit(s), please e-mail or call at least two weeks in advance:
- Todd Kilzer, City of Madrid, firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-795-3930, and/or
- Andy Hockenson at the Boone County Conservation Board, email@example.com, 515-353-4237
Let's Connect! Learn how you can help connect the High Trestle Trail with the Raccoon River Valley Trail!
Background on the High Trestle Trail and bridge:
• The High Trestle Trail is built on a former railroad bed, previously owned by Union Pacific Railroad.
• The trail is famous for its 13-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.
• The trail was designed by Snyder & Associates. The bridge was designed by Snyder & Associates
and Shuck-Britson, Inc.. The artistic enhancements were designed by Dahlquist Art Studios/ RDG
Planning & Design
• 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
• 41 steel “frames” over the bridge represent support cribs within an historic coal mine
Boone County Conservation Board - 515-353-4237
City of Ankeny - (515) 963-3570
City of Madrid - 515-795-3930
City of Slater - 515-685-2531 - e-mail
City of Woodward - 515-438-2560
Dallas County Conservation Board - 515-465-3577
Polk County Conservation Board - 515-323-5300
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. Plenty of 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, as well as other links you can visit
Dallas County Conservation Board
14581 K Avenue
Perry, Iowa 50220
Office hours: M-F 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.