High Trestle Trail

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                   High Trestle Trail

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, cityofmadrid@iowatelecom.net, 515-795-3930, and/or
- Andy Hockenson at the Boone County Conservation Board, bccb@wccta.net, 515-353-4237

 trail connector

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 
Trail Managers

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
(515) 465-3577
Office hours: M-F 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.