Our Notebook

High Trestle Trail, Ankeny, Iowa

Total distance: 32.05 mi
Max elevation: 1050 ft
Min elevation: 896 ft
Total climbing: 856 ft
Total descent: -755 ft
Average speed: 11.00 mi/h

Built in the last few years on the roadbeds of two abandoned railroads, the High Trestle Trail runs from Ankeny, Iowa to Woodward.  No wind, mild overcast day, and flat.  Very flat.  And straight.  The map is deceiving; the incline and descent were almost imperceptible

I joined a friend from Cedar Rapids.  Over twenty years ago we had participated in a bike tour down the Wisconsin river; he took his son, I took Jackie.  we’d kept in touch.  Thanks, Facebook…

P1030200P1030199P1030203The trail itself is asphalt and concrete, plenty wide and did I say flat?  For several miles, it proceeds northwest from Ankeny through miles of green trees and along rich farmlands.  The forest has reclaimed the area between the plowed fields and the railroad, and creates an effect like riding through a tunnel.  However, the birds and occasional views of sky and little creeks and the birds and squirrels tell you otherwise.


There’s even a strategically placed potty stop.  And signs in each of the towns welcome you to fill your water bottle, enjoy their parks…


The Milwaukee Road mainline crossed the Des Moines River on a very high trestle   built in 1912.  When the government created Saylorville Lake in 1971, the trestle had to be rebuilt, this time using concrete pillars.  The railroad lasted only another thirty years; when the Union Pacific tore down the bridge, they donated the pillars for the construction of a bike path.  It’s really quite spectacular:



Colored LED lights illuminate the metal decorative boxes which enclose the bridge, and at night apparently creates a really spectacular light show.


We joined Sharon and Georgia for pizza at the trailside bike-themed Flat Tire Lounge.


For more pictures, click on the thumbnail:

1 Comment

  1. Paula

    Really enjoyed photos. Beautiful green and the bridge looks fun. Glad you are having a great time.

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