Cross Country Skiing Trails in Iowa

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  • Cedar Prairie Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 7.9 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Concrete

    The Cedar Prairie Trail is one in a series of trail systems throughout Cedar Falls, Iowa. The trail runs between the South Riverside Trail at Waterloo Rd. and the Sergeant Road Trail along Sergeant Road (US 63) just north of Shaulis Road south ...
  • Cedar River Trail (IA)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 12.6 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Cedar River Trail extends between Blairs Ferry Road NE (also the southern end point of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail) through downtown Cedar Rapids and 76th Avenue SW. At 76th Avenue, the trail becomes the Hoover Nature Trail. The 12.6-mile ...
  • Cedar Valley Lakes Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 6.5 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Cedar Valley Lakes Trail is one in a series of trail systems throughout Cedar Falls, Iowa. The trail runs between Main Street on the north bank of the Cedar River in Cedar City and Longfellow Avenue alongside Cedar Bend Park in Waterloo. ...
  • Cedar Valley Nature Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 52 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Crushed Stone

    The Cedar Valley Nature Trail follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way of the old Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern, an interurban railroad system established in the early 1900s. The 52-mile trail is a linear park that courses through the Cedar ...
  • Chichaqua Valley Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 19.8 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    This scenic Chichaqua Valley Trail runs for 20 miles between just east of Bondurant and the town of Baxter, passing through the small communities of Ira, Mingo and Valeria along the way. The name is derived from a Native American word that early ...
  • Cinder Path

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 13.5 miles
    Surface: Cinder, Crushed Stone

    Cinder Path, stretching between the sleepy towns of Cheriton and Humeston in southern Iowa, might appear unassuming to those unfamiliar with Iowa's great trail history. But don't let the rugged surface or the untamed vegetation fool you—Cinder ...
  • Comet Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 7 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone, Grass

    The Comet Trail is built upon an abandoned right-of-way of the old Chicago Northwestern Railroad. It runs for 7 miles between the town of Conrad (City Park) and just east of Beaman, traversing a mostly rural landscape of farms, rolling prairie ...
  • Copper Creek Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 0.75 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    The Copper Creek Trail runs for a short distance from the town of Preston, heading northwest along Copper Creek to meet with the Jackson County Recreation Trail. You'll find a nice picnic spot with a gazebo where the two trails meet.
  • Ed Winkel Memorial Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 4.7 miles
    Surface: Gravel

    The Ed Winkel Memorial Trail runs for nearly 5 miles from the small town of Sibley in Osceola County, Iowa to just west of the unincorporated community of Allendorf. Offering a hint at much of Iowa's landscape, the trail travels exclusively ...
  • Fairfield Loop Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 16 miles
    Surface: Concrete, Crushed Stone, Gravel

    The Fairfield Loop Trail forms a 16-mile ring around the town of Fairfield, mostly in the outlying areas of the countryside. The trail links two major preserves and connects city and county parks. Along the way you'll pass through woodlands, ...
  • Flint River Trail (IA)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 1.5 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    The Flint River Trail, when complete, will run for approximately 20 miles between downtown Burlington, Iowa, and the Big Hollow Creek Recreation Area in the northern part of Des Moines County. The trail will also link together other popular ...
  • Fort Dodge Nature Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 2.6 miles
    Surface: Cinder

    The Fort Dodge Nature Trail begins at the city's Snell-Crawford Park and runs northeast for nearly 3 miles. The trail travels adjacent to overhead power lines and crosses a couple of bridges over Soldier Creek. Passing just out of sight of the ...
  • Galloping Goose Trail (IA)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 0.5 miles
    Surface: Ballast, Dirt, Grass

    The Galloping Goose Trail is so called for the nickname of the old railroad that once ran through the area and upon which the trail sits. As of 2012, about 0.5 mile of trail have been built northeast of the little community of Rippey. One day ...
  • Gay Lea Wilson Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 19.9 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Concrete

    The Gay Lea Wilson Trail, named for a local advocate who first conceived of a network of trails in eastern Polk County in the 1980s, will eventually link several central Iowa communities and open space over a 35-mile course. Currently, the trail ...
  • Grant Wood Trail (Linn County Segment)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 8 miles
    Surface: Grass

    About 8 miles of the Grant Wood Trail in Linn County has been constructed so far (2012) along a former Milwaukee Road right-of-way between Marion and Martelle. The trail currently is in three separate segments over a 10-mile stretch, the longest ...
  • Great Western Trail (IA)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 16.5 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The 16.5-mile Great Western Trail in central Iowa is built on an abandoned rail bed for the Chicago Great Western, originally constructed in 1893. The trail crosses a few remaining remnants of prairie and wetlands that include some of Iowa's ...
  • Grundy County Lake Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 3 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Concrete

    The Grundy County Lake Trail circles its namesake 40-acre lake, where outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy fishing, boating, and many other recreational opportunities. The paved trail then continues north, crossing under Highway 20, and runs along ...
  • Harry Cook Nature Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 2 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    The Harry Cook Nature Trail runs for 2 miles from the edge of the small city of Osage, Iowa to the city's public Spring Park. The trail, which opened in the early 1990s, occupies the bed of an abandoned railroad corridor and winds through dense ...
  • Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 25.8 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass

    The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail currently consists of two disjointed sections. The first stretches from the small city of Slater in the west to the tiny town of Collins in the east. This segment includes a brief on-road detour between 535th Avenue ...
  • Heritage Trail (IA)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 29.4 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Crushed Stone

    Iowa's Heritage Trail runs for nearly 30 miles between the city of Dubuque and the town of Dyersville to the west. Short portions of the trail are paved within the two communities, but the vast majority of the path has a crushed limestone surface. ...
  • Hoover Nature Trail (Cedar Rapids to Ely)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 2.6 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The portion of the Hoover Nature Trail that runs from Cedar Rapids to Ely is both the northernmost section of the proposed 115 mile trail and the most developed. The trail runs between 76th Avenue Drive SW on the outskirts of Cedar Rapids to ...
  • Hoover Nature Trail (Nichols)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 2.7 miles
    Surface: Grass, Gravel

    This section of the Hoover Nature Trail is the roughest and least maintained. The trail actually runs from just north of the small town of Nichols to a few miles south of West Liberty at 155th Street. Be aware that grass may be overgrown on ...
  • Hoover Nature Trail (West Liberty)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 0.8 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The small city of West Liberty in Muscatine County, Iowa, is home to a short segment of the Hoover Nature Trail. The paved pathway parallels Elm Street and is anchored at its southern end by an old railroad depot built in 1897, which offers ...
  • Hubbard Prairie Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 1.3 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    The Hubbard Prairie Trail is a one-mile rail-trail extending from the northwest edge of the small town of Hubbard in central Iowa to the Meier Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers a pleasant place to fish, kayak, or enjoy other outdoor activities. The ...
  • Iowa Great Lakes Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 18.2 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Iowa Great Lakes Trail was formerly known as the Dickinson County Spine Trail, and it is just that—the 'spine' of the great active transportation system in the Iowa Great Lakes region near the border with Minnesota. Included in this system ...
  • Jackson County Recreation Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 5.6 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    The Jackson County Recreation Trail follows part of the Maquoketa River outside of Spragueville and Preston, through bucolic countryside of woodlands, farms and river lowlands. You can start the trail in the burg of Preston by taking the Copper ...
  • Kewash Nature Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 13.8 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Crushed Stone

    The Kewash Nature Trail winds for nearly 14 miles between the towns of Keota and Washington. These endpoints were creatively combined to form the trail's name. The trail has a crushed limestone surface for most of its route, but the portion ...
  • Lake Manawa Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 7.5 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Concrete

    The Lake Manawa Trail in Council Bluffs links the city's industrial core along US 275 with Lake Manawa State Park, a popular destination for hiking, camping, boating, fishing and swimming. In the east, the trail begins at the Iowa West Foundation ...
  • Lamoni Rail-Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 4.7 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Lamoni Rail-Trail, also called the Lamoni Recreation Trail, is a delightful route through the downtown area, with a side loop through the campus of Graceland University. You can begin the trail at the Iowa Gateway Welcome Center (Exit 4 ...
  • Little River Scenic Pathway

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 1.8 miles
    Surface: Concrete

    Since 1994, the Little River Scenic Pathway has offered something for everyone to enjoy. Users can enjoy nature while hiking, biking, jogging or exercising at fitness areas along the trail or by taking a leisurely stroll and stopping for a picnic ...
  • Mapleleaf Pathway

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 1.5 miles
    Surface: Grass, Gravel

    The Mapleleaf Pathway is located in the small community of Diagonal, Iowa. The trail occupies an abandoned Chicago and North Western Railway corridor, which once formed part of a larger system that looked like a maple leaf when viewed on a map—hence ...
  • Old Creamery Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 15.3 miles
    Surface: Cinder, Crushed Stone, Gravel

    The Old Creamery Trail, running between Vinton and Dysart, is so named for the Old Creamery Theater Company building in Garrison, another tiny farm community through which the trail passes. The gravel trail passes through rural Iowa among cultivated ...
  • Paint Creek Trail (IA)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 2.5 miles
    Surface: Dirt

    Iowa's Yellow River State Forest contains a sprawling network of hiking, equestrian and bicycle trails. The Paint Creek Trail, which occupies a segment of an abandoned railroad corridor, is the only rail-trail in the 8,500 acre forest. The trail ...
  • Pine Lake Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 2.4 miles
    Surface: Concrete

    The Pine Lake Trail runs through a heavily wooded state park of the same name, which is especially known for its 250-year-old white pine trees. The trail begins at Deer Park, a half mile east of downtown Eldora in central Iowa, before heading ...
  • Pioneer Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 11.5 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    The Pioneer Trail is named to give a nod to the people who settled in Grundy County in the 1850s. Eventually, the railroad came to serve the farm communities of Holland, Grundy Center, Morrison and Reinbeck. The trail now replaces the rails, ...
  • Pony Hollow Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 3.6 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass

    The Pony Hollow Trail in the northeastern Iowa city of Elkader offers a scenic route through woodlands and wetlands along the former Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad bed. The western half of the trail begins just south of Elkader City ...
  • Praeri Rail Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 10.5 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass

    The Praeri Rail Trail runs on an old section of railroad right-of-way between Zearing and Roland in central Iowa. Sections of the trail near Roland and McCallsburg have a crushed limestone surface, but the rest of the trail is mowed grass and ...
  • Prairie Farmer Recreational Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 20 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Prairie Farmer Rec. Trail (a.k.a. Winneshiek County Trail) was named for a radio show once broadcast throughout the Midwest. The trail occupies the right-of-way of the former Milwaukee Railroad, which ran between Calmar to Cresco through ...
  • Puddle Jumper Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 2 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    The Puddle Jumper Trail is a 2 mile long rail-trail that connects the western Iowa communities of Orange City and Alton. The trail is surfaced with crushed quartzite and also features a bridle path for equestrian use along the main trail. In ...
  • Raccoon River Valley Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 88.1 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Concrete

    The Raccoon River Valley Trail runs along an abandoned railroad right-of-way that was first built in the 1870s to carry rail traffic between Des Moines and the Great Lakes region. The route encompasses a wide range of landscapes, from suburban ...
  • Readlyn Grump Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 6.3 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Readlyn Grump Trail offers a 6-mile paved path across Bremer County with views of open fields, several streams, and a bridge over Quarter Section Run. It begins at the terminus for the Waverly Rail Trail and travels to Readlyn's Water ...
  • Reumpers Nature Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 0.3 miles
    Surface: Cinder

    Although short, the Reumpers Nature Trail runs under a beautiful canopy of trees along the former Chicago Northwestern Railroad in Radcliffe, a small town in central Iowa.
  • Ringgold Trailway

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 2 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Ringgold Trailway connects the eastern edge of the small city of Mount Ayr with Poe Hollow County Park, a little less than 2 miles away. The trail was built on a former railroad right-of-way, and a caboose rests at the western end of the ...
  • Rock Island Old Stone Arch Nature Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 4 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Rock Island Old Stone Arch Trail travel 4 miles along an asphalt path atop an abandoned rail bed once owned by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. As the name suggests, the trail's main feature is a stone arch bridge, which is listed ...
  • Russell White Nature Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 3.8 miles
    Surface: Ballast, Grass

    The Russell White Nature Trail runs for nearly 4 miles through a landscape of forest, pasture and prairie and links the tiny community of Lanesboro with open space to the southwest of the town. The trail occupies part of a railroad corridor ...
  • Sauk Rail Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 33.2 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Concrete

    Note: A user fee is required for those 18 and older ($1 per day or $15 per year). The Sauk Rail-Trail runs for 33 paved miles between Swan Lake State Park in Carroll and Black Hawk State Park in Lake View. The trail links the communities ...
  • Sergeant Road Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 9.9 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Sergeant Road Trail is part of the larger trails system in the Cedar Valley region of Iowa, which includes the cities of Cedar Falls and Waterloo. The trail parallels US 63—also known as Sergeant Road—from Waterloo to Hudson through rural ...
  • Shell Rock River Trail (Butler County Nature Trail)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 5.9 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Shell Rock River Trail, also known as the Butler County Nature Trail, connects the eastern edge of Clarksville with the community of Shell Rock. The trail runs through open fields and at times approaches the Shell Rock River. The trail ...
  • Solon-Lake Macbride Recreation Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 5.3 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    The Solon–Lake Macbride Recreation Trail runs for 5 miles between the scenic state park and the town of Solon to the east. The popular trail is perfect for cycling or walking and skiing or snowmobiling in the winter. In addition, the park offers ...
  • South Riverside Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 3.5 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The South Riverside Trail is one in a series of trail systems throughout Cedar Falls, Iowa. The trail runs between Main Street at the Cedar Falls Recreation Center and the Greenhill Trail just west of US Highway 218. A spur on the west end takes ...
  • South Tama Recreation Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 5.6 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone, Dirt

    The South Tama Recreation Trail connects the adjacent towns of Tama and Toledo in Tama County, Iowa. The original section of the trail, a 1 mile stretch built on an abandoned railroad corridor, opened for use in 2003. Since then, a number of ...
  • Summerset Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 12 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The paved Summerset trail extends between the McVay Trail in Indianola and Route 5 at 1st Street in Carlisle, following the old rail bed of the former Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad. This National Recreation Trail passes among suburban ...
  • T-Bone Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 19.6 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The T-Bone Trail stretches nearly 20 miles between Audubon and Pymosa township in western Iowa. It's also part of the American Discovery Trail, a non-motorized route across the country. The paved pathway follows a former railroad right-of-way ...
  • Three Rivers Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 39.9 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    The Three Rivers Trail runs for 33 miles from the tiny community of Rolfe—named for the Englishman who married Pocahontas—to just west of Eagle Grove, the largest city in Wright County. The trail occupies an old Chicago and North Western Railway ...
  • Trolley Trail (Clear Lake/Mason City)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 6.2 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    Most of northern Iowa's Trolley Trail is a straight line paralleling both 255th St./4th Ave. and the operational trolley tracks on the other side of the road. But what the Trolley Trail may lack in variety is more than made up for by its excellent ...
  • Trout Run Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 11 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Concrete

    Trout Run Trail forms an 11-mile loop around Decorah, providing access to many of the area's natural treasures and views of beautiful Iowa countryside. Although there are many places to hop on the trail, one of the best is the Decorah Fish ...
  • Volksweg Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 13 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The unusually-named Volksweg Trail connects the city of Pella in Marion County, Iowa, with Lake Red Rock, a large reservoir formed by the Des Moines River's Red Rock Dam. Pella was founded by immigrants from the Netherlands in 1847, so it is ...
  • Wabash Trace Nature Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 63 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    The Wabash Trace Nature Trail is a 63 mile route, converted from a railroad right-of-way, coursing across the scenic southwest Iowa countryside from Council Bluffs to Blanchard at the Iowa–Missouri border. Don't let the "nature trail" part of ...
  • Wapsi-Great Western Line Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 18.5 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Crushed Stone

    The 18.5 mile long Wapsi-Great Western Line Trail follows the abandoned Chicago Great Western Railway grade between Riceville and the Iowa/Minnesota State Line. The corridor was originally built by the Minnesota & Northwestern Railroad in 1886. ...
  • Waverly Rail Trail

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 7 miles
    Surface: Asphalt

    The Waverly Rail Trail is one of northeast Iowa's finest scenic bike and hike trails. Beginning on the west side of the Cedar River in Waverly, the trail heads southeast and crosses an awe-inspiring bridge over Cedar River through downtown. ...
  • Winnebago Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 2 miles
    Surface: Crushed Stone

    Mason City's Winnebago Trail connects MacNider Campground, East Park, residential neighborhoods and the city's municipal swimming pool with the Lime Creek Nature Center just outside city limits. Along its entire route, the aptly-named trail ...
  • Wolf Creek Trail (IA)

    Rail-Trail

    State: IA
    Length: 2.6 miles
    Surface: Asphalt, Crushed Stone

    The Wolf Creek Trail begins in Gladbrook, a small city about 70 miles northeast of Des Moines. The trail was established in 2001 by volunteers from the Gladbrook community who secured the right-of-way of the former Chicago Northwestern Railroad, ...