Heart of Iowa Nature Trail Reviews    

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Awesome Trail for Fat Bikes

By chuck.muckamuck in October, 2016

If you are on a fat bike this one should be on your list. There are large sections of crushed limestone, some very short sections of pavement and some good deal of trail that is not groomed well.

On my fat bike the "not groomed well" sections make me very happy.

The only complaint I would voice is that it is not marked well. Riding east from Slater I had to cut it short in Maxwell as I lost the trail.

Note: this is for gravel bikes and fat bikes. For roady-racers try the High Trestle trail

Lumpy Bumpy Trail

By gim820 in April, 2016

I started on the east end of the trail at Rhodes. Good grief the trail was rough as heck---hoof marks were bad. After a couple miles of beating myself to death riding to the east, I turned around and headed west only to find that less than an a mile west of Rhodes, the trail was destroyed from four wheel drive trucks---mud,deep ruts and water holes. Totally impassable! I drove to Collins and tried again---this time it was loose gravel and soft sand that made the ride west of Collins a challenge---no fun, just work. The next day I drove to Slater, to try the west end of this trail. Even though it was raining, the trail (crushed limestone) was a smoother ride. I won't go back to the Heart of Iowa trail in the near future and maybe never given my age. Lots of work needs to be done east of Cambridge and the equestrians, 4x4 and farmers with heavy equipment need to quit destroying the trail.

Not Too Bad

By landylc in July, 2015

We rode from Collins to Cambridge. There were a few spots between Collins and Maxwell that were in need of repair, but it looks like they are trying. There were several spots of very loose gravel and a few mud holes. All in all it was a fun and exciting ride. :D

Great for Fat Bikes

By mkgilmore59 in October, 2014

Rode Slater to Maxwell on October 25th, 2014. Beautiful low-traffic trail with lots to recommend it. Our out of town guest was really impressed!
Towns, services, 'social stops' and benches are nicely spaced. Still a few holes in the center of the trail between Huxley and Cambridge, looks like equestrian damage. Bike lane portion is bike friendly.
The Water Street Bar and Grill in Cambridge was a nice surprise. Bar owner Scott is very welcoming and the eats looked top notch. He has a full Moscow Mule menu!
The bridge over the Skunk River is very picturesque and certainly photo worthy.
Some loose gravel east of the Skunk, no problem for fatties or MTB but all others beware.
Thanks trail people!

You may be disappointed

By jbalin in October, 2014

We rode our road bikes on this trail from Slater to Maxwell in October, 2014, and were disappointed. Basically, the trail still hasn't been repaired since the flood of 2013. The stretch from Slater to Cambridge is OK but the stretch from Cambridge to Maxwell is passable but full of mud holes and dangerous loose gravel.

Great trail

By alanesh in May, 2013

This is a great trail for those of us who are looking for less groomed trails. Please don't down-rate trails just because they're not paved; we're not all looking for 8 foot wide Army Corps of Engineers golden paths. This site has a filter that lets users exclude non-paved trails, and it prominently indicates the Surface of the trails in the database.

Hidden Treasure in Southern Story County

By dctrail in November, 2011

In the past year, the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail has seen some significant improvement with the completion of the bridge over the Skunk River. One can now travel from Huxley to Maxwell essentially without leaving the trail surface. Just a couple more gaps remain. This trail follows the former main line of the Milwaukee Road that once crossed Iowa carrying the Hiawatha and other notable trains. Lots of history all along this trail, and the adjacent High Trestle Trails and Raccoon River Valley Trail (west of Perry) which all have segments built on this former railroad ROW.


By jwsknk in March, 2011

Connection from Cambridge to S-14 done, 2 new bridges, one over the north/south Union Pacific tracks and one over the Skunk River. ( ribbon cutting June 4 2011, National Trails day) This part I think will be most scenic, crossing the river and through the cut to the east. Maxwell area had some flood damage to the trail last summer ( August 2010) at least 210, the closest road, has fairly low traffic if you find the trail impassible.
I'd rate if higher if paved, a couple gaps need closed too.