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 settlers mistook to mean "skunk" but actually referred to the smell of wild onions that grew along the Skunk River, which the trail crosses.
The trail is a gem among Iowa's cultivated fields, and throughout the route you'll be treated to wildflowers and wildlife in this wooded greenbelt corridor.
The trail is paved for its entire route, and it occupies an abandoned rail right-of-way that once was used by the Wisconsin, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad, built in 1885. Later other railroads came along: Chicago, St. Paul, & Kansas City Railroad (1886-1892), Chicago Great Western Company (1892-1968) and the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company (1968-1984). You'll see evidence of the train route in mile markers that show the distance to Kansas City. Stone and wood railroad bridges have also been refurbished for the trail.
Parking and Trail Access
Trailhead parking with bathroom facilities are available in Baxter, Ira, Mingo and Bondurant. Valeria has parking but no restrooms at the trailhead.
Wow, this trail was a real surprise. I picked it up Northeast of Bondurant in Valeria which is not really much of a town to speak of, but the trail is clearly marked when coming off of Hwy F34/NE 94th Ave. The section that is closed from Bondurant to ...
Southern part of trail is closed until Fall 2012
Due to flooding, the trail is closed at the south trailhead outside Bondurant all the way to Valeria until fall of 2012. Floods washed out the trail in several areas and the bridge across the Skunk River. Repairs will hopefully be completed in the fall ...
Want to get away?
After riding this trail I said to myself "What is it doing here?" It is surprising as far away from things the trail is that someone would even think to put it where it is. The trail is an old railroad, so the hills are not very hilly, but when you ride ...