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 endangered plants and which are indigenous to this area.
Restaurants and restrooms are available near both trailheads (Des Moines and Martensdale) as well as in Cumming (the halfway point). You will find picnic shelters and water at Gear Street, north of Martensdale, Coolidge Street, south of Cumming, and a picnic shelter south of 72nd Avenue in Polk County.
Parking and Trail Access
In Polk County (Des Moines), parking is available at the trailhead along Valley Drive/George Flagg Parkway, near Park Avenue. In Warren County (Martensdale, Cumming), parking is available at the trailhead on Inwood Street in Martensdale and where the trail crosses CR G14/Cumming Rd. in Cumming.
For more information, view the TrailLink map.
We started in Des Moines and made stops in Cumming at the Tap and ended up with a great meal in Martensdale at the Roadside Inn. You have to travel east thru the town of Martensdale at the bottom of the hill. Nice trail with lots of wildlife and the leaves ...
When I visit my in-laws in Iowa, I typically have to run the highways with no shoulder, run the country roads and risk being chased by loose dogs, or scrap my training runs all together for the weekend. My husband did a search and found this awesome trail. ...
Decent central Iowa trail
Just rode this 6/28 for the first time. Very enjoyable and the road bed was in good condition the entire length. The Tap in Cumming is not visible from the trail, just turn off the trail where you see the Welcome to Cumming sign, go east a few yards and ...