The 16.5-mile Great Western Trail in central Iowa is built on a former 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) and at Coolidge Street (south of Cumming).
Near its northern end, an expansion of Veterans Parkway will shift the route of the trail slightly. Construction of the new trail section paralleling the new roadway between Highway 5 and the city of Cumming is expected to be completed in 2019.
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.