Great Western Trail (IA)

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

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.

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.


Roadside in CLOSED

   February, 2016 by gutwrencher

Great trail. Super wet from the melt. Was loking forward to lunch in Matinsdale but the Roadside is CLOSED for good. read more

Relief From Traffic

   July, 2015 by woodzo

We started a one day ride in 2014 from Kansas City to Des Moines. Riding the last 16 miles on the Great Western Trail was a nice break from the roads. It's scenic and in good enough condition to ride our road bikes on. We'll be back at it again this Saturday, more


   February, 2014 by thebluebass5

This trail is beautiful! The pictures attached to it don't do it justice. It is much harder to go south than it is to go north, plus it is wonderful to end at Grey's lake after going through Water Works Park. I definitely recommend it! read more