The Iowa Great Lakes Trail was formerly known as the Dickinson County Spine Trail, and it is just thatthe 'spine' of the great active transportation system in the Iowa Great Lakes region near the border with Minnesota. Included in this system are several on-road bicycle routes, nature trails, planned trails and a future rail-trail, almost all of which branch off from the Iowa Great Lakes Trail.
The trail runs for about 18 miles (including on-road portions) from just north of the small town of Orleans to its southern endpoint in the city of Milford. For much of its route, the Iowa Great Lakes Trail winds immediately adjacent to Okoboji Lake and Spirit Lake, providing beautiful views of the clear water. South of Orleans, the trail parallels a rail corridor that was active until 2009. Plans call for the corridor to be converted into a recreational trail, which will ultimately span from Sibley in the west to Superior in the east.
In the city of Spirit Lake, an interior loop connects more homes and a hospital to the trail. South of the city's downtown, be sure to stop to take a picture of (or just gaze out at) East Okoboji Lake from the separated pedestrian bridge near the marina. That bridge takes you to the quiet residential part of the city of Arnolds Park. For the rest of the route, the trail separates from the road and offers a more peaceful ride or run to the southern endpoint in Milford.
While most of the Iowa Great Lakes Trail is a multi-directional, paved off-road route, certain portions are on roads shared with cars. These on-road routes can be tricky to navigate; be sure to refer to the TrailLink map so you can anticipate these sections.
Parking and Trail Access
Parking lots for the Iowa Great Lakes Trail can be found in Spirit Lake at the intersection of 23rd Street and Lincoln Avenue and near the trail's midpoint at 175th Street and Stake Out Road. In Arnolds Park, consider parking where Dam Road meets Minnewashta Lake or at the lot on 202nd Street near US 71.