The Prairie Farmer Rec. Trail (a.k.a. Winneshiek County Trail) was named for a radio show once broadcast throughout the Midwest. The trail occupies the right-of-way of the former Milwaukee Railroad, which ran between Calmar to Cresco through these parts.
The trail is unique in that much of it passes among the few remaining of Midwestern prairies, home to rare native species that once flourished throughout the now-vanishing ecosystem.
The trail also passes among wooded areas and farmland. Nearby parks include Chimney Rock and Kendallville, both offering canoe access to the Upper Iowa River, with its bluffs and limestone cliffs. West of Calmar Lake you'll find Meyer Park, which has picnicking, boating and camping.
As you journey along the Prairie Farmer Rec. Trail, imagine what the first settlers might have encountered. Stop by the charming communities along the way and meet their descendants.
Parking and Trail Access
Parking areas are located at the trailheads in Calmar and Cresco. At an approximate mid-point of the trail is Ridgeway Park another convenient parking area. Additional parking can be at any road crossing located approximately every mile.
Smooth Paved Trail
This trail is now paved and it's very smooth. I started in Cresco where there isn't a clearly defined trailhead; heading eastward you ride on a wide concrete sidewalk for a mile or 2; then after turning south it turns into asphalt the rest of the way. ...
Nice surface, low traffic
My wife and I had an opportunity to ride this trail on a hot, windy August Saturday. Traffic was very low, we were well buffered from the wind in most places and the trail was in excellent shape.
* Great new asphalt surface.
* Just enough ...