The Ed Winkel Memorial Trail runs for nearly 5 miles from the small town of Sibley in Osceola County, Iowa to just west of the unincorporated community of Allendorf. Offering a hint at much of Iowa's landscape, the trail travels exclusively through pristine farmland as it makes its way between the two quaint towns. The gravel trail occupies the right-of-way of a former Chicago and Northwestern railroad line, which was railbanked upon the initiation of abandonment proceedings in 1988.
Although the Ed Winkel Memorial Trail might seem fairly unremarkable, the trail has the potential to be the western end of a longer 37 mile trail extending east to the town of Superior in Dickinson County. In fact, the contiguous rail line was purchased by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation from Union Pacific in 2009 with the entire corridor intact. The future trail would incorporate the Ed Winkel Memorial Trail, run from the current terminus at Allendorf east through the towns of Ocheyedan, Harris, Lake Park and Montgomery, and enter the small city of Spirit Lake in the Iowa Great Lakes region. In Spirit Lake, the proposed trail would turn north and either incorporate or run adjacent to the existing Great Lakes Spine Trail
as it skirts the northern edge of East Okoboji Lake. Then the trail would turn south, passing through more farmland before ending in the tiny town of Superior.
For now, that rail-trail is just a dream. In the meantime, get on your bike, horse or snowmobile, walk or run, or strap on your skis and enjoy the Ed Winkel Memorial Trail's 5 mile route while you dream of what might be in the future.
Although the Ed Winkel Memorial Trial is located in a rural part of Iowa, it is only about a 30 minute drive south of I-90 where it passes through Worthington, Minnesota, making travel from much of the midwest and Great Plains regions fairly easy. There are no dedicated parking lots for the trail, so consider parking on city streets in Sibley. As always, please be respectful of local property owners.