Ames Cross Country Skiing Trails and Maps

164 Reviews

Looking for the best Cross Country Skiing trails around Ames?

Find the top rated cross country skiing trails in Ames, whether you're looking for an easy short cross country skiing trail or a long cross country skiing trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a cross country skiing trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.

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Activities
Length
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18 Results
Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type

Chichaqua Valley Trail

27 mi
State: IA
Asphalt

Clive Greenbelt Trail

7.9 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Comet Trail

7 mi
State: IA
Crushed Stone, Grass

Fort Dodge Nature Trail

2.6 mi
State: IA
Cinder

Galloping Goose Trail (IA)

0.5 mi
State: IA
Ballast, Dirt, Grass

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

20.9 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Great Western Trail (IA)

16.5 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

25.8 mi
State: IA
Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass

High Trestle Trail

25.6 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Hubbard Prairie Trail

1.3 mi
State: IA
Crushed Stone

Pine Lake Trail

2.4 mi
State: IA
Concrete

Pioneer Trail

11.5 mi
State: IA
Crushed Stone

Praeri Rail Trail

10.5 mi
State: IA
Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass

Raccoon River Valley Trail

89 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Reumpers Nature Trail

0.3 mi
State: IA
Cinder

Summerset Trail

12 mi
State: IA
Asphalt

Three Rivers Trail

39.9 mi
State: IA
Crushed Stone

Wolf Creek Trail (IA)

2.6 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail Image Trail Name States Length Surface Rating
The paved Chichaqua Valley Trail crosses 27 miles of central Iowa farmland between the northeastern Des Moines suburbs and the rural community of Baxter. The trail’s name, pronounced chee-chak-wah, is...
IA 27 mi Asphalt
While Greater Des Moines is flush with multiuse trails, one of the paved pathways running through the suburb of Clive really stands out. Offering a string of trailside parks and fun twists and turns...
IA 7.9 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Comet Trail is built upon an abandoned right-of-way of the old Chicago Northwestern Railroad. It runs for 7 miles between the town of Conrad (City Park) and just east of Beaman, traversing a...
IA 7 mi Crushed Stone, Grass
The Fort Dodge Nature Trail begins at the city's Snell-Crawford Park and runs northeast for nearly 3 miles. The trail travels adjacent to overhead power lines and crosses a couple of bridges over...
IA 2.6 mi Cinder
The Galloping Goose Trail is so called for the nickname of the old railroad that once ran through the area and upon which the trail sits. As of 2012, about 0.5 mile of trail have been built northeast...
IA 0.5 mi Ballast, Dirt, Grass
Nestled in the suburbs of Des Moines and traveling through the towns of Ankeny, Berwick, Pleasant Hill, and Altoona, the Gay Lea Wilson Trail is named for a local advocate who first conceived of a...
IA 20.9 mi Asphalt, Concrete
Built on a former section of the Chicago Great Western Railroad (built in 1893), the Great Western Trail spans 16.5 miles from just outside of urban Des Moines southward to Martensdale. Begin your...
IA 16.5 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail traverses classic Iowa farmland along the former route of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, also known as the Milwaukee Road. The trail transitions...
IA 25.8 mi Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass
The High Trestle Trail is one of the most pristine and highly trafficked trails in Iowa—even at night. The trail’s popularity is largely due to its famous 130-foot-tall High Trestle Bridge, which...
IA 25.6 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Hubbard Prairie Trail is a one-mile rail-trail extending from the northwest edge of the small town of Hubbard in central Iowa to the Meier Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers a pleasant place to...
IA 1.3 mi Crushed Stone
The Pine Lake Trail runs through a heavily wooded state park of the same name, which is especially known for its 250-year-old white pine trees. The trail begins at Deer Park, a half mile east of...
IA 2.4 mi Concrete
The nearly 12-mile Pioneer Trail—which gets its name from the early settlers in Grundy County—is built on a former rail line that once connected the towns of Holland and Reinbeck and the communities...
IA 11.5 mi Crushed Stone
The Praeri Rail Trail runs on an old section of railroad right-of-way between Zearing and Roland in central Iowa. Sections of the trail near Roland and McCallsburg have a crushed limestone surface,...
IA 10.5 mi Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass
On the western outskirts of Des Moines, the Raccoon River Valley Trail offers a quintessential central Iowa experience. Over its nearly 90-mile span, you’ll traverse wooded, prairie, and agricultural...
IA 89 mi Asphalt, Concrete
Although short, the Reumpers Nature Trail runs under a beautiful canopy of trees along the former Chicago Northwestern Railroad in Radcliffe, a small town in central Iowa.
IA 0.3 mi Cinder
The Summerset Trail links the two central Iowa communities of Indianola and Carlisle, both of which have embraced the trail, including providing helpful signs at each end with clear directions for...
IA 12 mi Asphalt
The Three Rivers Trail runs for nearly 40 miles from the small community of Rolfe—named after the early English settler who married Pocahontas—to just west of Eagle Grove. The mostly rural trail is...
IA 39.9 mi Crushed Stone
The Wolf Creek Trail begins in Gladbrook, a small city about 70 miles northeast of Des Moines. The trail was established in 2001 by volunteers from the Gladbrook community who secured the right-of-way...
IA 2.6 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone

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Trails by activity

Raccoon River Valley Trail

IA - 89 miles

On the western outskirts of Des Moines, the Raccoon River Valley Trail offers a quintessential central Iowa experience. Over its nearly 90-mile span, you’ll traverse wooded, prairie, and agricultural...

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

IA - 20.9 miles

Nestled in the suburbs of Des Moines and traveling through the towns of Ankeny, Berwick, Pleasant Hill, and Altoona, the Gay Lea Wilson Trail is named for a local advocate who first conceived of a...

Three Rivers Trail

IA - 39.9 miles

The Three Rivers Trail runs for nearly 40 miles from the small community of Rolfe—named after the early English settler who married Pocahontas—to just west of Eagle Grove. The mostly rural trail is...

Great Western Trail (IA)

IA - 16.5 miles

Built on a former section of the Chicago Great Western Railroad (built in 1893), the Great Western Trail spans 16.5 miles from just outside of urban Des Moines southward to Martensdale. Begin your...

Accordion

Pine Lake Trail

IA - 2.4 miles

The Pine Lake Trail runs through a heavily wooded state park of the same name, which is especially known for its 250-year-old white pine trees. The trail begins at Deer Park, a half mile east of...

Summerset Trail

IA - 12 miles

The Summerset Trail links the two central Iowa communities of Indianola and Carlisle, both of which have embraced the trail, including providing helpful signs at each end with clear directions for...

Clive Greenbelt Trail

IA - 7.9 miles

While Greater Des Moines is flush with multiuse trails, one of the paved pathways running through the suburb of Clive really stands out. Offering a string of trailside parks and fun twists and turns...

High Trestle Trail

IA - 25.6 miles

The High Trestle Trail is one of the most pristine and highly trafficked trails in Iowa—even at night. The trail’s popularity is largely due to its famous 130-foot-tall High Trestle Bridge, which...

Wolf Creek Trail (IA)

IA - 2.6 miles

The Wolf Creek Trail begins in Gladbrook, a small city about 70 miles northeast of Des Moines. The trail was established in 2001 by volunteers from the Gladbrook community who secured the right-of-way...

Chichaqua Valley Trail

IA - 27 miles

The paved Chichaqua Valley Trail crosses 27 miles of central Iowa farmland between the northeastern Des Moines suburbs and the rural community of Baxter. The trail’s name, pronounced chee-chak-wah, is...

Three Rivers Trail

IA - 39.9 miles

The Three Rivers Trail runs for nearly 40 miles from the small community of Rolfe—named after the early English settler who married Pocahontas—to just west of Eagle Grove. The mostly rural trail is...

Raccoon River Valley Trail

IA - 89 miles

On the western outskirts of Des Moines, the Raccoon River Valley Trail offers a quintessential central Iowa experience. Over its nearly 90-mile span, you’ll traverse wooded, prairie, and agricultural...

Galloping Goose Trail (IA)

IA - 0.5 miles

The Galloping Goose Trail is so called for the nickname of the old railroad that once ran through the area and upon which the trail sits. As of 2012, about 0.5 mile of trail have been built northeast...

Praeri Rail Trail

IA - 10.5 miles

The Praeri Rail Trail runs on an old section of railroad right-of-way between Zearing and Roland in central Iowa. Sections of the trail near Roland and McCallsburg have a crushed limestone surface,...

Accordion

Reumpers Nature Trail

IA - 0.3 miles

Although short, the Reumpers Nature Trail runs under a beautiful canopy of trees along the former Chicago Northwestern Railroad in Radcliffe, a small town in central Iowa.

Clive Greenbelt Trail

IA - 7.9 miles

While Greater Des Moines is flush with multiuse trails, one of the paved pathways running through the suburb of Clive really stands out. Offering a string of trailside parks and fun twists and turns...

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

IA - 25.8 miles

The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail traverses classic Iowa farmland along the former route of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, also known as the Milwaukee Road. The trail transitions...

Pioneer Trail

IA - 11.5 miles

The nearly 12-mile Pioneer Trail—which gets its name from the early settlers in Grundy County—is built on a former rail line that once connected the towns of Holland and Reinbeck and the communities...

Comet Trail

IA - 7 miles

The Comet Trail is built upon an abandoned right-of-way of the old Chicago Northwestern Railroad. It runs for 7 miles between the town of Conrad (City Park) and just east of Beaman, traversing a...

Fort Dodge Nature Trail

IA - 2.6 miles

The Fort Dodge Nature Trail begins at the city's Snell-Crawford Park and runs northeast for nearly 3 miles. The trail travels adjacent to overhead power lines and crosses a couple of bridges over...

Chichaqua Valley Trail

IA - 27 miles

The paved Chichaqua Valley Trail crosses 27 miles of central Iowa farmland between the northeastern Des Moines suburbs and the rural community of Baxter. The trail’s name, pronounced chee-chak-wah, is...

High Trestle Trail

IA - 25.6 miles

The High Trestle Trail is one of the most pristine and highly trafficked trails in Iowa—even at night. The trail’s popularity is largely due to its famous 130-foot-tall High Trestle Bridge, which...

Great Western Trail (IA)

IA - 16.5 miles

Built on a former section of the Chicago Great Western Railroad (built in 1893), the Great Western Trail spans 16.5 miles from just outside of urban Des Moines southward to Martensdale. Begin your...

Summerset Trail

IA - 12 miles

The Summerset Trail links the two central Iowa communities of Indianola and Carlisle, both of which have embraced the trail, including providing helpful signs at each end with clear directions for...

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

IA - 20.9 miles

Nestled in the suburbs of Des Moines and traveling through the towns of Ankeny, Berwick, Pleasant Hill, and Altoona, the Gay Lea Wilson Trail is named for a local advocate who first conceived of a...

Hubbard Prairie Trail

IA - 1.3 miles

The Hubbard Prairie Trail is a one-mile rail-trail extending from the northwest edge of the small town of Hubbard in central Iowa to the Meier Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers a pleasant place to...

Pine Lake Trail

IA - 2.4 miles

The Pine Lake Trail runs through a heavily wooded state park of the same name, which is especially known for its 250-year-old white pine trees. The trail begins at Deer Park, a half mile east of...

Wolf Creek Trail (IA)

IA - 2.6 miles

The Wolf Creek Trail begins in Gladbrook, a small city about 70 miles northeast of Des Moines. The trail was established in 2001 by volunteers from the Gladbrook community who secured the right-of-way...

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

IA - 25.8 miles

The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail traverses classic Iowa farmland along the former route of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, also known as the Milwaukee Road. The trail transitions...

Galloping Goose Trail (IA)

IA - 0.5 miles

The Galloping Goose Trail is so called for the nickname of the old railroad that once ran through the area and upon which the trail sits. As of 2012, about 0.5 mile of trail have been built northeast...

Pioneer Trail

IA - 11.5 miles

The nearly 12-mile Pioneer Trail—which gets its name from the early settlers in Grundy County—is built on a former rail line that once connected the towns of Holland and Reinbeck and the communities...

Clive Greenbelt Trail

IA - 7.9 miles

While Greater Des Moines is flush with multiuse trails, one of the paved pathways running through the suburb of Clive really stands out. Offering a string of trailside parks and fun twists and turns...

Accordion

Praeri Rail Trail

IA - 10.5 miles

The Praeri Rail Trail runs on an old section of railroad right-of-way between Zearing and Roland in central Iowa. Sections of the trail near Roland and McCallsburg have a crushed limestone surface,...

Reumpers Nature Trail

IA - 0.3 miles

Although short, the Reumpers Nature Trail runs under a beautiful canopy of trees along the former Chicago Northwestern Railroad in Radcliffe, a small town in central Iowa.

Comet Trail

IA - 7 miles

The Comet Trail is built upon an abandoned right-of-way of the old Chicago Northwestern Railroad. It runs for 7 miles between the town of Conrad (City Park) and just east of Beaman, traversing a...

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

IA - 20.9 miles

Nestled in the suburbs of Des Moines and traveling through the towns of Ankeny, Berwick, Pleasant Hill, and Altoona, the Gay Lea Wilson Trail is named for a local advocate who first conceived of a...

Fort Dodge Nature Trail

IA - 2.6 miles

The Fort Dodge Nature Trail begins at the city's Snell-Crawford Park and runs northeast for nearly 3 miles. The trail travels adjacent to overhead power lines and crosses a couple of bridges over...

Three Rivers Trail

IA - 39.9 miles

The Three Rivers Trail runs for nearly 40 miles from the small community of Rolfe—named after the early English settler who married Pocahontas—to just west of Eagle Grove. The mostly rural trail is...

Summerset Trail

IA - 12 miles

The Summerset Trail links the two central Iowa communities of Indianola and Carlisle, both of which have embraced the trail, including providing helpful signs at each end with clear directions for...

Great Western Trail (IA)

IA - 16.5 miles

Built on a former section of the Chicago Great Western Railroad (built in 1893), the Great Western Trail spans 16.5 miles from just outside of urban Des Moines southward to Martensdale. Begin your...

Chichaqua Valley Trail

IA - 27 miles

The paved Chichaqua Valley Trail crosses 27 miles of central Iowa farmland between the northeastern Des Moines suburbs and the rural community of Baxter. The trail’s name, pronounced chee-chak-wah, is...

Hubbard Prairie Trail

IA - 1.3 miles

The Hubbard Prairie Trail is a one-mile rail-trail extending from the northwest edge of the small town of Hubbard in central Iowa to the Meier Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers a pleasant place to...

High Trestle Trail

IA - 25.6 miles

The High Trestle Trail is one of the most pristine and highly trafficked trails in Iowa—even at night. The trail’s popularity is largely due to its famous 130-foot-tall High Trestle Bridge, which...

Pine Lake Trail

IA - 2.4 miles

The Pine Lake Trail runs through a heavily wooded state park of the same name, which is especially known for its 250-year-old white pine trees. The trail begins at Deer Park, a half mile east of...

Wolf Creek Trail (IA)

IA - 2.6 miles

The Wolf Creek Trail begins in Gladbrook, a small city about 70 miles northeast of Des Moines. The trail was established in 2001 by volunteers from the Gladbrook community who secured the right-of-way...

Raccoon River Valley Trail

IA - 89 miles

On the western outskirts of Des Moines, the Raccoon River Valley Trail offers a quintessential central Iowa experience. Over its nearly 90-mile span, you’ll traverse wooded, prairie, and agricultural...

Recent Trail Reviews

Three Rivers Trail

Enjoyable trail

September, 2018 by pedalfree

I rode the section from Humbolt to Rolfe and back on Friday August 31, 2018. As others have posted, this is a crushed limestone trail but it is very smooth and in great shape, especially considering all the rain this area has received this summer. There were some small branches and leaves on the trail and there was one spot just west of Bradgate that was a little soft but other than that it was firm. I rode my Kona Rove with 700c x 35 mm tires and had no problems at all. I felt that the entire route was very scenic as it follows the Des Moines River. There are a lot of wooded stretches and glimpses of water. I even saw a Beaver near Bradgate.

If you take this trip, there's not much in Rutland or Bradgate to stop for, but there are nice picnic areas alongside the trail near both towns. There may have been restaurants in Rolfe but I wasn't really paying attention. Humbolt looked like a fabulous little town with a very vibrant Main Street and several restaurants. This is about an hour from my home, and so I plan to come back and ride the other direction to Eagle Grove. All in all, a great day.

High Trestle Trail

Thumbs Up

August, 2018 by negangardo

Skated this trail from the trestle bridge to the oasis after Sheldahl. The pavement is like a big, wide sidewalk until Slater and beyond to the south, where it is more like asphalt. Trail was fairly busy, even away from the bridge. The bridge was well worth the trip, especially if you see it at night. The rest of the trail is standard Iowa scenery with pretty much no slopes and very long straight stretches.

Iowa 330/US 30 Trail

Melbourne to Marshalltown

June, 2018 by lostagaintwice

Rode this trail 32 miles on 6/23/18. The trailhead parking lot across the highway from Melbourne is not well marked or mowed, branches and weeds were high, so we elected to park in the town. The trail was nice but beware of the cracks in the concrete surface. The gravel trail crossings were not problem on my gravel bike but a roadie made want to slow down. Another rider informed us that all the crossings are supposed to updated to concrete by next year. Nice trail that gets nicer on closer to the Linn Creek trail near Marshalltown. All in all, a nice ride that was worth the trip to try this trailride

Accordion

High Trestle Trail

Excellent trail! Well maintained

May, 2018 by swolters

We loved the trail and the trestle was amazing. Be sure to bring and wear sunglasses and a bandana. There are copious amounts of flying bugs on some portions of the trail.

High Trestle Trail

So perfect!

April, 2018 by lcr1956

This is our favorite trail. We drove from Dallas and arrived to beautiful weather. (9/15/17). Arrived when when they were turning on the lights. Rode to Madrid to have a beer at Flat Tire Bar. Do not miss that place. So cool for bikers. The trail is very maintained and beautiful. We are going back this year and go the whole way. Please remember your front and back lights if you go at night. It’s a very dark trail.

Raccoon River Valley Trail

My Home Trail

October, 2017 by pedalfree

I like the Raccoon River Valley Trail so much that I moved to Iowa and bought a house just a few blocks from it so that I can ride it every day. I do, too. I've been over every inch of this trail multiple times and just find it to be delightful. My wife and I are annual pass holders and can't possibly thank those who made this possible near enough. We live in Jefferson, so I'm most familiar with the northern end of the trail. My daily rides typically take me to Yale or Panora if I'm heading south, or to Dawson or Perry if I'm heading east. The trail runs through 3 counties (Greene, Guthrie and Dallas) and local conservation officials are responsible for maintaining it. They do a great job, too. I've ridden all the way to Des Moines and back on both legs. Just an unbelievably good trail experience all around. If you're in from out of town, buy a day pass for $2 and help support the trail. Better yet, buy an annual pass $10 and come back again and again. It never gets old.

Neal Smith Trail

Neal Smith Trail...Big Creek State Park

September, 2017 by eslaccent

Packerbacker's description of the Big Creek State Park trail was right on--bumpy (uncountable "cross-cuts") and desperately in need of repair or resurfacing. This morning (9/24/17) my wife and I started out on the trail expecting to experience the same bumpy, irritating ride when much to our amazement all the significant cross-cuts had been repaired--a combination of grinding and tar, I would guess. The ride is not perfect, but much improved! ...and the views of the lake are spectacular.

Raccoon River Valley Trail

Great trail

September, 2017 by mfoss

We just rode this trail for the first time and I highly recommend it! It is all either concrete or blacktop which is so easy on the tires and the bottom. It was very well maintained and the small towns you encounter about every 6 miles were quite accommodating. The people seemed happy to see us, not annoyed by our intrusion into their town. We came from another state because we were looking for an easy day drive to a trail. The pride of the Iowa people for their trail and their state is so obvious and appreciated. Love the Midwest. The trailhead restroom facilities were overall excellent. Would love to see more bed and breakfasts and food options spring up along the trails. The trail has a lot of open stretches so remember that when deciding when to ride and watch out for the walnuts in the fall, yikes! We hear they are going to connect the high trestle trail with this 89 mile trail which will make it even better!

Chichaqua Valley Trail

Rather rustic

September, 2017 by sirscroddy

Lots of bridges over creeks and drainage ditches, but the views aren't terribly scenic, and the bridges feel pretty rickety. Occasional signs of farm life are a nice sight. The riding surface is above average, with some cracking in spots. Also, watch out for big tree nuts on the trail.

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

Better Signage

August, 2017 by david114

The signage is pretty sparse in Huxley. Got lost when crossing Hwy 69. There is a nice section just to the east of Huxley that is brand new poured concrete. To the west of that in Huxley, it is asphalted. When I rode it (on 28mm tires) a month ago between Slater and Cambridge, I was the only person on it! A nice trail that seems to be a well kept secret!

High Trestle Trail

My FAVORITE trail!

August, 2017 by david114

This trail seems to be CONSTANTLY busy with people, even at 7:30 on a Sunday morning :P
I've ridden all but a section between Slater and just South of Sheldahl, and have LOVED it. It's a nice well kept trail and the bridge and scenic overlook offers some spectacular views, especially when riding under a full moon or in the fall time with the leaves!
If you're on it at night, PLEASE HAVE FRONT & REAR LIGHTS (especially walkers)! It's hard as a biker to see walkers that have no light at all and we really don't want to hit you.

Neal Smith Trail

Gorgeous... Nice Training Trail

August, 2017 by david114

GORGEOUS trail! Did this with my buddy in June to prep for RAGBRAI. Started at Birdland Marina, went down to Court Ave, then took the Johnston Greenbelt trail back up, met up with the trail again, then went over to Ankeny to take the HTT back up to Birdland Marina.
Some of the hills would make AMAZING training routes. The trail in general was pretty quiet when we went at 8 on a Sunday morning. Would definitely do it again!

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