Ames, IA Cross Country Skiing Trails and Maps

174 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
Surfaces
Type
19 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

27.1 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

Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail

5.8 mi
State: IA
Asphalt

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 27.1 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
Central Iowa's Pioneer Trail—which gets its name from the early settlers of Grundy County—is built on a former rail line that once connected the towns of Holland and Reinbeck and the communities in...
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 89-mile span, you’ll traverse woodlands, 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 Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail is a paved multi-use trail that provides a connection between the small, charming college town of Grinnell and Rock Creek State Park, a popular destination for...
IA 5.8 mi Asphalt
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

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...

Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail

IA - 5.8 miles

The Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail is a paved multi-use trail that provides a connection between the small, charming college town of Grinnell and Rock Creek State Park, a popular destination for...

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...

High Trestle Trail

IA - 27.1 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...

Accordion

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...

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...

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 89-mile span, you’ll traverse woodlands, prairie and agricultural...

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...

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.

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...

Pioneer Trail

IA - 11.5 miles

Central Iowa's Pioneer Trail—which gets its name from the early settlers of Grundy County—is built on a former rail line that once connected the towns of Holland and Reinbeck and the communities in...

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...

Accordion

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...

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...

Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail

IA - 5.8 miles

The Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail is a paved multi-use trail that provides a connection between the small, charming college town of Grinnell and Rock Creek State Park, a popular destination 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...

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...

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 89-mile span, you’ll traverse woodlands, prairie and agricultural...

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...

High Trestle Trail

IA - 27.1 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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

High Trestle Trail

IA - 27.1 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...

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 89-mile span, you’ll traverse woodlands, prairie and agricultural...

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

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...

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...

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...

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.

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...

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...

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...

Pioneer Trail

IA - 11.5 miles

Central Iowa's Pioneer Trail—which gets its name from the early settlers of Grundy County—is built on a former rail line that once connected the towns of Holland and Reinbeck and the communities in...

Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail

IA - 5.8 miles

The Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail is a paved multi-use trail that provides a connection between the small, charming college town of Grinnell and Rock Creek State Park, a popular destination 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...

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,...

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...

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...

Recent Trail Reviews

Great Western Trail (IA)

south trailhead is NOT suitable for inline skating!!!

September, 2019 by maplelogo

We started at the south trailhead in Martinsville. NOT suitable for skating and probably not nice on a bike!!!

High Trestle Trail

Breathtaking!

August, 2019 by kb9svr

The descriptions online and videos on Youtube can’t do this trail justice! Words are utterly inadequate. The videos I saw online were fine but, videos can’t quite convey the feeling of pulling off into one of the observation areas, getting off the bike, and just taking in the majesty of it all! The view of the river valley is awe inspiring and guaranteed unforgettable. Crossing the High Trestle Bridge was a blast! It’s one thing to ride the bicycle down any plain path but, add a thirteen story high, half mile long bridge over a breathtaking view of a river valley, and that’s when it becomes an experience you don’t want to miss! I’m glad I came! Thank you to the people who dreamed this up. Thank you for making your dream a reality!

High Trestle Trail

What a bridge!

August, 2019 by tdbirch

Sadly I only had the pleasure to ride from Woodward to the High Trestle Bridge but that short distance revealed a very wide concrete trail in excellent condition. Being a Friday midday there was little traffic on the trail or at the bridge allowing for some nice photography while enjoying my short ride. I only wish I could be there at night to see the awesome LED lighting this art masterpiece has to show!

Accordion

Great Western Trail (IA)

Beautiful Ride

August, 2019 by akelleyrdh

We came from the east and west side of Iowa to ride. We started at Captain Roy's and heading south to Cumming. Beautiful scenery and lots of places to stop and have refreshments/food. The bridges in Des Moines are beautiful and the path is well maintained.

Bill Riley Trail

Short trail but an important link to other trails

August, 2019 by mlbattani0420

I started in greenwood park. This trail is short but connects to other trails in the area. I only rode a short portion because I wanted to connect to the walnut creek trail. It is thru the woods and a pleasant ride. I rode August 2019. The trail is smooth. There are benches along the trail. There were no bugs. There was an order of something in the woods that may have been dead but it wasn't that noticeable. The humidity was high but temps were nice upper 60's-low 80's the day I rode. I didn't see any wildlife.

Linn Creek Recreational Trail

Overall I like this trail and ride it often. There are sections that are unfortunately in deplorable condition. The same terribly large cracks in the pavement have existed near Mega 10 park and the Riverview/Nicholson Ford area for many years.

July, 2019 by carl.shadden

Overall I like this trail and ride it often. There are sections that are unfortunately in deplorable condition. The same terribly large cracks in the pavement have existed near Mega 10 park and the Riverview/Nicholson Ford area for many years.

High Trestle Trail

In-line skater heaven!

June, 2019 by maplelogo

It is very rare to find a trail of this length with such a smooth and well maintained surface. Gentle railway grade provides just enough work. Amazing trail for serious marathon training or a leisurely recreational skate. No hazards and suitable for skaters of all levels, even beginners. We skated on a Monday morning so traffic on the trail was light. Next time we will be sure plan our skate to be at the bridge for sunset and to enjoy the amazing lighted art exhibit.

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

Upcoming work

May, 2019 by jwsknk

Paving from Slater east towards Huxley is supposed to begin summer of 2019. Further down the road the DOT is replacing a bridge for I35 over the trail with a box culvert so a little more pavement happening there. I think that is in the ten year plan, 2023 work stops just short of there.

Raccoon River Valley Trail

Bummer - trail closed north of Panaora as of 4/1/2019

April, 2019 by 2468united

why don't we have a current trail update map????????? Frustrating!!!!! Snow across pass approximately 1 mile north of Panora on April fools day, 2019. No way this is passable as of April fools day.

Raccoon River Valley Trail

Bridge Out South of Jefferson

March, 2019 by john425

In Mid-March 2019, a bridge collapsed which carries the Raccoon River Valley Trail over the North Raccoon River just south Jefferson. The Trail is now closed between 252nd St and 265th St. No timeframe for repairs but certain to be closed for several months.

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.

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