Johnston Interurban Trail


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Johnston Interurban Trail Facts

States: Iowa
Counties: Polk
Length: 1.7 miles
Trail end points: Beaver Creek (Trestle to Trestle Trail) and NW 62nd Avenue near Merle Hay Rd.
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 10757750
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Johnston Interurban Trail Description

The Johnston Interurban Trail, built on a corridor used by Iowa's Inter-Urban Railway from 1906 until 1948, provides an important connection for the area's top-notch trail system, which enables trail users to travel on paved paths from the heart of Des Moines into the northern suburb of Johnston.

The trail's southern end begins at Beaver Creek, where the Trestle to Trestle Trail provides access over the water and connects to further trails in Des Moines, Saylorville, and beyond. Heading north, the trail connects to the eastern terminus of the Beaver Creek Greenbelt Trail, which follows the creek deeper into the Beaver Creek Natural Resource Area, a scenic wooded reserve teeming with wildlife. The Johnston Interurban Trail continues heading north, beginning a slow but steady ascent as it passes through Ray Schleihs Park and crosses quiet neighborhood streets on its way into Johnston. The trail runs just behind one of the suburban city's main drags, providing easy access to a number of popular local shops and restaurants. Leaving the rail corridor, the trail makes a short jog to the east and north, following a pleasant tree-lined route behind an elementary school and finally coming to an end at Northwest 62nd Avenue. Just a block away via the sidewalk, the sidepath Northwest 62nd Avenue Trail provides a not-quite-scenic but very useful connection to more of the city's area trails and greenways.

Parking and Trail Access

There are no dedicated parking lots or restrooms for the trail. Trail users can find parking at the northern end of the trail in Johnston at the trail-adjacent Lawson Elementary School or at nearby businesses; be sure to follow any posted parking signs.

To reach the northern end of the trail from Interstate 35, take exit 131 and proceed north on Merle Hay Rd. towards Johnston. Take the road through town and turn right onto NW 62nd Avenue; the trail entrance will be on your right in half a block, just before the elementary school.


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