Pioneer Trail


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Pioneer Trail Facts

States: Iowa
Counties: Grundy
Length: 11.5 miles
Trail end points: S. Main St. and Market St. (Holland) and N. Commercial St. near Grundy Ave./SR 175 (Reinbeck)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015648
Trail activities: Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Pioneer Trail Description

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 in between. The flat trail parallels Black Hawk Creek for most of its route as it showcases Iowa’s natural conservation areas and farmland. It also features several commemorative plaques with tributes to trail supporters.

The complete trail, mostly tree-lined and shaded, consists of three sections separated by two gaps (around a mile each) on shared roadways. Horseback riding on the trail is allowed on the mowed grass parallel to the crushed-stone pathway.

From the northernmost endpoint in Holland, the trail begins at South Main Street, where there is a small parking area, and continues through a tree-lined area bordered by farmland. After the first 2.4 miles, the trail shares the roadway with A Avenue for about a half mile. The trail continues off-road on the east side of Fourth Street for another 0.8 mile and then reaches its first gap at 235th Street. You can continue on a shared roadway by turning right onto 235th Street and then left onto Diagonal Road.

The trail picks up again about a mile down the road at the entrance to the Wolfe Family Preserve (in the preserve’s eastern end), where there is a small parking area.

The trail then enters a forested landscape before traveling back out into relatively open farmland as it parallels Diagonal Road. This section has three stops with picnic areas and restroom access: the C.E. Shearn Memorial Park (south side of Diagonal Road, approximately 1.8 miles in), the Grundy County Museum (south side of Diagonal Road at Second Street and Sycamore Street, approximately 4 miles in), and Gutknecht Roadside Park at U Avenue (approximately 5.5 miles in).

To reach the final section to Reinbeck, turn right onto U Avenue, and turn left onto Diagonal Road. The trail picks up just over a mile down the road on the east side of V Avenue and ends a quarter mile later at the Reinbeck Shooting Range, where limited parking is available.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the northwestern trailhead in Holland from Des Moines, take I-235 eastbound to Exit 137A to I-80 toward Davenport. In 4 miles, take Exit 142 to US 6/US 65 toward Altoona. Turn left onto NE Hubbell Ave., and continue for approximately 36 miles. Turn left onto Marsh Ave. to continue on SR 330 northbound for 13 miles. Turn left onto State Route 14 northbound just after passing the Marshalltown Municipal Airport on your right. In about 16 miles, turn right to continue on SR 14/SR 175. In just over 6 miles, you’ll reach the outskirts of Grundy Center. Turn left onto M Ave.; the Rose Hill Cemetery will be on your left. In 2.5 miles, turn left onto 210th St. Continue for just under 0.75 mile. Take a sharp left onto Market St. and then immediately turn right onto S. Main St. Turn left into the trailhead parking lot.

To reach the eastern trailhead in Reinbeck from Des Moines, take I-235 eastbound to Exit 137A to I-80 toward Davenport. In 4 miles, take Exit 142 to US 6/US 65 toward Altoona. Turn left onto NE Hubbell Ave., and continue for approximately 36 miles. Turn left onto Marsh Ave. to continue on IA 330 northbound for 13 miles. Turn left onto SR 14 northbound just after passing the Marshalltown Municipal Airport on your right. In 4 miles, turn right onto IA 96 eastbound, and go 14 miles. Turn left onto H Ave., and go 8.5 miles. Turn right onto SR 175 (Diagonal Road); after about 1.5 miles, turn left onto N. Commercial St. The roadway to the Reinbeck Shooting Range will be on your left across from a cluster of grain silos. The roadway leads to a small parking area at the end of the road.

Pioneer Trail Reviews

The Pioneer Trail provides a nice way to enjoy the countryside across the central part of Grundy County. With the exception of a couple of gaps in the trail in and around Grundy Center, cycling the trail is a very enjoyable experience.

An effort is currently underway in Grundy Center to close some of the gaps in the Pioneer Trail between Grundy Center and Reinbeck. Currently, a gap in the trail exists within the city limits of Grundy Center, as well as from the east edge of Grundy Center for approximately a mile east where the trail resumes again. Community groups are currently working with the city and other groups to raise funding to construct a trail that will link these sections with an effort to make the Pioneer Trail contiguous through this area. More information to come!

The Pioneer Trail is a roughly 12 mile crushed limestone trail that extends from Holland on the west, through Grundy Center, Morrison and eventually ending at Reinbeck at the eastern terminus. It follows the old Rock Island railroad line that once traversed across Grundy County from near Reinbeck to Wellsburg and beyond through the northwest corner of Grundy County. The trail was developed in 1986 and is managed by the Grundy County Conservation Board. Currently there are two gaps in the just east of Grundy Center, and another just west of Reinbeck. Efforts are currently underway to close the gaps so that one does not need to detour around these areas. It is a nice, flat trail perfect for cycling, running, walking or other activities. It adjoins several parcels of land that make up the Grundy County Greenbelt between Grundy Center and Morrison, including the Blackhawk Creek Wildlife Area just north of the trail near Morrison.

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