Rolling Prairie Trail


3 Reviews

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Rolling Prairie Trail Facts

States: Iowa
Counties: Butler, Franklin
Length: 15 miles
Trail end points: Co. Highway S25 (Coulter) and eastern city limits of Hampton; western city limits of Allison to W. Jefferson Street (Clarksville)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015591

Rolling Prairie Trail Description

When complete, the Rolling Prairie Tri-County Trail System will connect several communities and two state parks as it travels through quintessential northeastern Iowa prairie. Following an 80-mile east-west route, it will traverse the counties of Franklin, Butler, Bremer, and Fayette.

The railroad on which the trail is built was originally begun in 1871 by the Iowa-Pacific Railroad Company. Over the years, the line changed hands and was last owned by Union Pacific Railroad.

In Franklin County, a 9-mile section runs between Coulter, the trail's western terminus, and Hampton. It ends only a block north of Hampton's Progress Park, which provides numerous recreational amenities, such as an aquatic center, skate park, playground, and tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts.

In Butler County, a paved 6-mile segment extends from Allison to Clarksville, where the trail provides access to the Heery Woods State Park, which offers fishing, boating, camping, and picnicking, as well as a nature center. In Clarksville, you can seamlessly continue your journey on the 5.5-mile Shell Rock River Trail, also known as the Butler County Nature Trail. The trail heads east and then south to reach the city of Shell Rock.

East of Shell Rock, another section picks up in Waverly. The 7-mile Waverly Rail Trail links directly to the 6-mile Readlyn Grump Trail, for a continuous 13-mile ride. Along the way, you can also take a short 2-mile spur on the Denver-Jefferson Trail to visit the city of Denver, affectionately called the Mile Wide City.

In the future, the trail will continue further east to end in Oelwein.

Parking and Trail Access

In Clarksville access the Rolling Prairie Trail at Heery Woods State Park (N. side: 19195 Highway 188; S. side: 27887 195th Street). You can also access the trail at the intersection of West Jefferson and South Ely streets or from Volunteer City Park.

In Allison, access the trail from Wilder Park on Highway 3 (southwest of town). The trail entrance is at the back (northeast) section of the park.

In Hampton, parking is available in Progress Park (600 1st Street NW).

Rolling Prairie Trail Reviews

Bristow to shell rock

The trail is complete from clarskville to Bristow. A nice hard surfaced trail ( blacktop and concrete). 22.5 miles from Bristow to shell rock ( there is a portion of it just west of Clarksville that is on the highway for about a mile but there is a bike lane). The trail segment around the Hampton area is crushed limestone and is not very nice.

Allison to Clarksville

Beautiful trail, some asphalt dips but asphalt is difficult to maintain everywhere. Great signage. Nice range of canopy/ open areas and weed management

Rolling Prairie Trail

A hard surface trail. We rode it in fall and saw lots of wildlife and beautiful leaves. The trail is washed out at the Shell Rock trail head and again just outside Clarksville, but both spots are navigable by walking the bikes. We especially enjoyed the Allison Restaurant where we had coffee and pie before starting the return trip. The waitress there was especially nice! All in all a very pleasant afternoon trip!

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