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Sheldon, Iowa bills itself as a city "where family comes first". It makes sense, then why the city would invest in the Sheldon Recreational Trail, which crosses the city from Country Club Road in the east to the Northwest Iowa Community College in the west. The trail hosts a range of uses including walking, biking and rollerblading. It's separated from vehicular traffic, making it safe and pleasant for even the youngest users. It's also flat and easy, accommodating users of all ages and abilities. However, there is an exception to nonmotorized uses rule: seniors and persons with disabilities can get a permit to use a golf cart on the bike-ped pathway. Benches and trash receptacles are helpfully provided at intervals.
From east to west, some of the destinations residents can access via the trail include: Sheldon Middle School, Sheldon High School; Sunrise Park; Hills Park, where a brick arch marks the trailhead; and the Community College. The trail also takes users into nature, with restored native prairie near the college and a picturesque corridor of trees near Sunrise Park. It's also a good place to go birding or watching for small wildlife.
Park at Hills Park (220 Marietta Rd, Sheldon). You can also find restrooms, picnic tables, benches and trash receptacles at this location (along with the iconic red brick arch at the trailhead).
My husband and I (and our brother-in-law, a Sheldon resident) rode some of the trail this morning, starting out near the schools and then crossing over Rt18 to ride through some scenic areas — a park, some neighborhoods, lots of trees and even past a cow farm, with an up close view! The trail goes under Highway 18 at the Floyd river, and continues to the community college. We turned around at the fork that would have taken us to the college, and headed back the same way we came. The current trail connects the college, the schools, and parks. Future goals for the trail are to complete it on the south side of the highway, so that it forms a loop all the way around the city. The newest phase loops around the pond right behind Crossroads Pavilion Event Center, near the intersection of H18 & H60 on the east end of town. (This doesn’t show up on the trail map yet.) All of the trail is paved. There are a few areas where you ride on a couple of neighborhood streets until you pick up the trail again. The trail developers have added some really nice touches — benches, a gazebo, an arched entryway at Hills Park created from bricks that were salvaged from Sheldon Middle School. They’ve done a great job, it was an enjoyable ride.
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