Three Rivers Trail


Three Rivers Trail Facts

States: Iowa
Counties: Humboldt, Pocahontas, Wright
Length: 39.9 miles
Trail end points: 300th Ave. and Railroad St. (Rolfe) and Calhoun Ave. (1.5 miles northwest of Eagle Grove)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015671
Trail activites: Bike, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Snowmobiling, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Three Rivers Trail Description

The Three Rivers Trail runs for 33 miles from the tiny community of Rolfe—named for the Englishman who married Pocahontas—to just west of Eagle Grove, the largest city in Wright County. The trail occupies an old Chicago and North Western Railway right-of-way preserved through railbanking in the early 1990s.

So-named because it crosses three rivers along its route (the Boone River and both the West and East Forks of the Des Moines River), the Three Rivers Trail passes through a landscape full of wildlife, including wooded river valley and marshland. The view from the eastern half of the trail changes significantly as it runs uninterrupted through open prairie and farmland. Along the way, trail users cross over 36 original railroad trestles, all of which have been outfitted for recreational use with safety guard rails and wooden decks.

Near the trail's midpoint in the small city of Humboldt, a 6 mile spur takes bikers and walkers north or south. The bonus trail mileage was built on an abandoned Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway line that was donated by local landowners. You can travel a short distance north before you will be forced to turn around, as the trail ends in open farmland. Continue south, and you will pass through the heart of Humboldt, a community known for its charming wide boulevards. The trail is planned to continue to Frank Gotch State Park but currently ends north of there in dense tree cover. Another section of the spur is open from Gotch Park Road and runs west until its endpoint south of 255th Street.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking for the Three Rivers Trail can be found in Rolfe in a dedicated lot at the intersection of Railroad Street and Grant Street. East of Rolfe, park at Pilot Creek County Park where the trail meets 330th Avenue or Pilot Creek Road. In Bradgate, access the Three Rivers Trail from the trailhead at the intersection of 170th Street and County Highway C26.

In Rutland, access the trail where it crosses 1st Street S. Park in Humboldt in a dedicated parking lot where the trail and its spur meet 220th Street. Southeast of Humboldt, there is a parking lot off Lone Tree Road. To access the trail from Eagle Grove, take 255th Street northwest to Calhoun Avenue.

Three Rivers Trail Reviews

I run this trail at least 4-5 times a week and I never get tired of it. My route usually consists of the miles between the trailhead in Rolfe and a few miles outside of Bradgate. It is a quite and easy run. There are cricks and rivers all along this route which provide many wildlife spotting.

I would highly recommend this trail to anyone!

I rode the last 5-6 miles at the west end of Three River Trail, up and back, from Bradgate to Rolfe (in my quest to bike in all 99 counties!). I found it peaceful/serene and beautiful. The crushed limestone rode very well and there several places for photo opps. Another plus is the R/R (restroom) availability in Melson Park half way between the two towns as well as the J&B Wilcox Shelter at the end of the trail in Rolfe. Bradgate has a very friendly park-art at a shelter where you can take a moment - and a photo! I definitely want to be returning to finish the trail someday!

We rode the trail from Humboldt to Rolfe. Most of our riding is on road bikes but for this day we took our 29ers. We were shocked how quiet this trail was for a nice Saturday. We only met 3 other bikes in 40 miles on the trail and only a handfull of runners/walkers. This trail is great and very well maintained with trailside rest stops in Rutland and Bradgate before arriving in Rolfe. We had lunch at the Community Pub before heading back to Humboldt. Very nice views along this trail! Look forward to going back and riding from Humboldt to Eagle Grove next time.


Looking for a new overnight adventure, we discovered the Three Rivers Trail. With no real reviews to read and only one picture, we were skeptical and not expecting much. Arriving in Rolfe shortly after lunch, we unloaded our bikes and began our trek eastward. The trail is very well maintained and consists of well-packed crushed limestone. We were pleasantly surprised to see the trail lined with bushes, trees and native grasses & wild flowers; as well as beautiful views of the rivers, birds, deer and other wildlife. There are also a number of rest areas & facilities provided along the way. If you are looking for a quiet, peaceful cycling day, you will enjoy this trail.

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