Out in the rolling fields of the midwest, where towns are miles apart from each other, enjoying the outdoors becomes the primary form of entertainment. This has lead to the creation of multiple amazing trails. One of these trails is the High Trestle Trail in Iowa, spanning 25 miles and containing one of the worlds longest trail bridges. I found myself looking for a place to workout one morning outside of Des Moines, and this seemed like the perfect place to take a short hike to.
Originally part of a railroad line owned by the Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul Railway and later the Union Pacific Railroad, the seeds of the High Trestle Trail dates back to the 80’s when the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation decided to start converting old abandoned lines into usable trails for the public. When UPR decided to close down this line in 2003, it became a natural addition to the states other “Rail Trail’s”.
After securing funding and permits, one thing still stood in the way. UPR was going to use the iron beams from the existing bridge over the Des Moines River. This left a gap in the trail than needed to be fixed. Wanting the project to be handled by local artists, RDG Dahlquist Art Studios designed the bridge and worked with Shuck-Britson, who engineered it.
The trail is located about 14 miles outside of Des Moines and driving there was an absolute joy. The river valley is covered with forests, dotting the horizon as far as the eye can see. Once you park in a field that can be easily missed, you will be connected to the trail by going through a small path of trees. After about a half mile walk, the trees open up into lush fields with the Des Moines River cutting through the scenery. The bridge is quite a sight in itself. The artists have chosen an amazing angular pattern that shifts as it goes further over the bridge leading almost to a sense of vertigo.
I arrived shortly after the sun rose, so I wasn’t able to see this, but I am told that the bridge is also artistically lit at night and quite a sight to see. Next time I tell myself, as I drive off into the distance with Colorado on my mind.
Closest Supercharger: Altoona IA 16.3 mi
1430 1st Ave N, Altoona, IA 50009
High Trestle Trail Bridge