Morning Ride to Martensdale On the Great Western Trail

Trail Map

Trail Information


  • The Great Western Trail is a portion of the former Chicago Great Western railroad and is part of TrailLink by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

  • A trail head is located north of the highway just inside the Cumming city limits.

  • The asphalt trail has slight grades and moderate tree canopy.  

  • There are significant bumps and dips along the route.   Sections of the trail have been patched and portions have been replaced with concrete.  There are several gravel road crossings.  Some are flanked by short but steep grades. .

  • The Cumming Tap has a porta potty if you need a pit stop before heading out on the trail.  

  • There are two shaded  rest areas along the trail.  One has a water fountain for filling up your bottle.

  • The Martensdale trail head is really nice.  It’s incorporated into a city park.  There are two picnic shelters one with restrooms.  


  • This is a beautiful trail that’s perfect for windy or hot summer days .

  • Along with avoiding the bumpy portions of the trail keep, an eye out for darting chipmunks, fallen branches, and walnuts.  

  • Use caution and slow down when crossing gravel intersections.


  • My break was at the Martensdale trail head. I ate a snack and used the restroom.  I had wore one too many layers today and took off an additional one and stuffed it into my bike bag.   


  • There are some pretty views of rolling Iowa country side.  I even saw some cows.  Moo!

  • Not too far outside of Cumming there is a marker commemorating the environmental contributions of Charles Spain.  After doing some research when I returned home, I learned he was a Warren County native.  He had degrees from both Iowa State University and Drake University.  He was a teacher for 36 years and also served on the Warren County Conservation board for 20 years.  

  • A wooden bridge crosses the North River.  In the middle you can pull over and take in the view.  

  • Keep an eye open for the patriotic barn just outside of Martensdale.


  • Unfortunately I didn’t plan well left home without packing a snack. Thankfully about 5 blocks East of the trail head I found a Jiffy Xpress and grabbed a chocolate milk. Can’t have a ride without a treat!

  • I noticed The Roadside Inn is just across the street from the Jiffy Xpress.  I’ve heard it’s a good place to grab a beer and some grub. It made me think of one of my favorite movies, Road House.  Maybe next time I’m in Martensdale I’ll venture over to see if Dalton and Wade work there.

Happy Riding!