Completed in 2005, the Linn Creek Recreational Trail is 8 miles of asphalt trail running northeast/southwest through Marshalltown. The majority of the trail travels on the levee built between the Union Pacific railway and Linn Creek. Trail spurs provide access to local neighborhoods. Recreational opportunities can be found along the trail as it winds through conservation areas, city parks, and sport complexes. Southeast of town the trail links to the Iowa Highway 330 Trail running south to Melbourne with a connection to the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail.
After visiting Grimes Farm and Conservation Area my brother and I had plans to go for a short bike ride and grab some lunch. Starting our ride at the conservation area we rode past restored prairie and through timber. With the Union Pacific rail line just feet from the trail, we pedaled alongside trains traveling into town.
The wooded portion of trail between Grimes Farm and the Little League fields was the prettiest. Past South Center Street the scenery became more industrial with the Union Pacific rail yard to the north.
This is definitely a bike trail for folks who love trains. At least 6 trains passed by during our ride. Seeing a train turntable in the rail yard and locomotives crossing bridges overhead are not your typical views from the bike trail.
The tunnel going under the 3rd/6th Street bridge was a fun treat to come upon. Scenes from the Marshalltown community were painted on the walls by young artists. The colorful mural was the perfect photo-op.
Lennox, a famous Iowa manufacture of heating and cooling systems, is just across from the trail on the east side of Linn Creek. A bridge dedicated to a local cyclist and former Lennox employee connects the trail to Lennox Centennial Park. After checking out the unique garden art we decided to make our way back to Grimes Farm and then get some lunch. Our hiking and biking had left us starving! We would save the remainder of the trail for another day.
Downtown, Oktemberfest was underway. Vendors had set up tents around the courthouse grounds and were selling food and crafts. The Ocktemberfest Criterium Race was also taking place. After watching the race we headed to Sub City for lunch. If you’re hungry in Marshalltown, this is the place to go! Check out Iowa BackRoads for a write-up of their visit.
- Google Maps incorrectly depicts the trail through the Little League complex. The trail travels south of the fields, rather than north.