Tailwinds First on the High Trestle Trail

The Trail

The High Trestle Trail is 25 miles in length and travels through Woodward, Madrid, Slater, Sheldahl, and Ankeny.  It’s my favorite place to ride thanks to the smooth concrete trail with minimal grades.  Wide shoulders and benches along the trail give riders opportunities to take advantage of the beautiful scenery. Trailheads with water and restrooms are available in Woodward and Madrid.  Parks in Slater and Ankeny can be used as locations for starting a ride. West of Madrid riders pass under a wooden bridge and two tunnels.  One of the tunnels has some can’t-miss art work.

The highlight of this trail is the half mile bridge.  Crossing the Des Moines River it is a 13 story high work of art.  The design of the bridge pays tribute to the coal mining industry that once thrived in the area.  The spiraling steel frames represent the supports used in coal mines.  Giant towers with designs depicting veins of coal found in limestone greet those about to cross. Bridge overlook areas provide spots for taking in the view of the river valley or reading the education signs posted.  At night the bridge is illuminated with LED lights.

Trail Map

Trail Information


The Ride

Thankfully this ride didn't begin with me getting trapped inside the restroom.  Read about that embarrassing episode here.  I started my bike ride at the Woodward trailhead with plans to ride to Slater.  

A few days back I had read how the Hotel Patee would be relocating the Frontier Shack to Madrid.  Passing through town I found it's new home next to the Flat Tire Lounge. Once it is open for business, this stopping point along the trail is going to be even more popular.  I can't wait to take advantage of it. 

The Iowa winds were blowing...again...helping me reach top speeds on my way to Slater.  I was feeling "roadie fast" but dreading the return trip.  It was not going to be fun.  

Reaching Slater I spent some time riding around town.  First, I checked out the stretch of the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail on the north side of town.  It was in rough shape from folks having walked, biked, and even snowmobiled on it when wet.  

I had packed myself a pb&j to eat in Slater and stopped by Town & Country Market to grab something to drink.  I chose Jenna's Awesome Chocolate Milk from Picket Fence Creamery and then rode over to Earl Grimm Park.   I ate my sandwich and enjoyed the awesome chocolate milk while soaking up the sunshine.   

After delaying the inevitable as long as possible, it was time to face the headwinds and pedal back to Woodward.  The ride back wasn't as bad as anticipated but it certainly wasn't much fun.  Chugging along I realized headwinds and tailwinds have their dinner time analogies. Headwinds are the veggies and tailwinds are dessert.  Headwinds make you stronger and tailwinds are a special treat to be saved for last. Next time I'm "eating my veggies" first. 

Happy Riding!