Day Trip - Pella and the Volksweg Trail

The Trail

Dutch for “people's path”, the Volksweg Trail travels 13 miles from Pella to the Lake Red Rock area.  The Pella trailhead is located at W 5th Street/University. Parking and facilities are located within the state park at campgrounds and recreational areas.

From the trail riders can get wonderful views of Iowa’s largest body of water.  Each curve in the trail provides interesting landscapes ranging from prairie, wooded areas, small marshes and even a nature-inspired play/rest area.  Listed as "difficult" on Iowa by Trail app the trail has some steep grades and puts gears and legs to work.  

Note:  Portions of the trail are closed due to the hydroelectric project at the dam.  The northern segment can be accessed inside the North Overlook Campground via the spillway bridge or Idaho Drive. 

Construction Project Map

Red Rock Hydroelectric Project

Trail Map

Trail Information


The Ride

A mid-week work break prompted my husband and I to take a trip to Pella.  Only an hour from the metro this town is known for Tulip Time and is home to Central College.  What prompted our visit?  Dutch pasteries, fastastic coffee, and most importantly, the Volkweg Trail.

Arriving in Pella we began our morning with a visit to the town square.  First stop was grabbing piping hot java from Smokey Row Coffee and "only in Pella" goodies from Vander Ploeg Bakery.    We headed across the street to Public Square Park and found a shady picnic table.  There we enjoyed our breakfast under the watchful eye of a gigantic caterpillar and a memorialized Civil War solider. 

Next it was a stop at Iowa Bike and Fitness for first-hand information on the trail.  Francisco let us know it was dry despite frequent rain and showed us routes for accessing the northern portion of the trail.  

We chose to skip riding the segment from Pella and used the North Overlook campground area as our trailhead.  The northern segment of the Volksweg Trail is my favorite and was just as beautiful as before.  Butterflies were lilting between blossoms, deer were grazing, and sailboats floating on the water.  We leisurely rode through the cool shady wooded areas and ventured off the trail to ride through campground areas.  

Our small excursion away from the daily routine left us recharged.  Which was it?  The Dutch pastries, coffee, biking or the outdoors?  All of the above!

Happy Riding!



A Family Ride on the Volksweg

The Trail

Dutch for “people's path”, the Volksweg Trail travels 13 miles from Pella to the Lake Red Rock area.  The Pella trailhead is located at W 5th Street/University. Parking and facilities are located within the state park at campgrounds and recreational areas.

From the trail riders can get wonderful views of Iowa’s largest body of water.  Sections of trail are lined with pine trees and for a minute you feel like you’re in Colorado!  Each curve in the trail provides interesting landscapes ranging from prairie, wooded areas, small marshes and even a nature-inspired play/rest area. 

Trail Map

Trail Information


The Ride

I had been wanting to ride this Featured Trail for some time and had put it on my list of “trails to try in 2014”.  With Tulip Time taking place in Pella it was the perfect weekend to plan an outing and family bike ride.

The day started in Pella seeing the sites, the tulips, and visiting Vander Ploeg Bakery for some Dutch pastries. Then it was off to Lake Red Rock and the bike trail.

Driving over the dam we noticed pelicans flying.  As we got closer to the spillway area we saw more and more.  After parking below the spillway we spent some time watching the birds fish.  There were some men fishing too, but the pelicans looked to be having better luck.

With plans to ride the northern portions of the trail, our little peloton headed off and quickly discovered it is rated as ‘difficult’ for a reason!  There were many short steep hills to pedal up but the coasting down the other side was well worth the effort.

 We opted to use the Wallashuck Campground area as our turn around spot.  The trip back had lots of opportunities to coast while enjoying the pretty scenery.  We all agreed to return to Lake Red Rock this year and add some time to fish to the itinerary.  

The siren song of craft beer was calling as we packed up our gear and stowed the bikes.  Knoxville Iowa, home of Peace Tree Brewing Co. is only 10 minutes from the lake area and has award winning craft beer.  At the brewery we talked about our day while savoring delicious beer (and root beer).  It was a great way to wrap up our adventures.

Considerations

  • This is a perfect trail for cyclists wanting to get some hill work in and a fantastic trail for nature lovers who ride bikes.

  • Don’t feel bad if you decided to walk your bike up a hill. It’s a great way to save some energy for the ride back and to take in the beautiful surroundings.  Walking the hills might be a necessary choice for those with young riders in tow.

  • Coordinate a trip to this trail with a visit to Pella.  Even if the tulips are not in bloom there is lots of heritage, beauty, and great food to enjoy.

Happy Riding!