Iowa Bikes

TRAILS OF STATEWIDE SIGNIFICANCE


American Discovery Trail

AMERICAN DISCOVERY TRAIL iconIn 1989 the American Hiking Society envisioned a coast-to-coast multiuse trail that would link cities, towns, wilderness areas, forests, and deserts. The American Discovery Trail (ADT) extends from Delaware to California and crosses 15 states. It is designated as a national trail.

Learn about the Iowa portion of the American Discovery Trail.

In Iowa, the ADT will traverse 500 miles along shared-use paths and roadways. The ADT will follow a number of shared-use paths including:

  • Wabash Trace Nature Trail
  • T-Bone Trail
  • Raccoon River Valley Trail
  • Clive Greenbelt Trail
  • John Pat Dorrian Trail
  • Neal Smith Trail
  • Heart of Iowa Nature Trail
  • Comet Trail
  • Pioneer Trail
  • Cedar Prairie Trail
  • Cedar Valley Lakes Trail
  • Cedar Valley Nature Trail
  • Hoover Nature Trail
  • North Liberty Trail
  • Clear Creek Trail
  • Iowa River Corridor Trail
  • Riverfront Trail

Central Iowa Loop Trail

Central Iowa Loop Trail map iconThe 100+-mile Central Iowa Loop Trail will connect five existing shared-use paths - Heart of Iowa Nature Trail, Neal Smith Trail, Gay Lea Wilson Trail, Chichaqua Valley Trail, and the Iowa 330 Trail resulting in a continuous loop. This trail project is located in the counties of Polk, Jasper, Marshall, Story, and Boone. There are 40 miles of existing paths and 70 miles to be completed. The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail portion of the Central Iowa Loop will also serve as part of the American Discovery Trail.

Iowa Great Lakes Trail

Iowa Great Lakes Trail map iconThe 135-mile Iowa Great Lakes Connection will link several lakes in the northwest part of the state:

Several existing shared-use paths will also be connected - Iowa Great Lakes Trail, Spencer Recreation Trail, Storm Lake Lake Trail and Sauk Rail Trail.

  • Iowa Great Lakes, Dickinson County:
    • Spirit Lake
    • East Okoboji Lake
    • Center Lake
    • West Okoboji Lake
  • Storm Lake, Buena Vista County
  • Black Hawk Lake, in Sac County
  • Swan Lake, in Carroll County

Lewis and Clark Multiuse Trail

Lewis and Clark Multiuse Trail map icon The Iowa Department of Transportation is developing a master plan for a Lewis and Clark Multiuse Trail providing for a variety of people to follow in the footsteps of the Corps of Discovery north along the Missouri River from the Missouri state line to South Dakota. The Iowa DOT has selected a team of consultants for this project including RDG Planning and Design, Alta Planning + Design, The Schemmer Associates, Tallgrass Historians, and Ecocentrics.

The Lewis and Clark bicentennial celebrations demonstrated the magic that this great exploration continues to hold for Americans of all ages. The Iowa DOT and its partners envision a network that knits together roads, trails, waterways, parks, and greenways to create contemporary experiences for modern-day explorers and, in the process, helps people discover the towns, businesses, museums, open spaces, and assets of western Iowa and surrounding regions. The prospect of this multiuse trail and the benefit it can bring to the region is exciting.

Mississippi River Trail

Mississippi River Trail map icon The Mississippi River Trail (MRT) is a 10-state cycling route under development. When complete, the MRT will link more than 2,000 miles of recreational trails in 10 states, including 335 miles in Iowa. The entire trail extends from the headwaters of the Mississippi at Lake Itasca, Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, winding its way through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana. The MRT is one of 16 National Millennium Trails and is described as a world-class cycling route on America’s world-class river.


The Iowa portion of the MRT was evaluated in 2003 to determine the best location for the route in Iowa. During development of the MRT plan, it was determined that in order to more quickly and economically begin implementing the route in Iowa, the majority of the trail would utilize the existing highway system, where feasible. Of the 335 miles of MRT in Iowa, 75 miles are recommended along primary highways, 140 miles along county roads, and 80 miles within municipalities. In addition, 20 miles of shared-use paths will need to be constructed. Some portions of the trail in Muscatine and Scott Counties will also serve as the American Discovery Trail.