Great Western Trail

Historic Visits at Great Western Trail

Your trip along the Great Western Trail is a journey into history. It will take you through the site of Lida, past the munitions train derailment and fire near North River and across the Churchville Prairie. In 1914 no point in Iowa was more than 12 miles from a railroad. They served many small-town elevators and coal yards. The track was opened in 1899 by the Chicago, St. Paul and Kansas City Railroad. The Chicago & Northwestern was the last train company to use the rail line which originally ran from Des Moines to St. Joseph, Missouri. A few concrete mile markers giving the distance between the marker location and Kansas City can still be found standing as sentinels from the past. The trail is full of adventure for the nature enthusiast, the history buff, and for those who simply wish to leave the noise and congestion of the city. Put on your hiking boots or hop on your bike and enjoy the trail.