High Trestle Trail

Foggy morning in the Des Moines River valley
Foggy morning in the Des Moines River valley
Snowy day on the bridge
Great trail for bike riding

Nearly 10 miles of the popular multi-use trail is managed by Boone County. People enjoy cycling, walking and horseback riding on the trail. Within those 10 miles is the world famous High Trestle Trail Bridge. If you come out to see the bridge at night, make sure you bring a light with you for safety. There are no fees required to hike or ride on this beautiful trail.

The High Trestle Trail is connected to hundreds of miles of trails throughout central Iowa. Click here for more information on other central Iowa trails.

(Photos by: Dave Johnson)

 **The Boone County Trails Advisory Committee has been authorized to experiment with a “shared-road” concept for pedestrian and motorized traffic later this summer on QF Lane called Advisory Bike Lanes (ABL).  Follow the link below and take this short survey to help us determine the safest way to implement an ABL concept



The closest parking lot to the High Trestle Trail Bridge is located at 2335 QF Lane, Madrid, IA 50156. The bridge is approximately 3/4 mile from the parking lot. 

Other trailhead locations are:

  • In Madrid at the Johnson Family Trailhead along Highway 17.
  • In Woodward at the Trailhead Depot along Main Street.
  • In Slater at Grimm Park at 4th and Greene Streets
  • In Ankeny at Hawkeye Park at 804 W 1st St.

See this Google Map for parking locations.


High Trestle Trail Bridge

  • The 13-story and 1/2 mile long bridge spans the Des Moines River, which is located between Madrid and Woodward. 
  • There are six overlooks on the bridge with interpretive signage that explain the history of the bridge, trail and the surrounding area.
  • 41 steel “frames” over the bridge represent support cribs within a historic coal mine. 23 of these cribs have blue lights on them for which the bridge is widely recognized by. 
  • At each end of the bridge are two 36 feet tall monoliths designed to represent coal veins found in the area limestone deposits. For more info on this unique architecture, go to the designer's website.
  • An overlook for the bridge and Des Moines River valley with permanent binoculars for your viewing pleasure.
  • Shelters on both sides of the bridge.
  • Surveillance cameras are located at the bridge for your safety.
  • Check out current weather conditions at the bridge.
  • Please use #HighTrestleTrailBridge when posting pictures on social media.

High Trestle Trail

  • 25 miles long
  • Passes through the towns of: Ankeny, Sheldahl, Slater, Madrid and Woodward.
  • Paved surface trail with a natural surface adjacent to the pavement for equestrian riders.
  • This trail was made possible by a collaborative effort by many different agencies and citizens.
  • No alcohol or motorized vehicles are allowed are on the trail or bridge. Please view the High Trestle Trail Regulations for further information.
  • Trail maintenance is expensive. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help with the upkeep of this wonderful trail and bridge. Please go here for more information.

Operating Hours & Seasons

The blue bridge lights are on from sunset to midnight.(12:00 am) during the months of approximately April 1 - October 31.

During the winter months of approximately November 1 - March 31, the lights are on from sunset to 9:00 p.m.


The trail and bridge are open year round.