Hiking Nature Trail at Giant City State Park Illinois

Hiking the Nature Trail at Giant City State Park, Illinois.

Iowa’s Art Bridge on the High Trestle Trail


Iowa Miners And The High Trestle Trail?

It’s no surprise that Iowa has farmers’ daughters.  But coal miners’ daughters?  You thought they were in Kentucky, right?  Well, yes.  But also in Iowa.  Surprised?  I was.   I’ve lived on the west coast of Iowa my entire life and I had no idea central Iowa once had a robust coal mining industry.

The industrious immigrants to this area were farmers in the summer and coal miners in the winter.  Not only did they provide heat for their families, but fuel to the trains that were  beginning to criss-cross the amber fields of grain.

Jump ahead a few decades and the once busy train tracks have been replaced with another type of traffic – the two-legged and two-wheeled type — pedestrian and pedal.  Considered a rail trail because it is built on land previously used by the railroad, the 25 mile long High Trestle Trail is a paved connector from Ankeny to Woodward, Iowa.  The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation helped purchase the land, which is in the four Iowa counties of Boone, Dallas, Polk, and Story, from the Union Pacific Railroad.

High Trestle Trail — An Iowa Trail — Night and Day

The High Trestle Trail Bridge is one that should be experienced both in the daylight and at night.  During the day, the paved trail is a pleasant, tree-lined walk.  Sharing the trail with bicycles requires a little communication, but everyone we encountered was friendly and having fun.  The trail is unlit so bring a flashlight with you after dark – not only to see with, but so you can be seen by the other walkers and cyclists.

The gem of the trail, located between Woodward and Madrid, Iowa, is the 13-story high, half-mile long “art bridge.”  The High Trestle Trail bridge is built on the original railroad trestle piers and crosses the Des Moines River.  Imagined and designed by renowned Des Moines, Iowa, artist David B. Dahlquist and RDG Dahlquist Art Studio,  the goal of creating a “destination for experiencing the art, the view, and the natural environment”1 has been accomplished ten-fold.

High Trestle Trail Bridge — An Iowa Gem

Huge monoliths arise at either end of the High Trestle Trail Bridge, each with “veins” of dark, formed ceramic tiles representing the coal found in the area.   These are the start of the art!  Strategically located across the half-mile bridge, square steel frames are angled over the bridge itself.  As you stand on the bridge and look forward, it appears as though the frames are connected to one another.  The illusion is intended to represent descending into a mine shaft.  And it works!

An amazing work of art seen during the day, experiencing it at night – with the steel sections over the Des Moines River lit up in blue LED lights – is breathtaking.  If you really want to experience art and be a part of it, travel to the High Trestle Trail Bridge after dark.  If you don’t really care about art, but you want to experience something really cool, then travel to the High Trestle Trail Bridge after dark.  Discover the scenic side of life.  It is definitely worth the trip!  Ydstoti!

1RDG Planning and Design:  Website http://rdgusa.com/high_trestle_trail/latest_news/des.html

High Trestle Trail Bridge

High Trestle Trail Art Bridge Woodward to Madrid Iowa

The High Trestle Trail Art Bridge

This trail and bridge over the Des Moines River between Woodward and Madrid, Iowa, is no boring hike — day or night!

Be sure to bring a flashlight if you walk it at night; the bicyclists sharing the paved walkway will appreciate it! Built on a former railroad line, the High Trestle Trail and bridge stay true to this central Iowa region’s heritage of rail and mining.

Yes, there is mining in Iowa!

The square steel frames over the bridge are arranged just so to give the illusion of a mine shaft. Lit up in blue lights at night, walking under the framework makes you feel a part of the art.  It’s an entirely different kind of blue-light-special.

This trail is definitely worth the trip!

Be sure you catch the end of the video — is that a train we hear, coming down the tracks?

The Mill At Spring Mill State Park In Indiana

Hiking to the Grist Mill at Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, Indiana. The water that runs the mill comes from an under ground cave, named Hahmer Cave.

Hiking To St Louis Canyon Starved Rock State Park

Hiking to St Louis Canyon at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois March 14 2012.

Hiking At Mammoth Cave National Park In Kentucky

Hiking at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.

There are over 80 miles of hiking trails to explore at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Hiking To First Brides Grave In South Ravine Park


We went hiking to First Brides Grave on the trails in South Ravine Park . The park is in the Loess Hills of Sioux City, Iowa. A great place to go geocaching.

Find out more about Ydstoti Hiking and Loess Hills national treasure.

Hiking At Stone State Park In Iowa


Hiking at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa fall of 2011. Picnic areas are located throughout the park and many offer beautiful views of the Loess Hills and surrounding area.

Loess Hills State Forest


Hiking in the Loess Hills State Forest in Iowa.


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Geocaching Second Cache Found

Our second cache found out geocaching at Bacon Creek Park in Sioux City, Iowa. We used a Motorola Droid smartphone to locate the cache.