High Trestle Trail

The 25-mile High Trestle Trail that runs between Woodward and Ankeny in central Iowa is a great bike and walking trail — but the bridge that gives the trail its name is the real hidden treasure.

The half-mile-long bridge between Madrid and Woodward was converted from a train trestle that overlooks the Des Moines River from 13 stories high. It’s an incredible view, and the bridge itself is spectacular thanks to artwork by David Dahlquist Studios. Dahlquist and his team created a design comprised of 41 steel “frames” that create a tunnel effect as you look across the bridge. The center frames contain blue LED lights that make a night viewing a one-of-a-kind experience.

Six overlooks on the bridge feature interpretive panels that highlight the region’s cultural and natural history.

I arrived at the trail one night last week just as the sun was low in the sky. It was one of those humid, late-summer nights where the eastern sky just goes gray and murky. But the sunset was gorgeous in the west, and dozens of bikers were on the trail along with a few in-line skaters and a group of women just sitting in bag chairs watching the sun go down. When those blue lights came on and illuminated the bridge, it was just magical.

Here are two more views as the sun went down. If you look close at the last one, you can seen the moon.


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