Put Biking the High Trestle Trail on the Summer Bucket List

The High Trestle Trail bridge stands 13 stories above the Des Moines River. Blue lights brighten up the trail at night for a memorable ride. Photo: Courtesy of the Iowa Tourism Office.

The popular High Trestle Trail starting in Ankeny delivers fun stops for food and drink all along the 50-mile round-trip route. It’s a complete day of exercise with some leisure breaks. Plus, it features one of the most iconic manmade attractions in the state.

The trail starts in Uptown Ankeny and heads northwest. Plan on riding on a Saturday morning—there’s a farmers market and free yoga in the park. Bike rentals are available in the area, too.

There are five towns along the route, many with dining and drinking options. The Nite Hawk Bar & Grill in Slater is a favorite stop for cold brews and food such as house-made tots, Broasted chicken and pizza.

About another hour is Madrid, where there’s coffee, ice cream or more adult drinks. A pinnacle of the trip is the 13-story High Trestle Trail Bridge less than 3 miles west of Madrid—and photos are a must. A few more miles gets you to Woodward.

The way back offers the same potential stops plus Uptown’s outdoor dining, including Uptown Garage Brewing Co., an open-air eatery that serves Iowa-made beers. Firetrucker Brewery and the Trailside Tap are other options for enjoying a cold one aprés-cycle.

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