Writing new chapters for Central Iowa trails


The world famous High Trestle Trail provides bikers and hikers breathtaking views of the Des Moines River Valley.

Nearly 40 years ago the Central Iowa trail network got its start with the establishment of the Bill Riley Trail. This short trail links Waterworks Park with Greenwood Park and the neighborhoods near the Des Moines Art Center and the former Science Center of Iowa location. It was a modest beginning named after the famous Iowa State Fair talent scout and television personality who loved trails.

Today the network of trails in central Iowa has grown to include local neighborhood trails
as well as long distance regional trails stretching in all directions. The current plan envisions the regional spine extending 70 miles west to Whiterock Conservancy, 45 miles southeast to Lake Red Rock, 80 miles northeast to Pine Lake State Park, 25 miles south to Lake Ahquabi, as well as existing connections to Jefferson, Martensdale and Ames. Continue reading

INHF at the Iowa Bike Expo

LOGOtransparentShift gears this Saturday and start thinking about spring. Join INHF at one of the Midwest’s largest bike shows, the Iowa Bike Expo!

Exhibitors from all over the country will be on hand to answer questions about equipment, destinations and gear. And educational seminars will provide insight on all things cycling.

Be sure to stop by the INHF booth — we’ll be talking about trails, exhibiting the Iowa by Trail app and selling merchandise. You can even enter to win a High Trestle Trail bike jersey!

The expo will be held on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center. Admission is free. For more information, visit iowabikeexpo.com.

9 great conservation projects happening right now

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From trail connections to wetland restoration to important wildlife habitat, INHF
is working on some great projects. With your help, we can protect, restore and connect these places that are so important to Iowa’s natural beauty.

Burr Wildlife Area Addition — This addition of 411 acres to the Burr Wildlife area has many people encouraged. Besides the beauty of the rolling hills, prairie and oak trees, this addition means 600 acres of public land along this corridor will be protected, allowing for increased habitat and water protection.
Support this project


BruceMorrison-Oxbow-OtterCreekOtter Creek Wildlife Area Addition — 67-acre property is adjacent to the 275 protected acres of the Otter Creek Wildlife Area in Sioux County Conservation Board ownership and will expand the size of the habitat available to area wildlife. The land will feature restored prairie and wetland areas, prime for wildlife viewing and hunting. Reestablishing native grasses will provide nesting and winter cover for birds.
Support this project Continue reading

REI & INHF spark partnership


This November, REI — a national outdoor gear store — will open its first store in Iowa. REI stores have a long history of supporting local communities and nonprofits that encourage outdoor exploration and facilitate stewardship of natural resources. INHF is happy to be chosen as one of the organizations partnering with the new West Des Moines REI during their grand opening.

In its partnership with INHF, REI has awarded a $5,000 seeding grant to INHF for the proposed connector trail that will eventually link the Raccoon River Valley Trail and High Trestle Trail, two of Central Iowa’s most popular multi-use trails. REI said they wished to support and facilitate trails work in Iowa through INHF’s work. INHF has helped create over 60 percent of Iowa’s rail trails.

INHF will also have a presence at the official grand opening of the West Des Moines store (details below), showcasing recreational opportunities throughout the state.

Join us at the grand opening to learn more about what INHF and REI are doing together:

REI West Des Moines Grand Opening
Nov. 6-8 (9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fri/Sat, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sun)
5901 Mills Civic Parkway
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Hawk Watch on the High Trestle Trail

Join us at the High Trestle Hawk Watch! Professionals and novice alike are invited to attend this family-friendly event. Naturalists form Dallas and Boone counties, the Iowa DNR, Iowa Audubon and the Iowa Wildlife Center will be on hand to answer questions and identify species. In past years, attendees have seen up to 171 raptors and 45 other bird species!

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When: Oct. 10, 2015 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: High Trestle Bridge’s main viewing platform on the west side of the bridge and the new shelter on the East side of the bridge.

Binoculars and viewing scopes will be provided, but we encourage you to bring your own binoculars, refreshments, and lawn chairs. The event will occur rain or shine.

For more information, contact Marlene Ehresman of the Iowa Wildlife Center at mehresman@iowawildlifecenter.org or 515-291-3000.


Let’s Connect

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Connect the trails that is. The “Let’s Connect” project is working to connect Raccoon River Valley Trail to High Trestle Trail, two outstanding Iowa trails.

This nine-mile “connector” between Perry and Woodward is proposed as an off-road recreational trail, which provides more safety and serves more users. Not only will these nine miles open more trail routes and provide new adventures, they will make central Iowa an even bigger trails destination. Continue reading

INHF Communications team welcomes Joe Jayjack

Joe JayjackJoin INHF in welcoming Joe Jayjack, INHF’s new Communications Specialist. Joe will assist our Director of Communications, Hannah Inman, with media, including social media, Iowa Natural Heritage quarterly magazine, member email and other duties. He is also responsible for maintenance and upgrades for INHF’s website and supervising INHF’s communications intern. Continue reading

Iowa trails receive grant approval

10514477_10152588904165815_3295462834243684462_nOn Tuesday, October 14th the Iowa Transportation Commission released news that the High Trestle Trail has received another piece of funding. The $782,500 grant will extend the trail 6 more miles from Ankeny to north Des Moines. INHF is working in conjunction with Polk County Conservation to complete the extension. Continue reading

Boone Family Bike Rides

Family Bike RidesIf you live in or around Boone County and are looking for some fun outdoor activities this summer, check out Boone County Conservation Board’s free family bike rides. Load up your bikes and helmets and join families as they bike down the High Trestle Trail and over the lighted-up bridge to the Woodward Trailhead.The ride is approximately 7 miles round-trip, and water and restrooms will be available at the turn around point.

Continue reading

New High Trestle Trail t-shirts

Over the last two years, Iowans have fallen in love with the beautiful geometric arches that line the 13-story bridge on the High Trestle Trail. The HTT runs 25 miles from Ankeny to Woodward and is one of INHF’s landmark projects.

Iowans understand the importance of trails to our state. To celebrate the beauty of the trail, and to ensure that Iowa’s trail system continues to grow, INHF has created a special High Trestle Trail t-shirt, available for order.

The shirt comes in four different styles, and features the bridge’s famous arches. An added bonus: The arches are glow in the dark, just like the bridge! All t-shirt proceeds go directly toward supporting and expanding Iowa’s trail system.

The shirts are $23 a piece ($25 for larger sizes). To order your High Trestle Trail t-shirt – cash, check or credit card accepted – call Diane at (515) 288-1846. You may also order a shirt via PayPal on our website. Availability is limited! Shirt and order information are below:

American Apparel Unisex – Asphalt

Sizes: S-XXXL








American Apparel Unisex – Orange

Sizes: S-XXXL








Bella Women’s cut – Asphalt

Sizes: S-XL (We recommend ordering one size larger than you would normally. These shirts run a bit small.)








C2 Dri-Fit Men’s cut – Royal Blue

Men’s sizes: S-XXL







C2 Dri-Fit Women’s cut – Royal Blue

Women’s sizes: S-XL

















































Thank you for your support in protecting Iowa’s land, water and wildlife.