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Great Western Trail

Great Western Trail

A 19-mile journey awaits you! Hike, bike, run, walk, or cross-country ski along the former Great Western Railroad between Des Moines and Martensdale. 

This trail connects to the Bill Riley Trail, and is jointly managed with Warren County Conservation

Great Western Trailheads

  • North access is across from the Izaak Walton League Clubhouse on Valley Drive in Des Moines.
  • Souh access is at Inwood Street in Martensdale. 
  • This trail can also be accessed in Cumming. 

Motorized vehicles are prohibited on all trails within Polk County Conservation lands. The only exceptions are for maintenance, law enforcement, and emergency vehicles. This restriction does not apply to a manual-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability, e.g. wheel chair.

HISTORY

The Great Western Trail opened in 1992, 100 years after its establishment as a rail line from Des Moines to St. Joseph, Missouri. It is named for the Chicago Great Western Company whose trains operated on this line from 1892 to 1968.

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Motorized vehicles are prohibited on all trails within PCCB lands. The only exceptions are for maintenance, law enforcement, and emergency vehicles. This restriction does not apply to a manual-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability, e.g. wheel chair.