Make the Trip to View the High Trestle Trail Bridge

Take in this scenic view just 30 miles northwest of Des Moines, Iowa.

This Madrid attraction overlooks the Des Moines River Valley. At 13 stories high and half a mile long, the High Trestle Trail Bridge allows you to experience nature from a unique perspective. Cranes, geese, hawks, and many other birds invite you into their airspace as you walk the very windy and beautiful path. The bridge is accompanied by plaques that help you identify the different animals in the area, as well as give a history to not only the bridge but Iowan geography. For me, experiencing nature becomes so much richer with provided context that allows me to get a better understanding of the environment I’m in.

Video can be found on Travel Iowa‘s YouTube channel.

The best part of this experience, for me at least, is how the bridge lights up every evening at sunset. The unique architecture of the bridge is lined with a blue glow that creates an entirely different experience after dark. This additional feature allows for brilliant photographs and an overall amazing experience that can only be viewed if you stay after sunset. The last time I visited the bridge at sunset, I witnessed a man propose to his girlfriend under the blue light, further proving the magic of this place leaving its visitors feeling rather inspired.

Photo by Autumn Osia. Taken March 9, 2020 in Madrid, Iowa.

Whether you decide to make the trip during sunrise or sunset, I promise this trail will not disappoint. I know for myself, this trail and bridge have become a go-to attraction to relax and get out in nature while also respecting social distancing. I’ve brought numerous friends to this astonishing view that have added the High Trestle Trail Bridge as the perfect spot to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities. Such activities include walking, jogging, or biking. As the trail was formally a “rail-trail,” or a decommissioned railroad line, it is a very flat path that has been converted into a multi-use trail.

Photo by Autumn Osia. Taken March 9, 2020 in Madrid, Iowa.

Aside from the obvious main attraction of the bridge, the High Trestle Trail runs for 25 miles through five towns: Ankeny, Madrid, Sheldahl, Slater, and Woodward. Such a trail has garnered international attention when in 2015, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) named it one of the “Eight Amazing Footbridges in the World.” 

Photo by Autumn Osia. Taken November 18, 2019, at Howell’s Greenhouse & Pumpkin Patch at the “Bathtub Train” attraction.

Coming to Iowa from St. Louis, Missouri, I was unfamiliar with what all Iowa has to offer. One of the easiest ways to find such attractions is Travel Iowa’s website. Notable mentions from the website that I’ve traveled to are:

2 thoughts on “Make the Trip to View the High Trestle Trail Bridge”

  1. You take such very beautiful photos!! I also love this article I had never heard of this little trail and now I very much hope to be able to see it in person someday; I greatly appreciate how they chose to repurpose the old railroad.

    1. Thank you, Kayleigh! I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and comment on my photos! And I agree, how they repurposed the old railroad into the beautiful trail we see today is quite remarkable!

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