The one bike ride that every Iowan should take.

No, I’m not talking about RAGBRAI. Instead, I’m talking about a much more realistic goal – the High Trestle Trail Bridge in Boone County. You won’t need weeks of training or specialized equipment, just bring whatever bikes you have. Here’s a quick guide on where to park, ideal times to visit, and what you might need for the trip.

Why is a visit to the High Trestle Trail Bridge a big deal?

It’s become one of Iowa’s most iconic views. Not to mention that it’s had some international fame in recent years when the BBC ranked the High Trestle Trail Bridge as one of the eight best footbridges in the world. Yes, in the world. And it’s in our backyard.

The west side of the High Trestle Trail Bridge has a pull-off section that includes an area where you can get a scenic view of the area.

How long is this trip? I’m not really in “biking shape”.

The total trip will be 11 miles – but the key is that we are going to break the trip up into four segments that are just 15 minutes each. You and your kids can ride a bike for 15 minutes at a time, right? We’ll have breaks and snacks in between and I think you’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy the ride.

What’s the best time to visit the High Trestle Trail Bridge?

The short answer: Just after sunset when the bridge’s lights are coming on. However, I’m going to give you the full answer for planning out the ideal trip for High Trestle Trail Bridge. If this is a location that you don’t get to visit very often, then let’s set you up for the ideal visit that involves seeing the bridge during daylight hours, stopping at a restaurant along the bike path for snacks or possibly supper, then returning back to the bridge to see it just after sunset. Let’s take it all in.

What’s the best time to start the trip?

I recommend starting the trip 2 hours before sunset. Start by finding out what time sunset is, then back up the time by two hours – that’s when you’ll want to be on the path with your bike.

Where do we start the trip?

Drive to the Flat Tire Lounge at 304 S. Madison St, Madrid, Iowa 50156. The lounge is located directly on the bike path and will serve as our start and end point.

From the Flat Tire Lounge, head west on the High Trestle Trail bike path, which is paved. It’s about 3 miles from the lounge to the bridge and you’ll pass under several interesting bridges along the way. Considering that most casual bike riders are about 9mph to 14mph, it should be about a 15-minute bike ride. Once you make it to the bridge, take a break and spend some time checking out the views of the river valley from the bridge.

When you’re ready to head on, continue on the trail heading west into the town of Woodward. Head for the Whistlin’ Donkey 111 N Main St, Woodward, Iowa 50276. Park your bike and then decide if you want to eat outside or inside – as well as if you’re ordering a meal or just some appetizers and drinks.

When there are about 15 to 20 minutes left until sunset, it’s time to get back on our bike and head east back to the bridge. During this portion of the trip, the blue-colored led lights will turn on to highlight the arches over the bridge. Based on my experiences, this is the segment of the trip that will take the most amount of time – you’ll be taking lots of photos and enjoying the views.

When you’re done enjoying the views – it’s time for the last 15-minute bike-riding segment – which can be the trickiest segment. For this last segment, LIGHTS ARE A MUST. In fact, I highly recommend small clip-on led lights. Bringing a traditional flashlight and asking kids to carry that and maneuver a bike is not realistic, so they will need some small, yet bright clip-on lights. The path is paved – but it is not lit at night, so the final stretch back to town might be in the dark. However, I don’t want to discourage you, as this was probably my kid’s most memorable portion of the entire trip. Of course, they remember seeing the bridge lit up at night, but they also remember our family bike ride through the darkness, guided by only the led lights while being chased by fireflies.

The last segment will take you back to your vehicle which is parked near the Flat Tire Lounge, where you can catch a quick drink before hitting the road back home.

Here’s a sample clip-on led light that I would recommend, as you can clip it to your bike, your clothes, and even a baseball cap. (affiliate link: )

I want to see the High Trestle Trail Bridge at night – but I’m not riding a bike. What’s the best place to park and then walk?

Head to this address 2335 Qf Lane, Madrid, Iowa 50156 for parking. Then you’ll need to walk the one-mile paved path west toward the bridge.

Here’s the most important detail for walkers: BRING LIGHTS – and I mean, bring more than your cell phone light. Each night, you’ll see small groups walking back from the bridge and it’s not the dark path that is the safety issue, its the cyclists who are coming up from behind that are the biggest concern. The cyclists NEED to see you – and that means you need a light behind you, not just in front of you. I highly recommend the same clip-on led lights for the walkers as well. (affiliate link: ) Take a small clip-on light like this and attach it to the back of your clothes or baseball cap – and that will help cyclists see that they are coming up on a group of walkers.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply