Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

Length 32 miles
Surface crushed limestone
Hours year-round, 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Fees none
Cities Slater, Huxley, Cambridge, Maxwell, Collins, Rhodes, Melbourne
About this trail

This trail offers expansive views plus significant prairie remnants east of Slater, a pioneer cemetery and historical museum in Maxwell, heavily wooded tracts near Cambridge and Maxwell and two wetland areas west of Cambridge. A double track allows room for horses. Between Collins and Rhodes, trail users cross the Hoy Bridge, which is 212 feet long and 60 feet tall. This unique, massive concrete arch bridge was built in 1912 to accommodate a double railroad over Clear Creek.

Trail Uses:
Bicycling the Trail
For road bikes, the best sections to ride are from Slater to Cambridge and two miles east of Collins to Rhodes. While the trail is surfaced for 3.2 miles between Maxwell and Collins, currently it is undeveloped from the Maxwell city park on First St. to the city limits (approximately one-half mile). The undeveloped trail is relatively flat in that area but has a dirt surface only. At 690th Ave. there is a break in the trail. We recommend taking the gravel north to 310th St. and then east into Collins. For off-road enthusiasts, the undeveloped trail between Cambridge and Maxwell offers great scenery and some challenges. Sections of the trail are very wet, others are very bumpy, but there is a lot of beauty to be seen in these areas.

Equestrian Use on the Trail
Horses are allowed on both the developed and undeveloped segments of the trail. On the developed sections, horses should stay on the mowed turf area adjacent to the limestone surface. The best trailer parking is available at Slater, Cambridge, Maxwell, Collins, and Rhodes. Huxley's trailhead does not accommodate equestrians; however, water and restroom facilities are available.

Snowmobiling Along the Trail
Snowmobiles are allowed on the trail when there is sufficient snow cover. All other motorized vehicles are prohibited. The trail has been adopted by the Saylorville Dam Snowmobile Club who provide signage and grooming.Hunting and Trapping on the Trail Sections of the trail in Story County are open to hunting and trapping. These areas are from 520th Ave. to 535th Ave., from 560th Ave. to 580th Ave., from 597th Ave. to 640th Ave., and from 663rd Ave. to 680th Ave. The miles of trail adjacent to a city boundary are closed to hunting and trapping. All sections of the trail from 680th Ave. eastward are closed. This includes all sections of the trail in Marshall County. Please obey the signs posted at intersections and respect the rights of all users.

Updates: The trail is currently under construction from Cambridge east to County Highway S14. We do not currently have an opening date.


Heart of Iowa Nature Trail
Trail Managers
Local Tourism Info
Marshalltown Convention & Visitors Bureau - 641-753-6645 or 800-697-3155 - e-mail
Resources From Other Sites
Trail Resources
Short overview of the trail, with links to books and maps that can be purchased for trails in general.