Ankeny Rail Trail In Oregon

Here is everything you need to know about the Ankeny Rail Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Oregon
  • Length: 1 miles.
  • Type: Biking.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Ankeny Parks and Recreation Department
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Ankeny Rail Trail holds a significant place in the history of Ankeny, Iowa. Originally, the trail was part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, commonly known as the Milwaukee Road. The railroad was established in the late 19th century and played a crucial role in the development and growth of Ankeny.

The construction of the Milwaukee Road began in the 1870s, connecting Ankeny to other major cities in Iowa and beyond. The rail line facilitated the transportation of goods, people, and services, contributing to the economic prosperity of the region. The Ankeny Rail Trail, which spans approximately 26 miles, was a vital link in this extensive railway network.

Over the years, the Ankeny Rail Trail witnessed various changes and developments. In the early 20th century, the Milwaukee Road underwent significant upgrades, including the electrification of the rail line. This modernization effort aimed to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. However, with the decline of rail transportation in the mid-20th century, the Milwaukee Road faced financial challenges and eventually ceased operations in the 1980s.

Following the closure of the Milwaukee Road, the rail line was transformed into the Ankeny Rail Trail. The conversion of the railway into a recreational trail was a collaborative effort between the city of Ankeny, Polk County, and local community organizations. Today, the Ankeny Rail Trail serves as a popular destination for walkers, joggers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts, offering a glimpse into the rich history of the region and providing a scenic pathway for outdoor activities.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Ankeny Trailhead: Located at the southern end of the trail, near the intersection of SW State Street and SW 3rd Street in Ankeny.
2. Prairie Ridge Sports Complex: This access point is situated near the Prairie Ridge Middle School and Prairie Ridge Sports Complex, off NW 18th Street.
3. DMACC Trailhead: Found near the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) campus, off SW Oralabor Road.
4. High Trestle Trail Connection: This access point connects the Ankeny Rail Trail with the popular High Trestle Trail, located near NE 36th Street.
5. NW 66th Avenue Trailhead: Situated near NW 66th Avenue and NW 18th Street, this access point provides parking and trail access.
6. NW 16th Street Trailhead: Located near NW 16th Street and NW 18th Street, this access point offers parking and trail access.
7. NW 9th Street Trailhead: Situated near NW 9th Street and NW 18th Street, this access point provides parking and trail access.
8. NW 2nd Street Trailhead: Found near NW 2nd Street and NW 18th Street, this access point offers parking and trail access.
9. NW 36th Street Trailhead: Located near NW 36th Street and NW 18th Street, this access point provides parking and trail access.
10. NW 54th Avenue Trailhead: Situated near NW 54th Avenue and NW 18th Street, this access point offers parking and trail access.

Transportation Available

1. Ankeny Transit System – Local public bus service in Ankeny.
2. Uber – On-demand ride-hailing service.
3. Lyft – On-demand ride-hailing service.
4. Ankeny Cab – Local taxi service in Ankeny.
5. Ankeny Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service to and from the airport.
6. Ankeny Bike Share – Bike rental service for exploring the area.
7. Ankeny Limousine – Luxury transportation service for special occasions.
8. Ankeny Car Rental – Car rental service for personal use or travel needs.
9. Ankeny Pedicab – Pedicab service for short-distance transportation.
10. Ankeny Electric Scooter Rental – Electric scooter rental service for convenient travel.


The amenities available at the Ankeny Rail Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas provided for trail users. These parking lots are located at various access points along the trail.

3. Camping Sites: The Ankeny Rail Trail does not offer camping sites directly on the trail. However, there are nearby campgrounds and parks where camping facilities can be found, such as the Cherry Glen Campground and Saylorville Lake.

4. Picnic Areas: There are several picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas are equipped with picnic tables and sometimes grills.

5. Benches: Benches are placed at regular intervals along the trail, providing resting spots for trail users.

6. Water Fountains: Water fountains are available along the trail to keep visitors hydrated during their journey.

7. Bike Repair Stations: Some sections of the trail may have bike repair stations equipped with basic tools and air pumps for cyclists to use in case of any mechanical issues.

8. Informational Signage: The trail features informational signage that provides details about the history, wildlife, and points of interest along the route.

9. Scenic Overlooks: There are scenic overlooks along the trail that offer beautiful views of the surrounding natural landscapes, including rivers, forests, and wildlife habitats.

10. Dog-Friendly: The Ankeny Rail Trail is dog-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their furry friends along for a walk or run. However, dogs must be kept on a leash and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.

Please note that amenities may vary depending on the specific section of the trail and its access points. It is always recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Hotel Ankeny – Convenient lodging option near the Ankeny Rail Trail.
2. Ankeny Diner – Local eatery offering a variety of food options.
3. Casey’s General Store – Convenient store providing food and emergency supplies.
4. Ankeny Fire Department – Emergency services available for any unforeseen incidents.
5. UnityPoint Health – Emergency medical services for any health-related emergencies.
6. Subway – Quick and easy food option near the trail.
7. Super 8 by Wyndham Ankeny/Des Moines Area – Affordable lodging option near the Ankeny Rail Trail.
8. Ankeny Police Department – Local law enforcement services for any emergencies or safety concerns.
9. McDonald’s – Fast-food restaurant offering a range of menu items.
10. CVS Pharmacy – Convenient store providing food, emergency supplies, and pharmaceutical services.

Ankeny Rail Trail Difficulty Notes

The Ankeny Rail Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans approximately 26 miles, providing a diverse and scenic experience for hikers, bikers, and runners. While the trail is mostly flat and well-maintained, there are some sections with slight inclines and uneven terrain, adding a touch of challenge. Additionally, the length of the trail may pose a difficulty for beginners or those seeking a shorter outing. However, with proper preparation and pacing, the Ankeny Rail Trail can be enjoyed by individuals of varying fitness levels, offering a rewarding and enjoyable outdoor adventure.

Features And Attractions

The Ankeny Rail Trail is a popular recreational trail located in Ankeny, Iowa. While it primarily follows the former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad line, it offers several scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along its route. Here are some notable points of interest along the Ankeny Rail Trail:

1. High Trestle Trail Bridge: This iconic bridge is a highlight of the trail, featuring a unique design with illuminated steel frames. It offers stunning views of the Des Moines River Valley and is especially beautiful at night.

2. Saylorville Lake: The trail passes near Saylorville Lake, a large reservoir on the Des Moines River. Visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the lake and its surrounding natural landscapes.

3. Otter Creek Golf Course: The trail runs adjacent to the Otter Creek Golf Course, providing scenic views of the well-maintained greens and fairways.

4. Ankeny Historical Society: Located near the trail, the Ankeny Historical Society showcases the history and heritage of the area. It offers exhibits, artifacts, and information about the city’s past.

5. Prairie Ridge Sports Complex: This sports complex is situated near the trail and offers various recreational facilities, including baseball and softball fields, soccer fields, and walking trails.

6. Ankeny Market & Pavilion: The trail passes by the Ankeny Market & Pavilion, a vibrant community gathering place where visitors can find local produce, crafts, and other goods.

7. Natural Landscapes: The Ankeny Rail Trail meanders through scenic natural landscapes, including prairies, woodlands, and wetlands. These areas provide opportunities for birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and enjoying the beauty of nature.

8. Parks and Playgrounds: Along the trail, there are several parks and playgrounds, such as Hawkeye Park and Wagner Park, where visitors can take a break, have a picnic, or let children play.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be found along the Ankeny Rail Trail. Exploring the trail will provide visitors with a diverse range of experiences and opportunities to appreciate the beauty of Ankeny and its surroundings.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles and pedestrians should yield to horses on the trail.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– Use caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially at road crossings.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
– Respect private property adjacent to the trail.
– No camping or overnight stays on the trail.
– Observe seasonal restrictions, if any, such as closures during winter months or specific hours of operation.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trail entrances or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Ankeny Rail Trail, located in Ankeny, Iowa, offers a picturesque and serene experience for outdoor enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit this trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. However, the spring and fall seasons are particularly popular due to the pleasant weather and vibrant foliage.

In the spring, the Ankeny Rail Trail comes alive with blooming flowers and lush greenery. The temperatures are mild, ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit (10-25 degrees Celsius), making it ideal for hiking, biking, or simply taking a leisurely stroll. The trail offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape, including the Des Moines River and nearby wetlands, which are often teeming with wildlife during this time of year.

Similarly, the fall season brings a riot of colors to the Ankeny Rail Trail. The changing leaves create a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities, and the crisp air adds a refreshing touch to the experience. Temperatures range from the 40s to 60s Fahrenheit (5-20 degrees Celsius), making it comfortable for hiking or biking. Fall is also a great time for birdwatching, as many migratory species pass through the area.

It is important to note that the Ankeny Rail Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions in certain areas. During the winter months, some sections of the trail may be closed due to snow or ice accumulation, making it unsafe for use. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the Ankeny Parks and Recreation Department for any closures or updates before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, some facilities along the trail, such as restrooms or visitor centers, may have limited hours or be closed during certain seasons, so it is recommended to plan accordingly and bring necessary supplies.

Overall, the Ankeny Rail Trail offers a delightful experience throughout the year, with spring and fall being particularly enchanting. Whether you are seeking a peaceful walk amidst nature’s beauty or an active adventure on wheels, this trail is sure to provide a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Pathways: The Ankeny Rail Trail features paved pathways that are wide and smooth, allowing easy navigation for wheelchair users.
2. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the trail entrance, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms equipped with grab bars and ample space are located along the trail, providing necessary facilities for individuals with disabilities.
4. Benches and Seating: The trail offers numerous benches and seating areas along the route, allowing individuals with mobility impairments to take breaks or rest as needed.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating are available, ensuring individuals with disabilities can enjoy outdoor dining and socializing.
6. Signage and Wayfinding: Clear and visible signage is placed along the trail, providing directions and information in accessible formats for individuals with visual impairments.
7. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are strategically placed along the trail, allowing individuals with disabilities to stay hydrated during their journey.
8. Accessible Trail Entrances: The trail features accessible entrances with ramps or curb cuts, enabling individuals using wheelchairs or mobility aids to easily enter and exit the trail.
9. Accessible Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead area includes accessible facilities such as information kiosks, maps, and visitor centers, ensuring individuals with disabilities have access to necessary resources.
10. Accessible Recreational Equipment: The Ankeny Rail Trail offers accessible recreational equipment, such as adaptive bicycles or handcycles, allowing individuals with disabilities to engage in physical activities along the trail.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated paths: Stick to the marked trails to ensure your safety and avoid potential hazards.
2. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and watch out for other trail users, wildlife, and any potential obstacles.
3. Share the trail: Be courteous to other users, including cyclists, pedestrians, and runners, by sharing the trail and giving them ample space.
4. Observe traffic rules: Follow all posted signs and signals, and yield to vehicles at road crossings.
5. Use proper lighting: If using the trail during low-light conditions, make sure to wear reflective clothing and use a headlamp or flashlight.
6. Keep pets on a leash: If bringing your furry friend along, keep them on a leash and clean up after them to maintain a safe and clean environment.
7. Stay hydrated: Bring water with you, especially during hot weather, to prevent dehydration.
8. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear for walking, running, or cycling on the trail.
9. Carry identification: Have your identification and emergency contact information with you in case of an accident or emergency.
10. Report any suspicious activity: If you notice any suspicious behavior or encounter any safety concerns, report them to the appropriate authorities.

Conservation Notes

The Ankeny Rail Trail, located in Ankeny, Iowa, holds a conservation status that is of significant importance. The trail is recognized as a vital conservation area due to its rich biodiversity and the protection it provides to various plant and animal species. The conservation efforts implemented along the trail aim to preserve and restore the natural habitats found within the area.

One of the key conservation aspects of the Ankeny Rail Trail is its role in protecting wetland ecosystems. Wetlands are crucial for maintaining water quality, preventing flooding, and providing habitat for numerous species. The trail encompasses several wetland areas, which are carefully managed to ensure their preservation. Efforts are made to control invasive species, maintain water levels, and promote the growth of native vegetation, all of which contribute to the overall health and sustainability of the wetlands.

Furthermore, the Ankeny Rail Trail serves as a sanctuary for various bird species, making it an important site for bird conservation. The trail provides a diverse range of habitats, including woodlands, prairies, and wetlands, which attract a wide array of bird species throughout the year. Conservation initiatives focus on protecting nesting sites, providing food sources, and creating suitable habitats for migratory birds. These efforts not only benefit the avian population but also contribute to the overall ecological balance of the area.

In conclusion, the conservation status of the Ankeny Rail Trail is of great significance due to its role in preserving wetland ecosystems and supporting bird conservation efforts. The trail serves as a valuable habitat for numerous plant and animal species, and conservation initiatives are in place to ensure the long-term sustainability of these ecosystems. The Ankeny Rail Trail stands as a testament to the importance of protecting and conserving natural areas for the benefit of both present and future generations.

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