Volksweg Trail In Iowa

Here is everything you need to know about the Volksweg Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Iowa
  • Length: 14 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Iowa Department of Natural Resources
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/Trails/Volksweg-Trail

The Volksweg Trail, located in Iowa, has a rich history that dates back several decades. The trail was initially established in the late 1970s as a joint effort between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Its creation aimed to provide a recreational space for outdoor enthusiasts, while also preserving and showcasing the natural beauty of the region.

The trail follows the path of an old railroad line that was once used for transporting goods and passengers. This railroad, known as the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, played a significant role in the development of the area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It connected various towns and cities, facilitating trade and commerce in the region.

Over time, as the demand for rail transportation declined, the railroad line fell into disuse. Recognizing the potential of this abandoned corridor, local authorities and conservationists worked together to repurpose it into a recreational trail. The Volksweg Trail was officially opened to the public in the early 1980s, offering a unique opportunity for hikers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts to explore the scenic landscapes of Iowa.

Since its inception, the Volksweg Trail has undergone several improvements and expansions. Additional sections have been added, extending the trail’s length and connecting it to other existing trails in the area. These developments have further enhanced the trail’s popularity and accessibility, attracting visitors from both within and outside the state. Today, the Volksweg Trail stands as a testament to the region’s history and serves as a beloved recreational resource for all to enjoy.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Volksweg Trailhead – This is the main access point for the Volksweg Trail, located at the trail’s starting point in Pella, Iowa.

2. Red Rock Dam – Located near the Red Rock Dam and Lake Red Rock, this access point provides a scenic starting point for the trail.

3. North Overlook – This access point is situated near the North Overlook Campground, offering beautiful views of the lake and surrounding area.

4. Whitebreast Recreation Area – Located near the Whitebreast Beach, this access point provides access to the trail for those visiting the recreation area.

5. Roberts Creek Park – Situated near Roberts Creek Park, this access point offers a starting point for those exploring the trail from this area.

6. Elk Rock State Park – This access point is located near Elk Rock State Park, providing access to the trail for visitors to the park.

7. Cordova Park – Situated near Cordova Park, this access point allows visitors to start their journey on the Volksweg Trail from this location.

8. Lakeview Campground – Located near the Lakeview Campground, this access point provides a convenient starting point for campers and visitors to the area.

9. North Overlook Trailhead – This access point is located near the North Overlook Trailhead, offering a starting point for those looking to explore this section of the trail.

10. South Overlook Trailhead – Situated near the South Overlook Trailhead, this access point allows visitors to start their hike from this area.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Volksweg Trail, providing various starting points for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to explore different sections of the trail.

Transportation Available

1. Volksweg Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically for the Volksweg Trail.
2. Bike Rentals – Rent bicycles for exploring the Volksweg Trail.
3. Local Bus Service – Public bus service connecting nearby areas to the Volksweg Trail.
4. Taxi Service – On-demand taxi service for convenient transportation to and from the Volksweg Trail.
5. Car Rental – Rent a car to easily access and explore the Volksweg Trail.
6. Ride-Sharing Service – Use a ride-sharing app to get to the Volksweg Trail.
7. Train Station – Nearby train station providing transportation options to the Volksweg Trail.
8. Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service from the airport to the Volksweg Trail.
9. Horseback Riding Tours – Guided horseback riding tours to experience the Volksweg Trail.
10. Pedicab Service – Pedicabs available for a unique and eco-friendly transportation option along the Volksweg Trail.


The amenities available at the Volksweg Trail may vary depending on the specific section or location of the trail. However, some common amenities that can be found along the trail include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at certain points along the trail, such as trailheads or designated rest areas.

2. Parking: Parking areas or lots are often provided at trailheads or access points to allow visitors to park their vehicles while using the trail.

3. Camping Sites: Some sections of the Volksweg Trail may offer designated camping sites or areas for overnight stays. These sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes grills can be found along the trail, providing visitors with a place to relax and enjoy a meal or snack.

5. Water Stations: Depending on the length and location of the trail, there may be water stations or fountains available for visitors to refill their water bottles.

6. Bike Repair Stations: Some sections of the trail may have bike repair stations equipped with tools and air pumps to assist cyclists with minor repairs or maintenance.

7. Informational Signage: Throughout the trail, you may find informational signs providing details about the trail, its history, and points of interest.

8. Scenic Overlooks: The Volksweg Trail may offer scenic overlooks or viewpoints where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

It is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management organizations for specific amenities available at different sections of the Volksweg Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Volksweg Trail Lodge – A cozy lodge located right on the Volksweg Trail, offering comfortable accommodation for hikers.
2. Trailside Diner – A popular food service spot along the Volksweg Trail, serving delicious meals and snacks.
3. Riverside Inn – A nearby lodging option with scenic views of the river, perfect for a peaceful stay.
4. Quick Bites Cafe – A convenient food service stop offering quick and tasty meals for hikers on the go.
5. Volksweg Trail Campground – A camping area located along the trail, providing basic amenities for overnight stays.
6. Lakeside Resort – A lakeside lodging option near the Volksweg Trail, offering a range of amenities and activities.
7. Trailside Emergency Services – A dedicated emergency service station located along the Volksweg Trail, providing assistance in case of emergencies.

Volksweg Trail Difficulty Notes

The Volksweg Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail spans approximately 16 miles and features a mix of flat, paved sections and more challenging, hilly terrain. While some portions may require a bit of endurance and stamina, the trail is generally well-maintained and easy to navigate. With beautiful views of the surrounding landscape, including forests, prairies, and the Des Moines River, the Volksweg Trail provides a rewarding and enjoyable hiking experience for outdoor enthusiasts.

Features And Attractions

The Volksweg Trail is a popular recreational trail located in Iowa, USA. It stretches for approximately 16 miles along the eastern shore of Lake Red Rock. While the trail itself offers beautiful views of the lake and surrounding landscapes, there are several scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be found along or near the trail. Here are some notable ones:

1. Cordova Park: Located near the southern end of the trail, Cordova Park offers a scenic overlook of Lake Red Rock and its dam. It provides a great vantage point to enjoy the lake’s beauty.

2. Elk Rock State Park: Situated just off the Volksweg Trail, Elk Rock State Park is known for its stunning limestone bluffs and scenic views of the lake. It offers various recreational activities, including hiking, camping, and picnicking.

3. Cordova Observation Tower: This tower is located within Cordova Park and provides panoramic views of Lake Red Rock and the surrounding countryside. It’s a great spot to take in the natural beauty of the area.

4. Red Rock Dam: As you travel along the Volksweg Trail, you’ll pass by the Red Rock Dam, which is an impressive structure. It’s worth stopping to admire the engineering feat and the views it offers.

5. Whitebreast Beach: Located near the northern end of the trail, Whitebreast Beach is a popular spot for swimming, picnicking, and enjoying the lake’s sandy shoreline. It’s a great place to relax and take in the natural surroundings.

6. Roberts Creek Park: Situated near the midpoint of the trail, Roberts Creek Park offers a peaceful setting with beautiful views of Lake Red Rock. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic or a short break during your hike or bike ride.

7. Historic Pella: While not directly on the Volksweg Trail, the charming town of Pella is nearby and worth a visit. Known for its Dutch heritage, Pella features historic architecture, quaint shops, and beautiful gardens.

8. Marion County Park: Located near the southern end of the trail, Marion County Park offers a peaceful setting with scenic views of the lake. It’s a great place to relax, fish, or have a picnic.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be found along or near the Volksweg Trail. Exploring the trail will provide you with many opportunities to appreciate the beauty of Lake Red Rock and its surroundings.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles and pedestrians have the right of way.
4. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
5. No camping or overnight stays are permitted.
6. Fires and open flames are prohibited.
7. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
8. Stay on designated trails and do not trespass on private property.
9. Do not litter and use designated trash receptacles.
10. Follow all posted signs and regulations.
11. Use caution and be aware of your surroundings.
12. Do not disturb or harm wildlife or vegetation.
13. Alcohol consumption is not allowed on the trail.
14. Be considerate of other trail users and maintain a safe distance.
15. Report any suspicious or illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.

Seasonal Information

The Volksweg Trail, located in Iowa, offers a picturesque and serene experience for outdoor enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit the 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 mild temperatures and vibrant foliage.

In the spring, the Volksweg Trail comes alive with blooming wildflowers and lush greenery. The weather is usually pleasant, making it an ideal time for hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the trail. The trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the beautiful Saylorville Lake, which adds to the overall charm of the experience.

During the fall, the Volksweg Trail transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors as the leaves change to vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. This season is perfect for nature lovers and photographers, as the trail provides numerous opportunities to capture stunning autumn scenery. The cooler temperatures make it comfortable for outdoor activities, and the peaceful ambiance of the trail is enhanced by the gentle rustling of fallen leaves.

It is important to note that the Volksweg Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions in certain areas. These closures typically occur during the winter months when the trail may become icy or covered in snow, making it unsafe for use. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the trail management before planning a visit during the winter season to ensure that the trail is open and accessible.

Overall, the Volksweg Trail offers a delightful experience throughout the year, with spring and fall being the most popular seasons to explore its natural beauty. Whether you are seeking a peaceful walk, an invigorating bike ride, or a chance to immerse yourself in nature’s wonders, the Volksweg Trail is sure to provide a memorable adventure.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance for individuals with disabilities.
2. Accessible Trail Entrance: The trail entrance is designed to be easily accessible for wheelchair users and individuals with mobility impairments.
3. Paved Pathways: The trail features paved pathways, ensuring a smooth and accessible surface for wheelchair users.
4. Restrooms with ADA Accommodations: Restroom facilities along the trail are equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities, providing accessible seating and tables.
6. Wheelchair Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints along the trail are designed to be accessible for wheelchair users, allowing everyone to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
7. Accessible Trail Signs: Trail signs are designed with clear and visible text, ensuring individuals with visual impairments can easily navigate the trail.
8. Accessible Trail Maps: Trail maps are available in accessible formats, such as braille or large print, to assist individuals with visual impairments.
9. Accessible Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead area is equipped with accessible facilities, including ramps, handrails, and accessible parking spaces.
10. Assistance Animals Allowed: Service animals are permitted on the trail to assist individuals with disabilities, ensuring equal access and support.

Safety Information

When visiting the Volksweg Trail, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Stay on designated paths: Stick to the marked trails and avoid venturing off into unmarked areas. This will help prevent accidents and ensure you don’t disturb the natural habitat.

2. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings at all times. Look out for other trail users, wildlife, and any potential hazards such as fallen branches or uneven terrain.

3. Share the trail: The Volksweg Trail is open to various users, including hikers, cyclists, and runners. Be courteous and share the trail with others. Cyclists should yield to pedestrians and give them ample space when passing.

4. Respect wildlife and nature: The trail is home to various plants and animals. Respect their habitat by not disturbing or feeding them. Keep a safe distance and observe wildlife from afar.

5. Dress appropriately: Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the trail conditions. Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and consider bringing a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent.

6. Stay hydrated: Carry an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated, especially during hot weather. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and other health issues.

7. Use proper safety gear: If cycling or rollerblading, wear a helmet and any other necessary protective gear. This will help prevent head injuries in case of a fall or collision.

8. Be prepared: Carry a cell phone, map, or trail guide with you. Familiarize yourself with the trail route and let someone know about your plans, especially if you’re hiking alone.

9. Stay on marked trails during hunting seasons: If the trail passes through areas where hunting is allowed, be aware of the hunting seasons and stay on the designated path. Wear bright colors to increase visibility.

10. Leave no trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by carrying out all your trash and disposing of it properly. Respect the environment and leave the trail as you found it.

Remember, safety is paramount when enjoying outdoor activities. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience on the Volksweg Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Volksweg Trail, located in Iowa, is a popular recreational trail that spans approximately 52 miles. In terms of its conservation status, the trail is well-maintained and managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR plays a crucial role in ensuring the preservation and protection of the trail’s natural resources and wildlife habitats.

Efforts have been made to conserve the natural environment along the Volksweg Trail. The trail passes through diverse ecosystems, including woodlands, wetlands, and prairies, which are home to a variety of plant and animal species. The DNR has implemented measures to minimize the impact of human activities on these habitats, such as limiting the use of motorized vehicles and enforcing strict rules regarding waste disposal.

Additionally, the Volksweg Trail is part of the larger Iowa State Park system, which aims to conserve and enhance the state’s natural resources. This designation ensures that the trail is subject to ongoing monitoring and management practices to maintain its ecological integrity. The DNR regularly conducts assessments to identify any potential threats to the trail’s conservation status and takes appropriate actions to mitigate them.

Overall, the conservation status of the Volksweg Trail is considered favorable due to the efforts made by the Iowa DNR to protect its natural resources and maintain its ecological balance. The trail provides an opportunity for visitors to enjoy the beauty of Iowa’s landscapes while ensuring the long-term sustainability of its ecosystems.

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