National Recreation Trails Database


Trail Description Continued

The Wabash Trace Nature Trail began as Iowa's longest rail trail. This 63-mile long crushed limestone trail was built in the late 1980s and early 1990s on a portion of the former Council Bluffs and St. Louis railroad. The trail is a pathway through a serene and unique landscape. Users can begin in the town of Blanchard along the Missouri/Iowa border and travel north through the communities of Coin, Shenandoah, Imogene, Malvern, Silver City, and Mineola on their way to the city of Council Bluffs on the Nebraska/Iowa border.

Recent trail additions now connect it to the Omaha metro area across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Nature and recreation enthusiasts are able to hike, run, bicycle, cross-country ski, bird watch, and participate in countless other activities. The northwestern portion of the trail exposes the natural wonder of the Loess Hills. The Loess Hills were formed from fine soil (loess) blown by the wind over thousands of years. This process resulted in the creation of 200-300 ft hills for 200 miles along the western border of Iowa. Only in Western Iowa and along the Yellow River in China can someone view Loess Hills to such depth and extent.

The trail intersects the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway in many places. The trail's grade remains a gentle 3% despite the fragile hills that line the path.Along the northeastern portion, the trail is encompassed by a tunnel of arched trees. Their shade is a welcoming sight to bicyclists in the summer. In the south, outdoor enthusiasts can travel through extensive remnant prairie near the City of Coin. Because of the natural resources protected by the trail, families, and individuals can observe a variety of wildlife including native plant species not found anywhere else in the state.

In addition to the majestic Loess Hills and treasured prairies, the Wabash Trace Nature Trail provides access to many historical and cultural resources including a portion of the Mormon Trail and the renovated Wabash Depot in Shenandoah. In Council Bluffs one can visit the Western Historic Trails Center (a National Park Service educational facility).The Wabash Trace Nature Trail was developed by the dedicated members of Southwest Iowa Nature Trail, Inc (SWINT). Countless volunteers make up SWINT, a private non-profit. They are responsible for the continual development and maintenance of the 63-mile trail. SWINT works closely with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) and participating County Conservation Boards to ensure the protection of the recreation and conservation corridor.


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This website provides access to the National Recreation Trail (NRT) database, a collection of information on the various trails which have been designated as NRT's. These trails are located throughout the United States and U.S. territories. The amount of information may vary from trail to trail. If you need more information than is available on this site, please use the contact(s) listed for that trail. (If no contacts, are listed, you may request help from American Trails at

The on-line database has details on the currently designated National Recreation Trails. The NRT Program online is hosted by American Trails: