Heart of Iowa Nature Trail
Runs parallel to Highway 210 from Slater to Melbourne (Marshall Co.)
The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail (HOINT) is a cooperative effort of the Story and Marshall County Conservation Boards and an important part of the Central Iowa Trails System. A segment of the former Milwaukee Railroad from Slater to Melbourne forms this 32-mile recreational trail corridor. This multi-purpose trail accommodates bicyclists, pedestrians, equestrians, and snowmobilers.
Future plans include connecting the east end of the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail to Melbourne, the Iowa 330 Trail, Marshall County Conservation's Grimes Farm Nature Farm, the Marshalltown Greenbelt Trail, the city of Marshalltown, and to the Chichaqua Valley Trail.
The HOINT will continue to be paved as funds come available according to the master plan. Paving will improve connectivity between communities and the High Trestle Trail and will hopefully get more people outside and engaged in nature.
The first stretch the HOINT, 4 miles between Slater and Huxley, was paved in summer 2019. That stretch cost approximately $650,000 and was 75% funded by grants. The stretch from Huxley to the South Skunk River Bridge past Cambridge is about 3.32 miles and cost approximately $1,077,000. Paving was completed fall of 2020 and funding for a substantial portion of this section, $730,000, was secured through grants from the Central Iowa Regional Transportation Planning Alliance and the State Recreational Trails Program.
Want to help us with matching funds for grant applications? Donate here: https://bit.ly/PaveHOINT
Paved sections of the trail is suited for all types of bikes including the “skinny” road tires. The compacted limestone surfacing can accommodate all types of bicycles but we recommend a little larger tire like those on hybrid or touring bikes. There are some gravel sections.
Horses are allowed on all sections of the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail. Horses should stay on the mowed turf area adjacent to the limestone/paved surface or on the mowed shoulder. Please stay off the limestone trail! 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.
Snowmobiles are allowed on the trail when there is sufficient snow cover. All other motorized vehicles are prohibited. The Saylorville Dam Snowmobile Club grooms and marks the trail for winter use. Snowmobiles should slow down when approaching or passing hikers, skiers, and snowshoe users.
Sections of the trail in Story County are open to hunting and trapping during November, December, and January. These areas are from 597th Ave. to 640th Ave., and from 670th 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. No target practice is allowed. Only non-toxic ammunition is allowed.
- American Discovery Trail
The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail is part of the American Hiking Society's American Discovery Trail. This trail system passes through several metropolitan areas and incorporates many trails as it passes from the East to the West Coast of the United States. The ADT in Iowa begins at Council Bluffs and follows the Raccoon River Valley, Des Moines River Greenway, Heart of Iowa Nature Trail, Cedar Valley, and Hoover Nature Trails crossing the Mississippi at Davenport.
- Great American Rail Trail
The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail is also part of the Great American Rail-Trail -- a signature project of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The Great American Rail-Trail is the nation’s first cross-country multiuse trail, stretching more than 3,700 miles between Washington, D.C., and Washington State. The preferred route of the Great American Rail-Trail connects 145+ existing rail-trails, greenways and other multiuse paths. These trails are hosting the Great American through their communities, making possible this grand vision of a nation connected by trails.