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High Trestle Trail Bridge

On Tuesday’s route, I was interested in taking a detour to ride over the High Trestle Trail Bridge. Easy path would be take State Highway 17 south out of Luther down to Madrid then get on the trail to Woodward. Then take County Road R18 north up to County Road E57 and take that back to Luther. this would add about 27 miles to the day.

I know the ‘official’ answer (don’t leave the route) Anyone familiar with State Highway 17? I’m not afraid of riding on state highways but I have zero experience on this road and would love some insight(traffic volume, shoulder? etc.)

If I do this I’ll probably add an extra ~10 miles somewhere to make it a Century as well.

11 Replies

Cory Rood, June 22, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Maybe solved 2 issues with one stone. Continue beyond Luther on the route and turn south on County Road R38 to Slater then get on the High Trestle Trail to Woodward, would make the loop 40 miles and would make the day a Century!


Sam, June 22, 2018 at 1:36 pm

I’ve heard several teams say they’re going to ride the Raccoon River Trail to Perry, and then gravel travel thru Bouton to where the trail starts in Woodward. My team took that route in 2013 from Perry.


jake d, June 23, 2018 at 6:27 pm

Hwy 17 has a 4ft. wide paved shoulder so traffic should not be an issues. Just watch for gravel at crossroads. At Madrid the bridge is approx. 3 miles to the west and well worth it. If you stay on the trail east to Slater and take R38 north it hooks back up with the route. Be sure to check out the Flat Tire in Madrid, and the Night Hawk in Slater, both are right on the trail. Now maybe you can help me out. It’s been a few years since I started a thread on this board, and I’ll be darned if I can find a tab to click on. ???


Randall Murphy, June 24, 2018 at 9:06 am

Jake, once you are logged in, scroll to the bottom of the threads. You’ll see that you can start one.


jake d, June 24, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Thanks for the input. I discovered the problem. I normally just browse the latest discussions and that page doesn’t allow you to start a new thread. You have to click onto one of the categories at the right to see that box.


Cory Rood, June 25, 2018 at 7:04 am

Thanks Jake D! much appreiated.


jwsknk, June 25, 2018 at 10:35 am

17 can get busy, lots of Boone to DM commuting traffic, but there is the shoulder. E57 will add another DM river crossing, long climb but pretty new road so it’s not as steep as it used to be. Another off route option, turn onto R38 from old 30 after Ogden, it skips Boone and takes you to Woodward. It doesn’t skip the climb out of the DM River valley though. You still get that. There is a chance Ledges may be flooded with all the rain in the DM River watershed right now. (The road may even be closed right now, someone from Boone was talking about that Saturday night) Can just take the trail into Slater, From the NiteHawk go east across town on the northern most street. R38 has a bike lane once you get out of town, off route party at the bar in Kelly 5 miles north of Slater, mile or so before you rejoin the route on R38. Or as mentioned trail from Jefferson to Perry, Road to Bouton, county road to Woodward.


jake d, June 26, 2018 at 9:19 pm

Skunky is right, Hwy 17 can get busy. However, the last time we road out of Boone the Flat Tire in Madrid had something like 4,000 riders show up based on the wrist bands they issued. Most of those riders came down Hwy17 so drivers were on alert. Not bad for an off route party.


Shaela Holtman, July 7, 2018 at 11:06 am

I don’t suggest traveling down Hwy 17 from Luther – it’s a very busy highway – I grew up in Madrid. I would suggest going south from Ledges State Park on a county road to Woodward, jump on the High Trestle Trail in Woodward and head East on the trail to Madrid (check out the Flat Tire Lounge there), and continue on it to Slater (check out NightHawk on the route), then take R38 north into Ames (there’s a bike lane on this road and used a lot by locals to train and hook up with High Trestle Trail). You’ll meet up with the route just south of Ames. Look online for Iowa Bikes Trails for some routes you could take from Ledges to Woodward. The High Trestle Trail is definitely worth the trip – beautiful. If you ever come back through the area, visit it at night when it’s all lit up – worth the trip. Check out their website for some photos. Enjoy your ride!


Sam, July 9, 2018 at 10:47 am

Just saw that there’s going to be a rather large off-route party at Woodward so there’s bound to be heavy bus traffic on 17. RAGBRAI bus drivers know to watch for riders, but I’d still be a little wary about riding that way, esp. solo.


bugs11, July 9, 2018 at 11:44 am

My plan, after Ledges State Park instead of taking the left (east) on E57 into Luther, take a right (west). Ride to the intersection with R26 take a left (south) to Woodward. High Trestle Trail it to Slater, then head north on R38 into Ames.


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