Trail Stories: Springtime Rail Trail Adventures

Trail Stories: Springtime Rail Trail Adventures

Our first Pittsburgh to D.C. bike tour finished up last week with great weather and a fun crew of riders!

Along the Great Allegheny Passage trail, phlox bloomed alongside wild star aster and the elusive pink lady’s slipper. Mother Nature delivered perfect weather and a light breeze from Boston to Ohiopyle.

The next day, riders pushed through a stormy, wet day on the trail from Ohiopyle to Cumberland. But they finished the day smiling and ready to tackle another section of trail the next day!

Thankfully the rain cleared up, and riders were treated to perfect cycling weather yet again to begin riding 182 miles of the C&O Canal towpath.

Along the towpath, more spring wildflowers were blooming – red columbine and wild purple iris lined the towpath near Old Town and Lock 70.

Although the Paw Paw Tunnel is currently closed for construction, the group did a quick out-and-back ride to this awesome historic structure before shuttling over the mountain to Little Orleans.

The weather and trail conditions held up nicely as the group cruised onward toward Washington, D.C. They stopped along the way to explore Fort Frederick State Park, Antietam National Battlefield, Harpers Ferry and historic Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

On a sunny Friday afternoon, the riders reached their final destination – Mile Marker 0 in Georgetown!

Way to go, folks! We hope to see you on the trail again sometime!


Meanwhile, in Iowa…


Our first-ever Iowa Trestle Bike Tour was a big success! This new tour in the heartland celebrates rail-trails – Iowa was the first state to use rail banking to create bike trails in 1983! Today the Des Moines region boasts more than 300 miles of trail.

This new tour features the Raccoon River Valley Trail, which is the longest paved loop trail in the country. Our touring route also meanders over to the High Trestle Trail in Woodward, Iowa. This iconic trail is one of the most pristine and highly trafficked trails in Iowa—even at night. The trail’s popularity is largely due to its famous 130-foot-tall High Trestle Bridge, which boasts one of the most well-known rail-trail art installations in the country, From Here to There. Wrapped in 43 twisting, diamond-shaped steel ribs lined with LED lights, the bridge elicits the sensation of traveling down a mine shaft—a nod to the area’s coal-mining history.

On the last day of the tour, the group returned to Des Moines via the Neal Smith Trail. This 26-mile bike trail rolls along the banks of the Des Moines River through the Ding Darling Greenway conservation area and makes its way through a variety of landscapes, including riverbanks, wildflower meadows, lakeshores, and dense forests. The last day’s ride through this lush, vibrant riparian zone was the perfect end to a great four days in Iowa.

Check out this review from our first-ever High Trestle Tour:

This was a great trip. Rode through the fields of Iowa on the Raccoon River Valley trail, stayed in some wonderful places and ate yummy meals. The High Trestle Trail was amazing. Saw it light up at night and rode across it the next day. The final day was a great change from the Iowa corn fields. We rode the Neal Smith trail through rolling hills of the Ding Darling Greenway conservation area. Marissa and Gary were wonderful guides, helpful and so very sweet. I highly recommend this tour…. 10’s all the way across the board.

Rating: Excellent *****
Elizabeth Lile
Lakewood, Colorado

Interested in joining us on an inn-to-inn cycling vacation? Wilderness Voyageurs operates tours in over 20 states and Cuba! Learn more about our bike tours or call us at 800-272-4141!