Type: Rail Trail

Length: 25 miles

Surface: Crushed Limestone

crushed limestone trail. Surface depends on the seasons. Can get rutted easily


Needs Work

Grade - Gentle Grades



The HOINT is one of the last few longer non-paved trails in Central Iowa. I had ridden this trail before a few times, but never made it more than a couple of miles past Cambridge. Don't expect pristine conditions like many of the other new trails in Central Iowa. "El Natural" is what you will find on this trail. And "El Natural" is why I love this trail. This is not a trail for your Madone or 23c road bike. If you are looking for a bit of an adventure, then this trail is for you! With Crushed limestone, sand, dirts, washouts, ruts, tree branches, a few horse dropping, you'll also see all sorts of wildlife, cool bridge views, scenic prairies and some pretty cool small Iowa towns to pass through.

READ BIKEIOWA Review from May 2013

Here is the explanation from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation: This trail offers expansive views plus significant prairie remnants east of Slater, a pioneer cemetery and historical museum in Maxwell, heavily wooded tracts near Cambridge and Maxwell and two wetland areas west of Cambridge. A double track allows room for horses. Between Collins and Rhodes, trail users cross the Hoy Bridge, which is 212 feet long and 60 feet tall. This unique, massive concrete arch bridge was built in 1912 to accommodate a double railroad over Clear Creek.

Chichaqua Valley Trail is a scenic recreational trail begins just east of Bondurant and extends for 20 miles to the town of Baxter. This was the trail that was closed for over a year and a half due to flood damage a couple of years ago.
I had ridden it all once last year, but wanted to see how it was faring this year.

Location - Where is this Trail?


The main trail head is in Slater and there are places to part in most of the towns.

Sites & Attractions

normal small town convenience stores, restaurants, ice cream shops, hardware stores, etc.

History of the Trail

The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail traverses classic Iowa farmland along the former route of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, also known as the Milwaukee Road. The trail transitions from smooth crushed limestone in the west to a rougher grass and dirt surface in the east, with a couple of on-road detours. While a hybrid bike is a minimum requirement for cyclists, those riding fatter tires might find the trip more enjoyable. (source)

Future Plans

Planned Mileage: 8 miles -


The following members have contributed to the above Trail content.

This trail was last edited by bikeiowa on Jun 5, 2020.

Upcoming Events

Gents Race 12.0

2 Saturday Apr 2022
  • Slater, IA
  • Gravel
  •    294


Past Events

FFFing Ride

26 Sunday Sep 2021
  • Polk City, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    366

FFFing Ride

12 Sunday Sep 2021
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    698

Gents Race 11.0

19 Saturday Jun 2021
  • Slater, IA
  • Gravel
  •    1,203

Bike For Ballard Education Foundation

5 Saturday Jun 2021
  • Huxley, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    713

Gents Race 10.0 ***Delayed Indefinitely***

4 Saturday Apr 2020
  • Slater, IA
  • Gravel
  •    2,908

Wednesday Night Ride - Story County

13 Wednesday Nov 2019
  • Maxwell, IA
  • Road
  •    2,283

Gents Race 9.0

6 Saturday Apr 2019
  • Slater, IA
  • Gravel
  •    9,220

The Tank Gravel Ride

31 Sunday Mar 2019
  • Rhodes, IA
  • Gravel
  •    3,447

Gents Race 8.0

7 Saturday Apr 2018
  • Slater, IA
  • Gravel
  •    27,669

Gents Race 7.0

1 Saturday Apr 2017
  • Slater, IA
  • Gravel
  •    25,380

2017 Trail Tourism Conference

30 Thursday Mar 2017
  • Perry, IA
  • Safety/Education/Training
  •    29,741


9 Friday Sep 2016
  • Ames, IA
  • Other
  •    12,272

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Small Business Saturday 2020 - SHOP LOCAL

  • bikeiowa
  • Fri November 27 2020
  •   3,308
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FRIDAY FIVES - EP.3 - June 5 2020

  • bikeiowa
  • Sat June 6 2020
  •   1,543
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Heart of Iowa Nature Trail - A Super quiet trail

  • drunneals
  • Mon July 10 2017
  •   7,805
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Gents Race 5.0

  • bikeiowa
  • Mon February 16 2015
  •   14,621
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Bike Trail Tourism Conference

  • bikeiowa
  • Tue April 8 2014
  •   17,550
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Heart of Iowa Trail video

  • BikeIowa
  • Wed October 23 2013
  •   8,948
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Trail Recommendations

  • BikeIowa
  • Tue August 27 2013
  •   13,729
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Riding the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail and Chichaqua Valley Trail

  • BikeIowa
  • Thu May 9 2013
  •   11,388
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An enjoyable pre-Thanksgiving excursion on the HOINT

  • dctrail
  • Fri November 23 2012
  •   12,761

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Madrid to S14; The HOINT is back! Past rains have done wonders for the trail its smooth and firm. All damaged sections that were repaired last fall are now firm, so the runout past the paved down hill is fast and fun! The Story County section is in top condition this year and will make excellent cycle tour traininng for vacation. I am looking forward to an end to end ride later this month on my new bike with suspension fork and LT Thudbuster.

#13 - clunker posted Jun 3, 2015

Slater to Collins; This is the first time walkers and snow machines have impacted the trail to where I could notice while riding. Mostly dry with rough sections throughout from winter use. Repaired sections firming up but the whole length could use a good grooming. Cambridge east approach had work done and the tread is loose and soft but easy to avoid. Horses are still a problem and have caused extensive damage from East Huxley (suburb) to Maxwell but HOINT is still my favorite ride!

#12 - clunker posted Apr 2, 2015

Rode from Huxley to Maxwell today. The trail has some wet/muddy spots east of Cambridge but is not impassable. Lots of fun for a fat or mountain bike. If you want to see Iowa's fall colors, this is a great trail to visit.

#11 - iowabikerides posted Sep 21, 2014

Rode this from Madrid to Collins today. Still sandy and washouts on the west end but I had a blast anyway!

#10 - mculbert posted Aug 29, 2013

called story county and repairs towards the end of september. meeting with fema in august

#9 - clunker posted Jul 31, 2013

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