Many people love to enjoy spending time in the great outdoors during their holiday, but this can be a challenge if you use a wheelchair or mobility device. Iowa has many beautiful trails that are fully accessible to wheelchair users, and the 16.5 mile Great Western Trail is one of them.
The smooth asphalt trail is built on an old rail bed which was originally constructed in 1893 for the Chicago Great Western Railroad. Your journey along the trail will take you through Polk and Warren counties and you’ll see what remains of prairie and wetlands. The land surrounding the trail is rich in wildlife and includes some of Iowa’s indigenous rare plants.
There are trailheads at Des Moines and Martensdale, and both have restrooms and restaurants that are fully wheelchair accessible so you can fuel up again after your trip along the trail. The halfway point of the trail is in Cumming, and there are adapted facilities here too if you fancy a break along the journey. Picnic shelters and water are available north of Martensdale at Gear Street, and in Coolidge Street which is found south of Cumming. There’s also a picnic shelter in Polk County south of 72nd Avenue.
As well as other wheelchair users you’ll meet hikers, skaters, joggers and during the winter months, cross country skiers.
Parking and trail access
Parking in Des Moines is found at the trailhead; Valley Drive/George Flagg Parkway which is near Park Avenue. In Martensdale and Cumming, you’ll be able to park at the trailhead on Inwood Street and at the crossroads of CR G14/Cumming Road, in Cumming.
A helpful trail map showing facilities and parking areas is included on the website.
The great outdoors is accessible to everyone in Iowa. Make sure you include a journey along the Great Western Trail in your itinerary.
Image source: justkeeppedaling.blogspot.co.uk