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Did you know that Pottawattamie County is the Trail Capital of Iowa? This week we are highlighting the recreational trails in Council Bluffs. All of the trails mentioned are excellent places to experience the beauty of Pottawattamie County. Whether you prefer bike riding, running, walking, or roller skating, there’s a trail in Council Bluffs for you.

Iowa Riverfront Trail

The Riverfront Trail is a paved trail that spans the western side of Council Bluffs along the Missouri River. The trail connects Big Lake Park, the Narrows River Park, Roberts Park, Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, Dodge Riverside Golf Club, and the Western Historic Trails Center.

  • Trail surface: asphalt, concrete
  • Accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Pets allowed on a leash

Iowa School for the Deaf Nature Center Trail

This one-mile paved loop wanders through the Iowa School for the Deaf’s beautiful campus and is a great trail for all skill levels.

  • Trail surface: asphalt
  • Accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Pets allowed on a leash

Lake Manawa Recreation Trail

This paved trail is perfect for jogging or a bike ride! It connects to the Wabash Trace Nature Trail and the Indian Creek Trail. If you are looking for a more extreme trail, there are roughly eight miles of mountain bike trails located near the boat ramps on the Missouri River.

  • Trail surface: asphalt, concrete
  • Accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Pets allowed on a leash

Valley View Trail

This trail is great for biking, inline skating, walking, and jogging. The southern end of the trail links with the Lake Manawa Trail and the Wabash Trace Nature Trail. The trail passes through residential, commercial, and rural areas of Council Bluffs.

  • Trail surface: concrete
  • Accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Pets allowed on a leash

Wabash Trace Nature Trail

Spanning more than 62 miles through the countryside of southwest Iowa, the Wabash is a converted railroad right-of-way that runs from Council Bluffs on the north to Blanchard on the Iowa/ Missouri boundary. Biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing are some of the best ways to enjoy the trail! This trail is also home to the locally famous Thursday Taco Ride.

  • Trail surface: crushed limestone
  • Accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Pets allowed on a leash

Staying active and enjoying nature is critical for our physical and mental health. While you are out enjoying the trails, be sure to follow social distancing guidelines. When you approach others on the trail, look for a spot where you can get off the trail and maintain a 6-foot distance from others while passing. As always, respect the trails and leave no trace.


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While we regular riders might have different names for #2, #3, and #4 of the trails outlined above- the Wrist Wrecker, Spine Compressor and Butt Buster- we're blessed in and around Council Bluffs. One of several reasons my wife and I retired here, we've enjoyed getting out and about this year. Hope you venture down, up or over and enjoy our trails too!

#1 - sgullerich posted Nov 10


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