About the Trail
The Wabash Trace Nature Trail is a converted railroad right-of-way running 63 miles and over 70 bridges through the scenic Southwest Iowa countryside. The corridor was purchased in 1989 and the trail was completed and dedicated in 1997. Establishment of the trail has required dedication from individuals, families, businesses, service organizations, and local, state, and federal grant programs.
On the north end of the trail, you will travel through the picturesque Loess Hills, which run along the western edge of Iowa. These hills were formed 14,000 years ago by windblown loess (pronounced "luss"), a fine and fertile soil, which built up over the years to heights of 200-300 feet. While loess soils are common, the unusual depth and extent of this formation are most prominent here and in northern China.
You can travel the entire 63 miles by foot, bicycle, wheelchair, ski, or snowshoe. No motorized vehicles are permitted. Many people enjoy the trail to watch birds and wildlife, identify animal tracks, trees, or wildflowers; walk a dog on a leash; visit the trail towns; have a picnic; stargaze; get a closer look at working farms; write poetry, take photographs, draw pictures, sing or whistle; and make new friends!
North to South, the Wabash Trace travels through Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont and Page Counties. It passes through 8 communities: Council Bluffs, Mineola, Silver City, Malvern, Imogene, Shenandoah, Coin and Blanchard. Since 1988, two non-profit organizations (SWINT & INHF) along with countless volunteers have worked to preserve, enhance, and maintain the Wabash Trace for public use and enjoyment.
SWINT’s mission, through the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, is to promote recreational activity, increase access to healthy lifestyles, advance the preservation of natural resources and stimulate economic development for the benefit of the public in Fremont, Mills, Page and Pottawattamie Counties, Iowa.
Maintenance & Sustainability
The trail is not supported by tax dollars, so every Trail Pass fee, donation, and all time volunteered is greatly appreciated. The aging infrastructure of the trail means that new surfacing, bridge repairs, and tree trimming is a never-ending job. The Wabash Trace depends entirely on the efforts of the private citizens who built, maintain, and manage the trail. While some of the founding members of the trail have moved on, there is a strong core of original volunteers. The trail is now in its 35th year, and some of these members are now ‘passing the torch’ to the second and even third generation. We are always looking to get more enthusiastic, energetic, positive trail lovers involved with the management of the organization. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, please contact us.
Who We Are
Southwest Iowa Nature Trails Project, Inc. (SWINT) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised of a 20 member board committed to the maintenance and development of the Wabash Trace Nature Trail. SWINT organizes all official activities on the Wabash Trace, works closely with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) and other partners to assure the continued existence of this great economic, recreational, and natural resource.
What We Do
With help from a small part-time work crew, SWINT handles all coordination and execution of trail maintenance, weed control, sign placement, Adopt-A-Bridge/Bench/Mile programs, special events planning, general fundraising, promotion, public relations, Trail Pass and merchandise sales, grant writing, and more...
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How to get Involved
To join SWINT, volunteer, or schedule group events on the trail, contact us via this website, at email@example.com, or call/text Rebecca Castle Laughlin (Imogene) at 515-210-0269. Donations of any size are always gratefully accepted. Donating your time to work on the trail is one of the best ways to help.