Take a road trip to view the High Trestle bridge & trail


I am always open to suggestions for new places to enjoy. 

One of the perks of being a full-time public high school teacher for the past 25 years is that some of my former students like to give me tips for new adventures. 

One such student, Autumn Osia, is currently enrolled at Drake University in Iowa. She has a true love for photography and adventure, much like myself. 

Autumn shared her love of the High Trestle Bridge in Madrid, Iowa, with me recently. It overlooks the Des Moines River Valley at an impressive 13 stories high and a half-mile long. 

Autumn has visited this bridge on several occasions, always with a camera in hand. She appreciates how the bridge lights up every evening at sunset.

“The unique architecture of the bridge is outlined with a blue glow that creates an entirely different experience after dark. This additional feature allows for brilliant photographs and an overall amazing experience,” Autumn shared. 

Beyond lighting up the sky, the bridge allows visitors an opportunity to experience nature from a truly unique perspective. 

As one walks across the bridge, birds such as cranes, geese, and hawks invite you into their airspace. 

The bridge has plaques that help visitors identify the different animals in the area. The plaques also provide a historical narrative to not only the bridge, but Iowan geography. 

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The bridge is located near mining shafts once worked by Italian immigrant families who settled nearby. 

The unique bridge decking artistically represents the view through a mine shaft to pay homage to this area’s history. 

Before the bridge became a highlight on the High Trestle Trail (that in some ways sounds a lot like the Katy Trail here in Missouri), it was originally built to carry rail traffic on a Milwaukee Road line. 

However, it now serves as a footbridge that garnered international attention when in 2015 the British Broadcasting Corporation named it one of the “Eight Amazing Footbridges in the World.” 

Thanks to Autumn’s suggestions, I know that a road trip to Iowa may be in order in a few months. 

A visit to the High Trestle Bridge on the High Trestle Trail sounds like a perfect way to spend an afternoon. 

The bridge is located a little over 15 miles south of Ames and just under 30 miles north of Des Moines. 

(Michelle Turner lives in Union, Mo.)

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