Segment 19: Iowa
We have just crossed the Wisconsin Border into Illinois. Why is this called the Iowa Segment? Answer: Because we’ll be back to Illinois for two more traverses of the state. You’ll get all the Illinois you want and more. Be patient.
The Fifty Trail east/southbound Iowa Segment starts at the Illinois/Wisconsin border at the start of the Jane Addams Trail, end of Wisconsin’s Badger State Trail. It follows the Jane Addams Trail to where the Grand Illinois Trail joins it. The Grand Illinois Trail is a bike route that makes a full loop around the northern third of Illinois. The Fifty Trail follows this route 48.7 miles west to Galena. It’s all on roads, but the Grand Illinois Trail guidebook provides essential hiker support.
From Galena it’s a 15 mile road walk along US 20 to the bridge over the Mississippi River at Dubuque Iowa.
So now we’re in Iowa. See? In Dubuque the Fifty Trail picks up the non-motorized Heritage Trail, a rail trail that runs 26 miles off road continuously west to Dyersville.
There’s a road walk between Dyersville and Lafayette where the Fifty Trail picks up the route of the American Discovery Trail at the Cedar Valley Nature Trail and follows the ADT route back eastward for 123 miles to the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities, crossing back into Illinois.
MAPS and TRAIL GUIDES:
Grand Illinois Trail. There is a guide book PDF file free to download from ‘Ride Illinois’. Here’s the link to get their guide and to their interactive online maps: http://rideillinois.org/maps/grand-illinois-trail-guide/
Heritage Trail, Dubuque to Dyersville: https://dubuquecounty.org/conservation/heritage-trail/
American Discovery Trail: http://www.discoverytrail.org/
HEART OF THE TRAIL:
A stroll along the Mississippi River: Rock Island Arsenal, Mississippi River, to the end of Hoover Nature Trail section 1¼ mile south of Nichols on Iowa 70 (53¾ miles).