A central Iowa bike trail that’s been nearly a decade in the making is finally open. The High Trestle Trail covers 25 miles and connects fives towns through four counties.

Cathy Engstrom, with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, says the centerpiece of the new trail is a massive bridge spanning the Des Moines River. “As far as we can tell, it’s among the top five pedestrian bridges in the world in terms of size,” Engstrom said. “It’s 13 stories tall and half-a-mile long with some amazing artistic features.”

The entire trail, including the bridge, follows a former railroad line once owned by Union Pacific. While the High Trestle Trail isn’t among the longest trails in Iowa, Engstrom says it’ll probably draw the most tourists. “In terms of this iconic bridge, it is really a dramatic, eye-catching trail that has drawn attention…we’ve been getting media (coverage) from Chicago, Minneapolis and all over,” Engstrom said.

The trail – which runs from Ankeny to Woodward and passes through Slater, Sheldahl and Madrid – cost $15 million. Engstrom says federal funding paid for most of the construction costs. State funding and more than 1,000 private donations also made the trail possible. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for Saturday with activities planned in each of the towns along the trail. For more information visit: www.inhf.org.