Explore the Heritage trail, the Upper Midwest’s most scenic all-season trail. Follow the 26-mile route of a once bustling railroad into a 450 foot deep valley past old mining and mill towns while discovering the rugged beauty that welcomes thousands of bicyclists and hikers each year. The mountain trail in prairie country is set in the deep, rugged woodlands with a gently sloping grade making travel easy and enjoyable. View the numerous river outlooks, sheer limestone bluffs, interpretive sites, railroad artifacts, and fossil collecting along this beautiful, crushed-limestone trail.
|Surface:||smooth, compacted crushed limestone ideal for bicycling|
|Grade:||1 percent maximum (1foot rise for 100 feet traveled)|
|Fee:||$2.10 per day or $10.25 per year for persons aged 17 through 61, $5.50 per year for persons 62 and older, family pass $25.50.|
|Trail Tickets:||Sold by area sports and bicycle stores, businesses adjacent to trail, and self-registration tubes located at the trail parking lots.|
|Winter Use:||Snowmobiling from Dubuque to Dyersville, minimum of 4″ of snow required. X-Country skiing from Dubuque to Dyersville.|
|Interpretive Sites:||Major interpretive area overlooks eastern trailhead.|
|Trail Rules:||No horses, motorized vehicles, fires, camping, unleashed dogs, or use after 10:30 p.m. Additional Dubuque County Conservation Board rules apply to the trail. Trail hours are sunrise to sunset year round unless otherwise posted.|
Stops Along Heritage Trail
The majestic spires of the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier welcome you to this community. Known as the Toy Capital of the World, two of Dyersville’s five museums center around farm toys. The downtown and mall areas are conveniently close to the trailhead. Lodging in local homes is available through the Chamber of Commerce located north of Hwy. 20 on Hwy. 136. Camping with hook-ups is available at the Commercial Club Park, 563-875-7727, two blocks south of the trailhead, or at New Wine Park, 563-921-3475, 5 miles northwest of Dyersville, off Hwy. 136 at Vaske Road to New Wine Park Lane. Motels are located within 1 mile south of the trailhead on Hwy. 136. A new trailhead, water, parking, and picnic facilities has been constructed.
For more information, contact:
Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce
1410 9th Street SE
Dyersville, Iowa 52040
At the high point of the trail, this town is less than a mile south of the trail. Exit at the highway overpass for food. Farley City Park offers a variety of activities as well as restrooms and water. From Y13 turn left on 7th Street to 4th Street then right two blocks to 5th Avenue. Turn left to park.
Established to serve the railroad, this town now serves the Trail. The Dubuque County Conservation Board manages the county park with a picnic shelter and restrooms is directly adjacent to the trail. Water is not available at the park.
Overlooking the Little Maquoketa River valley and the Trail, Epworth offers food and a seminary with tours and art gallery. Epworth is located 1.5 miles south of the Trail on Gun Club Road. Also located on Gun Club Road, between Epworth and Heritage Trail, is Centennial Ball Park with water and restrooms.
Conveniently close to US 52, Durango offers telephone service and a restaurant as well as a site to launch your canoe for an 8-mile journey to the Mississippi River.
Heritage Trail – Rupp Hollow Road Eagle Scout Project
Photo by: Carol Freund
The eastern trailhead, Heritage Pond, and Trail Interpretive Area are located 3 miles north of Dubuque on US 52 at Rupp Hollow Road. Heritage Trail will eventually extend into Dubuque to link up with a trail being planned within the City. This city offers riverboat rides, museums, greyhound racing, and many interesting and picturesque choices for shopping, exploring, dining, and overnight stays. Check local phone listings for bike rentals.
For more information on Dubuque County:
Tourist Information Center
3rd Street & Ice Harbor
Dubuque, Iowa 52001
Dubuque Chamber of Commerce
770 Main Street, P.O. Box 705
Dubuque, Iowa 52004-0705
Heritage Trial Pass Outlets
Season Heritage Trail passes support Heritage Trail development and also make great gifts for friends who like to hike, bike, or nature watch. Pick one up at the following outlets:
DyersvilleChamber of Commerce
Quik N’ Handy
EpworthQuick N’ Handy
Casey’s General Store
Group Use Passes are also available.
- When using rail-trails be sure to be considerate of other trail users and local landowners.
- Be safe–always wear a helmet!! Be a good example for your kids.
- Always ride single file when meeting other riders or when being overtaken. Courtesy takes precedence over conversation with your riding companion.
- Ride in a straight line. This is especially difficult for children, so remind and encourage your children not to weave around on the trail.
- When stopping along the trail always park your bike off the traveled portion of the trail if you can, or as far to the right as possible.
- When overtaking other trail users, call out a warning, such as “passing on your left” or use a warning device such as a bell. Be especially careful when passing children as they are easily startled and may swerve in front of you.
- Only stray from the trail on public areas. If you do leave the trail, remember, leave no trace of your path! Don’t litter!
- Bike trails are surfaced with fine limestone or similar materials. They are not designed for high speed travel. They can become soft and wet, can erode quickly during heavy rains, and are subject to animal damage. Keep your bike under full control at all times. Keep at least two bike lengths between riders and warn others when passing. Bike clothing (reflective for night riding), shoes, pant leg clips, and helmets are recommended