Iowa Snowmobile TrailsMaddy Scheinost
Iowa Snowmobile Trails
The Best Iowa Snowmobiling Trails
Iowa, the Hawkeye State, is known for cold, sometimes harsh winters, beautiful landscape including gently rolling hills and broad, flat plains, and consistent annual snowfalls of 18-22 inches in the south and 38 to 42 inches in the north. All of which means you can count on finding snowmobiling trails in Iowa that will provide the outdoor winter adventures you want. The state is largely snowmobile friendly. The ISSA (Iowa State Snowmobile Association), with its dedicated membership of 57 snowmobile clubs, has been serving the Iowa snowmobiling community for nearly 50 years, helping to maintain 8,800 miles of trails throughout the state. How can I find the best snowmobile trails in Iowa? Where can I find snowmobiling near me when I’m in Iowa? What are the best areas of the state to ride snowmobile? Below is a list of just a few of the most popular Iowa snowmobile trails, compiled by the experts at Treadworld, with location information and websites where available. It’s always a promising idea to check Iowa snowmobile trail conditions before you head out.
Backbone State Park
Location: 1347 129th St, Dundee, IA
The oldest state park in Iowa, dedicated in 1920, Backbone offers 21 miles of snowmobiling trails that weave through cedar and hardwood forests, and rough, rocky staircases. The area gets its legendary name from its unique geography, a steep, narrow ridge of bedrock that forms the highest point in northeast Iowa, known as the Devil’s Backbone. The park road is open to snowmobiles once there is sufficient snow, and many riders start on the West Lake trail, then travel along the southern portion of Backbone Lake until reaching the East Lake/Bluebird Trails.
Big Creek State Park
Location: 8794 NW 125th Ave, Polk City, IA
Known for having some of the best Iowa snowmobile trails, this 3500-acre Big Creek State Park offers 13 miles of snowmobile trails that surround an 814-acre lake, the focal point of the park, offering great wilderness views all along the way. The maintained and groomed trails run pretty flat with a few gentle curves along the way. The state park is a wildlife refuge where hunting is not permitted, so keep an eye open for pheasants, eagles, deer and more.
Heart of Iowa Nature Trail (HOINT)
Location: Story and Marshall Counties, side by side counties located in the middle of IA
Part of the Great American Rail Trail which is the nation’s first cross-country multi-use trail that spans more than 3,700 miles between Washington State and Washington D.C., HOINT offers 32 miles of Iowa snowmobiling trails. The snow-covered trail, which is mostly crushed limestone with brief stretches of asphalt, was formerly a segment of the former Milwaukee Railroad from Slater to Melbourne. It’s now for providing scenic views through Iowa farmland country, as well as forested and wetland areas, before linking with the popular High Trestle Trail in Slater. Future plans include linking the trail to several other connecting trails in the area, making this one of the premier snowmobile trails in the state.
Raccoon River Valley Trail
Location: Dallas County, in the southern middle of IA
When it comes to snowmobiling in Iowa, you can’t beat this nearly 90-mile trail – formerly a railway – passing through 18 Iowa communities in three counties, consisting of mostly 6-mile segments. That’s why this area averages 350,000 folks out enjoying their snowmobiling every year. The trail started out as a rail trail running 56 miles from Waukee to Jefferson, then in 2013, an additional 33.1-mile north loop was added forming an interior loop of more than 72 miles. It makes for an amazing ride journeying through many diverse landscapes including woodlands, prairie, wetlands, and Iowa farmland.
Sauk Rail Trail
Location: Sac and Carroll Counties, in the middle western part of IA
Many consider this one of the best places to snowmobile in the state thanks to the incredible west-central Iowa rural panoramas along the way, as you wend through rolling prairies to farmlands to wetlands and wooded areas, and enjoy a view of beautiful Black Hawk Lake. The nearly 33-mile trail winds through Carroll and Sac Counties, and is the first recreational trail in Iowa to connect two state parks, capped at one end by the Blackhawk Lake State Park and at the other by the Swan Lake State Park. Most of the trail is fairly flat, though there are a few hills as you get closer to the Swan Lake Park. Suitable for all levels of snowmobiling experience.
Three Rivers Trail
Location: Humboldt, Wright and Pocahontas Counties in the upper middle section of IA
As you might expect from the name, this 39-mile snowmobile trails crosses three rivers, the West Fork of the Des Moines River, the Boone River and the East Fork of the Des Moines River. It also links five communities along the way (but Five Communities Trail didn’t have quite the same ring to it.) Established in 1991, this trail is part of what was originally the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad right of way between the towns of Rolfe and Eagle Grove .With miles of uninterrupted woodlands and marshes, leading to river valleys and open prairies, this historic trail offers the snowmobile adventures you want. The trail follows a former stagecoach route between Bradgate and Rutland, plus every one of the 36 railway bridges along the route remains part of the route. As you roll across the Iowa terrain, keep an eye out for the historical marker attached to a large boulder that denotes the 1854 site of the last battle in Iowa between the Winnebago and Sioux Indians.
Wapsi Great Western Trail
Location: Howard and Mitchell Counties, on the northern border in the eastern part of IA
The 27-mile Wapsi-Great Western Trail extends through Howard and Mitchell counties and gives you a little of everything Iowa has to offer including beautiful rolling landscapes, rural countryside, prairie lands, wetlands, farmland, marshes and woodlands, plus it crosses three waterways: the Wapsipinicon River, Watson’s Creek and Lake Hendricks. It will also take you through Iowa’s largest wind farm (providing power to 47,000 households) and an old order Amish community. The trail runs southeasterly for a little over 12 miles, passing the ghost town of Acme, then links up with the 44-mile Old Roundhouse Trail. Keep an eye open for whitetail deer, muskrat, otter, turkey, pheasant and numerous other native species of wildlife while you ride.
That’s Only a Few…
When you want to ride your snowmobile, Iowa has plenty to offer as the many parks and trails turn the state into a winter wonderland for outdoor cold weather enthusiasts. Beyond that, it’s a terrific way to enjoy the beauty of the Iowa wilderness. We’ve only highlighted a few of the best places to go snowmobiling in Iowa here, but there are many other places to “get your snowmobile on.”
We’re Treadworld, Home of the Best Specialty Tires Anywhere
Whether you live in Iowa or are just visiting, when you do decide to snowmobile outside your own backyard, one of the safest ways to transport your machines is with a snowmobile trailer. And you can count on us to provide you with the high performance tires for snowmobile trailer that will get you safely where you want to go. Even the best snowmobile trailer is worthless if it’s not equipped with dependable tires. Here at Treadworld, we have the right trailer tires for every occasion. You can count on Rubbermaster brand trailer tires to provide the best in top quality, long-lasting, never-let-you-down reliability, manufactured with strict tolerances from top rubber compounds, triple-tested for quality before being X-rayed to be sure they’re perfect, then covered by our Ultimate Advantage Lifetime Warranty. Don’t hesitate to contact our tire experts via live chat or email with any questions you may have.