Welcome to the Wapsi-Great Western Line Trail

The Wapsi-Great Western Line (WGWL) Trailhead is located at 110 East Main Street in Riceville, Iowa, which is nestled in northern Iowa off U.S. Highway 9.

Northern Branch: From Riceville and the Trailhead, the WGWL’s Northern Branch proceeds northwesterly 13 miles in Mitchell County to within 1 mile of Minnesota (to be completed in the future to connect to the Shooting Star Trail).

Southern Branch: The WGWL Southern Branch proceeds southeasterly 12 miles in Howard County passed the ghost town of Acme to the city limits of Elma where it meets a .44 mile of the Old Roundhouse Trail segment.

The majority of the 25 mile trail runs on abandoned railroad beds and winds through rural countryside. Less than one mile is on shared roadway.

You will traverse through five biospheres: prairie, wetland, farmland, marsh and woodlands. You will cross three waterways: Wapsipinicon River, Watson’s Creek and Lake Hendricks. You may encounter white tail deer, muskrat, otter, turkey, pheasant and numerous native species.

The WGWL Trail has been designated as the interstate connecting trail between Iowa and Minnesota. Only 1 mile is unfinished in Iowa before connecting to Minnesota’s Shooting Star Trail in southern Minnesota.

Come support us as we finish the connection!

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 12, 2017: The 5 miles of the WGWL Trail from Acme to the Old Roundhouse Trail segment was finished years ago, while the 7 miles from Riceville to Acme is at present hard-surfaced with concrete and finishing work in process.  The Southern Branch is CLOSED for safety reasons until the official Southern Branch Grand Opening and a celebration of the 25 mile WGWL Trail in beautiful rural Iowa.  Official celebration of the Southern Branch will be Saturday, May 5th, 2018.

Stream along WGWL“Modest places, rarely spectacular, but lending a measure of freedom and wilderness to landscapes that are part of our Midwest . . . some of the best escape routes from the soul-bruising press of modern living.”

– John Madson, Author of Where the Sky Began

EVENTS CALENDAR (click on any of the events below for more details.  For a complete listing, visit the Events Page)

Ongoing Events 2017

Trailhead Welcome Center Open – Saturday & Sunday from 2-5 p.m. Memorial Day – Labor Day

Pie Sunday at Trailhead Welcome Center – 1st Sunday of June, July, August from 2-5 p.m

Farmer’s Market – Saturdays May 27th – September 9th from 9:00-11:30 a.m. Located at 203 West Main Street, Riceville, IA (One block west from the Trailhead at 203 West Main Street along Hwy #9) Farmers Market – Riceville is an enhancement of the WGWL Trail.  

Summer Art Show  Featuring – Sunday, June 4th – Sunday, September 10th

WGWL Trailhead Clocktower

5K7MilerFamilyofRunners5KHavest Moon Walk