Grant Wood Trail

The Grant Wood Trail Corridor began as a railway in the 1870’s between Marion and Savanna, Illinois. Later, this Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific Rail would carry freight and passengers across the Midwest until 1980.  In 1997, the Linn County Trails Association (LCTA) began discussions with Jones County residents who promoted a Linn County Trail to Martelle and beyond. This passage potentially to the Mississippi River, was part of the first statewide recreation trails plan in 1990. Working with several organizations, the LCTA acquired the trail in 1998.  LCTA gifted the trail to Linn County Conservation in 2005, with the expectation of future development of a trail corridor to Jones County as funding became available. 

The Grant Wood Trail is located off of Highway 13 near Marion's Waldo's Rock Park.  An underpass under the four lanes of Highway 13 connects with new trails coming east out of Marion. 

A 2.8 mile segment from Waldo's Rock Park to Oxley Road was hard surfaced (asphalt) with a grass shoulder in 2022. The project was made possible in part by a $400,000 Iowa Department of Transportation Recreation Trails grant, Linn County Water and Land Legacy Bonds and Local Option Sales Tax funds. The trail is not a contiguous link east of this section as some of the former railroad line is now private property. A project reconnecting this trail using county right-of-way areas from Oxley to Creekside Road takes place in 2023.

A future trail phase will include developing the trail from Creekside Road to Paralta with crushed limestone, then asphalt. A grass shoulder is adjacent to this section as well.  A public meeting was held in fall of 2022 after the city of Springville expressed interest in connecting to the trail. Future plans and concepts are under development on a possible connection.

2022 construction plan map