Heritage Trail

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Explore one of the Upper Midwest's most scenic all-season trails. Follow the 26-mile route of a once-bustling railroad into a 450-foot-deep valley past old mining and mill towns. Discover the rugged beauty that welcomes thousands of bicyclists and hikers each year. 

The trail passes through eight towns and spans all of Dubuque County. The gentle grade is less than 1% making it suitable for use by all ages and abilities. The smooth compacted limestone surface is ideal for bicycling, running and walking but is also utilized in the winter by snowshoes, cross county skiers and snowmobiles. Most of the trail is tree covered but the further west one travels the more exposed the trail becomes as it is surrounded by open swaths of native prairie grasses.


TRAIL USES: Biking, Hiking, Cross-Country Skiing, Snowmobiling, Nature Observation

LENGTH: 26 miles

SURFACE: Crushed Limestone


Trail Tips

Trail Tips
The eastern trailhead, Heritage Pond and Heritage Trail Interpretive Area are located three miles north of Dubuque on US-52 at Rupp Hollow Road. The Heritage Pond is stocked with fish and a campground is being installed with over 20 camping pads for RVs. A bike fix-it station is located near the pond. With the completion of the Highway 52 pedestrian overpass, the trail now extends into Dubuque and connects to several city bike trails. Dubuque offers riverboat rides, museums, breweries and many interesting and picturesque choices for shopping, exploring, dining and overnight stays. 


Trail Tips

Trail Tips
Conveniently close to US-52, Durango offers telephone service and a restaurant as well as a site to launch your canoe for an eight-mile journey to the Mississippi River. The most current census stated the population of this town to be 22 people. 


Trail Tips

Trail Tips
Established to initially serve the railroad, this town now serves the trail. The Dubuque County Conservation Board manages a county park with a picnic shelter and restrooms directly adjacent to the trail (no water available). This park is less then five miles from the Sundown Mountain Downhill Ski and Snowboard Resort.


Trail Tips

Trail Tips
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.


Trail Tips

Trail Tips
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.


Trail Tips

Trail Tips
The majestic spires of the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier welcome you to Dyersville. Known as the Farm 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. A trailhead, water, parking and picnic facilities are available. Camping with hook-ups is available at the Commercial Club Park, two blocks south of the trailhead, or at New Wine Park, 5 miles northwest of Dyersville. Motels are located less than a mile south of the trailhead on Hwy. 136. Lodging in local homes is available through the Chamber of Commerce. 

For Families

Options to Explore

Challenge your family to get out and explore nature while getting a little exercise as well. Start at the Heritage Pond parking lot. Pack your binoculars and plan to stop at the scenic overlook that sits above the Sageville Marsh offering a peak at multiple different types of wildlife including waterfowl, turtles, deer and more. Also pack a picnic and stop at any of the parks along the Heritage Trail to enjoy a lunch at a pavilion.

For Adventurers

Options to Explore

Start your adventure by camping at the Heritage Pond Campground in Sageville. The park has a fishing pond, restrooms, pavilions and the trailhead to the Heritage Trail. 

Travel on to the city of Dubuque and visit the newly developed Bee Branch Creek Greenway project which serves as a unique park stretching though the heart of Dubuque’s north end to the Mississippi River. The trail has an outdoor amphitheater, benches, gardens and overlooks.

Grab a drink at the city's breweries which include 7 Hills Brewery, Jubeck New World Brewing, Dimensional Brewing and Backpocket Brewing. The breweries require taking approximately 1.5 miles of city road, but the sites of the millwork district make it worth the detour!


In Iowa, sunny days mean endless possibilities. Whether it's a family getaway, an outdoor adventure, or anything in between, we know a place.