Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Iowa Riverfront Trail and Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

The Western Trails Historic Center is located just off I 80 immediately before crossing the Missouri River in Council Bluffs—actually the same exit as the casinos only south.  The Trails Center was built by the National Park Service and operated by the Iowa Historical Society.  It has a short movie about the trails leading west.  Most of these movies are excellent, but this one was a bit confusing.  However, definitely still worth viewing.  The exhibits were informative and contained a lot of visual examples. 

Another bonus of visiting the Historic Center is that it is an excellent place to jump on the Iowa Riverfront Trail.  (If the Western Trail Center gates are closed the river front trail can be accessed at the casinos).   This seven mile route runs along the Missouri River for most of the route.  There is a short part through an industrial area, but it is easy to follow.  It also goes by a casino, a golf course and a nice riverside park.  The highlight, though, is the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge across the Missouri River linking Iowa to Nebraska.  It opened in 2008. 

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Of course, I love bridges and this was a great one.  It has a modern “S” design with cables.  We rode our bikes across it but, since we were there around the lunch hour, there were more walkers and runners.  It is actually fairly low compared to the I 80 bridge down the way.  The Missouri was up with all the rain so I thought it was pretty thrilling to stop at the pull off places and enjoy the river below and the Omaha skyline to the west.

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Once across the bridge we rode around the Omaha side to a small lake with a trail around it.  It would have been nice to be able to link to the Old Market area of Omaha which was not far away.  However, it would have required street riding and we try to avoid that.

There is a statue commemorating the steel workers on the Nebraska side.  Dan is showing how high the water was in 2011.  We had forgotten about that flooding event. This picture makes me laugh…

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There is a Lake Manawa State Park in Council Bluffs that has a trail around the lake and links to this trail.  Another time I think we would do that.  Maybe because it was a beautiful day, but I wasn’t ready for the 16 mile round trip ride to be over.  Probably because I knew, from the Trail Center, it was straight home. 

We were only gone for three days, but it was a great little road trip.  There will be one more post.  Just some observations.

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