INHF & Trails

A natural connection

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation's mission is to protect and restore Iowa's land, water and wildlife. Where do trails come in? INHF sees trails as a connection to nature — an amazing, recreational and healthy way for people to get outdoors and experience the natural world around them.

INHF’s first trail projects (the Heritage Trail and Cedar Valley Nature Trail) began over 30 years ago. INHF’s leadership in the 1980s to convert former railroad corridors into multi-use trails created the momentum that has made Iowa a trails destination. Since then, INHF has helped create over 65 percent of Iowa’s rail-trails.

Unlike surrounding states, Iowa’s multi-county trails are managed by local rather than statewide agencies. These local groups often rely on INHF for technical expertise and statewide perspective. INHF’s role on any given trail can range from minor — providing technical advice — to extensive — acquiring the trail corridor, marketing and promotion, education and/or fundraising. We’re also a partner in statewide trail planning and connection efforts and a central hub for trail information — from the progress of ongoing trail projects to where to find the best trailside restaurants.

If you are interested in starting a trail project or want to learn more about INHF’s work in trails, contact INHF Trails and Greenways Director Andrea Boulton at or 515-288-1846, ext. 27.