Wabash Trace, an old trail with a new use

Posted: November 8, 2014 in Nature, Travel
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Wabash Trace Nature Trail, running through southwest Iowa from Council Bluffs to Blanchard near the border with Missouri, is 63-mile route converted from a railroad right-of-way.  Although the trail is new to me, I’ve been familiar with the song by Johnny Cash since my father used to sing it around the house, evoking the glamor of train travel in the days before Amtrak.

 “The trail’s roots go back to the Wabash Railroad, which was one of the most important connections between the farmlands, factories and people of the American heartland and points east in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Indeed, the railroad is perhaps best known for the “Wabash Cannonball,” a passenger train that connected St. Louis to Detroit and was enshrined in a popular song from the early 1900s.”

My experience with the trail has been much more plebian and certainly slower.  While visiting our older daughter in Shenandoah, Iowa, one of the towns through which the Trace runs, I went there for my morning walk.  The wind was as chilly as that at home, although what surrounds the Trace is very different from that of my park in a Chicago suburb!  Here there was a cemetery, fields (both harvested and with corn still waiting on the stalk), windmills of the kind on my grandparents’ farm, not the enormous, sleek high-risers of today, and other rural surroundings.  My walk, however, was as calming to the soul and as good for the body, which is, after all, why I walk.







  1. ledrakenoir says:

    Really a great singer, Cash have always been one of mine absolutly favorites – have heard about the trail but never seen it even not like this – wonderful… 🙂

    • Good morning, Drake. I’m happy you enjoyed seeing the little slice of the Wabash Trace. I now have the song in my head and can’t get it out. 🙂 Enjoy your day!


  2. M-R says:

    Nice to learn about these famous place names ! 🙂

  3. I would like to travel via train through the whole country, even when it will be just a dream, I sometimes ponder about such a trip :o)

    • That would be fun, wouldn’t it? We used to take the train sometimes when I was a child but other than trains in Europe, I haven’t taken any for year.


  4. Stunning photos! Your daughter has chosen a gorgeous area to live in.

  5. words4jp says:

    Beautiful photos;)

  6. Great photos. I love Johnny Cash too. He is on my playlist. Your photos certainly suit his music. 😀

  7. Now I’ll be singing Johnny Cash all evening. 🙂 Your daughter found a beautiful place to spend the next 6 months!

  8. Done a number of train videos so enjoyed your take on the Wabash with Johnny Cash.