OUR Communities

The seven communities located along the corridor of the future IRRT offer a diversity of amenities, attractions, celebrations and events, and many places for trail users to discover.

With towns conveniently separated by only a few miles along the entire corridor, trail users will have many options ranging from making a short trip between one or two communities anywhere along the route to spending an entire weekend or several days exploring the whole corridor while taking advantage of the many lodging or camping options available once the trail is developed!

Here is a brief preview of the seven communities located along the future Iowa River Rail Trail corridor:

(Pop. 27, 552)
Marshalltown Visitors & Convention BureauMarshalltown, a vibrant city located in the heart of Iowa, is the largest community along the corridor of the future Iowa River Rail Trail and is the southern terminus for the future trail. Marshalltown is home to several major comployers; Marshalltown Community College; the Iowa Veterans Home; the Fisher Community Center Art Gallery; a number of major retail stores; several parks and trails; and a charming downtown area full of shops, restaurants and other businesses. It is the county seat of Marshall County and a regional trade center for many of the surrounding communities.Marshalltown will feature a full compliment of amenities for trail users including many lodging options, camping, a bicycle shop, food and dining, supplies, and medical facilities.

(Pop. 2,732)
The Hardin County seat of Eldora is a prosperous community home to the historic Hardin County Courthouse and downtown square which just underwent a major remodeling and revitalization effort. Eldora features a new aquatic center; several restaurants, retail shops and unique businesses; a renovated movie theater; and several major employers and is home to the South Hardin High School. Adjacent to Eldora across the Iowa River is Pine Lake State Park, one of Central Iowa's most popular state areas offering camping, fishing, paddle sports, hiking and a host of other outdoor recreation opportunities. With what will be a paved trail winding through Pine Lake connecting Eldora with Steamboat Rock; this trail will eventually complete a several mile "loop" with the addition of the new Iowa River Rail Trail under development! Eldora is part of the Eldora-New Providence/South Hardin School District.

Eldora will offer trail users a full compliment of amenities including lodging, food/dining, convenience stores, camping, supplies and medical facilities

(Pop. 505)
Albion, a pleasant community located along Highway 330 linking the Des Moines metro area with Waterloo-Cedar Falls, overlooks the Iowa River valley and is home to a newly constructed library and museum; a large community center; and the "Market Off Main" -- a very unique store offering locally produced foods and items not often available at local supermarkets. Timmons Grove, a popular campground and nature preserve, is located just southwest of town on the banks of the Iowa River. Albion is part of the Marshalltown School District.

Trail amenities in Albion will include food and dining, a convenience store, and nearby camping.


Nestled in the Iowa River valley half way between Union and Eldora is Gifford, a pleasant village that was once a major railroad junction town where the north-south railroad line on which the IRRT is being built intersected with the east-west line of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad. Today, Gifford is home to several friendly residents; a couple of small businesses including a cafe and an active quarry adjacent to the future trail just south of town; and a local church. Every year on the Fourth of July, Gifford draws hundreds of people from around the area for one of the largest July 4th parades in this part of Central Iowa.

Trail amenities in Gifford will consist of food/dining.


(Pop. 310)

Steamboat Rock, the "Valley of Friendliness", is a picturesque community nestled in the beautiful Iowa River greenbelt and is the current northern terminus of the proposed IRRT. The Steamboat Rock school building has been converted from a school into a multi purpose facility hosting a number of community events, shops and a restaurant. The nearby Steamboat Rock Historical Society is home to a number of local artifacts and hosts theater like programs bringing the history of this part of Hardin County to life. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Steamboat Rock Boat Club serves breakfast every Sunday morning drawing people from a wide area. Several Iowa River greenbelt areas are located within close proximity to Steamboat Rock offering countless opportunities to explore the beauty of the Iowa River Valley. Steamboat Rock is part of the AGWSR (Ackley-Geneva-Wellsburg-Steamboat Rock) School District.Trail amenities in Steamboat Rock will include food/dining, a convenience store and camping.


(Pop. 301)

“Just a little street where old friends meet” describes Liscomb, a former railroad town along the Iowa River Railroad. Liscomb is part of the BCLUW (Beaman, Conrad, Liscomb, Union, Whitten) School District.


(Pop. 397)

Union is located in the southeast corner of Hardin County on the bluffs of the beautiful Iowa River and is part of the Iowa River Greenbelt. While the community was historically a hub for lumber, flour and coal, today Union’s primary industry is agriculture and is one of the richest agricultural areas in the world. Each summer, the community supports Tar Heel Days, which celebrates the first settlers who came from North Carolina. Union features a golf course with a restaurant and is in close proximity to two Hardin County parks along the Iowa River, including Daisy Long park which features a campground. Union is also part of the BCLUW (Beaman, Conrad, Liscomb, Union, Whitten) School District.