The Mississippi River Trail (MRT) is a 10-state cycling route under development. When complete, the MRT will link more than 2,000 miles of recreational trails in 10 states, including 335 miles in Iowa. The entire trail extends from the headwaters of the Mississippi at Lake Itasca, Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, winding its way through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana. The MRT is one of 16 National Millennium Trails and is described as a world-class cycling route on America’s world-class river.
The Iowa portion of the MRT was evaluated in 2003 to determine the best location for the route in Iowa. During development of the MRT plan, it was determined that in order to more quickly and economically begin implementing the route in Iowa, the majority of the trail would utilize the existing highway system, where feasible. Of the 335 miles of MRT in Iowa, 75 miles are recommended along primary highways, 140 miles along county roads, and 80 miles within municipalities. In addition, 20 miles of shared-use paths will need to be constructed. Some portions of the trail in Muscatine and Scott Counties will also serve as the American Discovery Trail.