nature trail that extends from La Porte City east to Brandon
was originally the right-of-way of the Waterloo, Cedar Falls
and Northern (WCF&N) Railroad, or the "Cedar Valley
Road." The company was founded as a Waterloo horse
car line in 1885. By 1914 it extended from Cedar Rapids
to Waverly, with both freight and passenger service powered
by electricity. Passengers could make the 60-mile trip from
Waterloo to Cedar Rapids in 1917 in an hour and 45 minutes.
Freight took approximately three hours over the same route.
N continued its passenger service between Waterloo and Cedar
Rapids until 1956. The company eventually became part of
the Illinois Central Railroad, which later abandoned the
track between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids.
Iowa Rails to
Trails, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that acquires abandoned
railroad right-of-ways and converts them to nature trails,
has developed the 52-mile Cedar Valley Nature Trail. It
extends from Evansdale to Hiawatha along the former WCF&N
Trails, Inc. currently owns the 17-mile section of the trail
from La Porte City to Brandon. The trail takes hikers and
bikers along the Cedar River in an area of unusually diverse
geology. Limestone bluffs, oxbow lakes, windblown sand deposits,
and glacial boulders can all be seen along the route, as
can many types of plant and animal life. The trail provides
recreation for Iowans, as well as a glimpse into the natural
history of the Cedar River Valley.