The Summerset Trail is a 12-mile paved trail that links the communities of Indianola and Carlisle in central Iowa. Both cities have proper signage at their individual trailheads, and you can begin from either Indianola or Carlisle. It would take about five hours to walk from one city to the other, so many people bike the trail or complete a portion of it on foot. Bring your dog along for a walk or bike ride on the trail, but be sure to keep them on a leash.
Beginning in Indianola, the trail connects with the McVay Trail for more than a mile, before the Summerset Trail continues on to Carlisle. You'll have to be patient at the beginning of your walk, because there are a few road crossings without signals where you'll have to wait until it's safe to cross. Once you make it past the road crossings, you'll enter a much more rural area with heavy tree cover and peaceful surroundings.
About halfway through the trail, you'll come out of the tree cover and approach the Summerset State Park area. Making a detour here to enjoy the water views is highly recommended! Once you're back on the trail, you'll continue to farmlands with brilliant yellow wildflowers and other sights to behold. You'll reach the end of the trail near a suburban community in Carlisle, so you're likely to see more young families and kids at this end of the trail.
The Indianola trailhead has restrooms and water fountains, but it's always recommended to bring your own water, and of course, a supply of doggie bags. There are pit toilets at the Carlisle trailhead, as well as at Summerset State Park. Free parking is also available at both trailheads and the state park.
This beautiful walk is not only a convenient way to get from town to town, but it also makes for a lovely stroll with your furry companion!