Mar 13, 2023 - News

New Ankeny hotels focus on bike tourism from High Trestle Trail

Cyclists ride along the High Trestle Trail bridge on July 22, 2019 in Madrid, Iowa. Photo: KC McGinnis/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Two new hotels in Ankeny aim to take advantage of bicycle tourism from the High Trestle Trail.

Driving the news: Staybridge Suites is scheduled to open adjacent to the trail this fall, while a nearby Holiday Inn Express opened last year.

  • The hotels, which offer 107 rooms and 94 rooms respectively, are both near the new High Trestle Trail overpass over Oralabor Road and off SE Hulsizer Drive.

Why it matters: The 25-mile High Trestle Trail route goes from Ankeny to Woodward and features one of the longest trail bridges in the world.

  • The hotels are a part of Ankeny officials' plans to leverage the trail and attract cyclists to the city.

Zoom in: For years, it was difficult for cyclists staying in Ankeny to connect with the trail from a hotel. Lodging options were on the east side of the interstate while the trail was on the west side, Derek Lord, Ankeny's economic development director, tells Axios.

  • The new hotels on the west side of I-35 will make it easier for visitors to hop on their bikes and ride.

By the numbers: : In 2019, the city of Ankeny conducted a study showing that 250,000 people visit the High Trestle Trail bridge annually and around 18% of them are from out of state.

  • Surveys of trail users also showed that out of 200 people riding the trail, 10% of them stayed overnight at a hotel, while 90% said the trail was an important part of their decision to stay in Ankeny.

The big picture: There's big money in being a bicycle destination, Lord says. City officials estimate overnight visitors spend about $242 a day in Ankeny and on the trail.

What's next: Officials are currently discussing adding more amenities to the Ankeny side of the trail which would serve as a "bookend" to the bridge at the north end.

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