Zoom in on the Google maps version of Iowa State's central campus and you'll find "Golden Loop" labels on several sidewalks. The reference dates to the '90s, when university facilities and admissions staff created the semi-official tour route to showcase the beauty of campus.
Two decades later, Iowa State has grown considerably and moved well beyond a single iconic visitors' loop. Today, there are a variety of tour routes around campus, each tailored to prospective student and visitor interests and the time of year.
The phrase "Golden Loop" has disappeared almost everywhere but Google. The old loop is still around in spirit, however. Parents and students on admissions tours often follow paths that are quite similar to the old route. And facilities planning and management's campus services give the well-trod loop a little extra attention.
University employees looking for a pleasant walkabout over the noon hour or showing campus to visiting friends should enjoy this loop as well.
On the loop
The route essentially scoops the central campus loop and lawn south of the library, taking visitors (traveling clockwise) past Durham Center, Parks Library, The Hub, LeBaron Hall, MacKay Hall, Catt Hall, Curtiss Hall, the campanile, Memorial Union, Carver Hall, Enrollment Services, Pearson Hall and Marston Hall.
It's a .77 mile trip that hits many of the central university landmarks -- buildings, art, splendid plantings and charmingly knobby trees. For extra credit and mileage (.15 miles), visitors can do a small lap around the 118-year-old Marston water tower. Unfortunately, that tiny loop is presently off limits due to the Marston Hall remodeling.