Accumulated anthropogenic heavy metals in the surface layer of agricultural soils may be transferred through the food chain via plant uptake processes. The objectives of this study were to assess the spatial distribution of lead (Pb) in the soils and wheat plants and to determine the soil properties which may affect the Pb transferring from soil to wheat plants in Zanjan Zinc Town area, northwestern Iran. A total of 110 topsoil samples (0-20 cm) were systematically collected from an agricultural area near a large metallurgical factory for the analyses of physico-chemical properties and total and bioavailable Pb concentrations. Furthermore, a total of 65 wheat samples collected at the same soil sampling locations were analyzed for Pb concentration in different plant parts. The results showed that elevated Pb concentrations were mostly found in soils located surrounding the industrial source of pollution. The bioavailable Pb concentration in the studied soils was up to 128.4 mg kg(-1), which was relatively high considering the observed soil alkalinity. 24.6 % of the wheat grain samples exceeded the FAO/WHO maximum permitted concentration of Pb in wheat grain (0.2 mg kg(-1)). Correlation analyses revealed that soil organic matter, soil pH, and clay content showed insignificant correlation with Pb concentration in the soil and wheat grains, whereas calcium carbonate content showed significantly negative correlations with both total and bioavailable Pb in the soil, and Pb content in wheat grains, demonstrating the strong influences of calcium carbonate on Pb bioavailability in the polluted calcareous soils.