ABOUT THE LOOP
After serving as a railroad right-of-way beginning in the 1800s, the Raccoon River Valley Trail now attracts more than 350,000 Iowans and tourists every year.
The Raccoon River Valley Trail uses the former right-of-way of a railroad built in the 1870s and early 1880s to connect the city of Des Moines with the Iowa Great Lakes region in the northwest part of the state.
Now, more than 350,000 outdoor enthusiasts enjoy scenic views of prairies and woodlands, convenient stops for food, drink and camping, and history and art. The trail is a unique Iowa attraction and was a 2021 inductee into the national Rail-to-Trail Conservancy’s “Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.” It is also an important segment in the Great American Rail-Trail, spanning across the U.S.
Stretching from north (Jefferson) then southeast (Waukee), the trail passes through 14 communities and offers rest stops approximately every six miles.
The Raccoon River Valley Trail is owned and managed by the conservation boards of Greene, Guthrie and Dallas Counties. The Raccoon River Valley Trail Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit membership group, works to promote the trail, facilitate tourism and further economic development initiatives along the 89-mile trail path.
A new organization, the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association, was formed in early 2006 to market and promote the Raccoon River Valley Trail in central Iowa. We also work with communities all along the trail within the three managing counties to help develop new businesses and attractions that will interest trail users and other tourists.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association relies on the support of individuals and organizations to keep our historic trail in good shape. Our partners and sponsors understand the value of having scenic, historical and nationally recognized opportunities for Iowans and tourists to enjoy our state while supporting our local businesses. We hope you'll consider joining us by purchasing a trail pass and/or partnering with us financially as a friend or sponsor!