Hall of Fame Trail
In 2021, the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) became the 35th U.S. trail to be inducted into the Rails to Trail Conservancy Hall of Fame. More than 38,000 national public votes were cast in the contest, a record-breaking number of votes for the event. RRVT garnered approximately 16,000 votes, 42% overall, besting trails from Delaware and New Hampshire.
Hall of Fame trails are recognized for outstanding scenic value, high use, trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management, trail maintenance, community connections, geographic distribution and community value. Owned by the conservation boards of the three counties it traverses—Dallas, Greene and Guthrie—RRVT uniquely offers the public recreational access to Iowa nature and picturesque settings.
“The 89-mile Raccoon River Valley Trail is incredible—I’ve experienced it firsthand! It is a stunning example of the powerful role trails play in building community and connecting the past, present and future of a place,” said Brandi Horton, Rails to Trails Conservancy vice president of communications. “This trail is an invaluable asset to the entire country and an engine for health, wellness, tourism and economic activity for the communities it serves. It’s no surprise that the trail received a record-breaking number of votes.”
When RRVT first opened in 1989, few major trails existed in Iowa. It was enthusiastically embraced by locals and regional visitors alike. The trail serves as a tourist engine and vital asset for health and wellness opportunities while also bringing together recreation enthusiasts through various programs and events, from statewide races to local 5k’s.
“Winning the vote has brought the Raccoon River Valley Trail national attention and trail enthusiast tourism to central Iowa,” said Mike Wallace, executive director of the Dallas County Conservation Board and board member of the RRVT Association. “It was great to see trail users’ support, excitement and sense of pride for the Raccoon River Valley Trail during the entire Rail-Trail Hall of Fame process.”
The communities surrounding the trail also benefit from the trail’s recognition, said Andrea Boulton, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation trails and greenways program director. “When they see the Raccoon River Valley Trail get that national recognition, they’re like, ‘Look what’s happening here in Iowa!’” she explained. “It’s an amazing facility, and we can have more of that in the state—it’s a prime example of what’s possible.”
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!