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ITINERARY IDEAS
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One Day Rides

 

For a fulfilling one-day ride on the RRVT, there's a myriad of options to explore, but here are three suggested routes spanning approximately 20 to 25 miles each:

  • Waukee to Minburn – 12.6 miles One Way (25 miles round trip)
    • Embark on a picturesque 25-mile journey from Waukee to Dallas Center and Minburn along the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT). Waukee, a thriving Iowa community, boasts the iconic Railroad Pergola: "In the Shadow of the Rails," a striking public art installation marking the trail's gateway. This masterpiece symbolizes a regional vision to elevate RRVT into a premier visitor destination, celebrating shared railroad heritage.

    • Waukee's trailhead offers abundant amenities, including public restrooms, ample free parking, and a myriad of dining options. As you pedal towards Minburn, bask in the serene prairies and occasional tree canopies, surrounded by the vast expanse of corn and soybean fields during the growing season.

    • En route, the burgeoning town of Dallas Center beckons with modern trail amenities, including year-round heated restrooms, picnic areas, and the iconic Big Red Chair—a must-see photo spot. Indulge in local eateries, bars, and even an ice cream parlor before continuing your journey.

    • Finally, reach Minburn, affectionately known as the "Small Town with a Big Heart." Despite its modest size, Minburn welcomes trail users with dining options, a restored depot housing a restaurant, and nearby parks—all against the backdrop of a towering grain elevator. Enjoy a smooth ride on the concrete trail surface.

  • Linden to Panora to Yale – 12.6 miles One Way (25 miles round trip)
    • Explore a less-traveled but equally enchanting 25-mile route from Linden to Panora and Yale, unfolding diverse scenery of farmlands, wetlands, and prairies along the RRVT. Begin your adventure in Linden, once a central hub of baseball in central Iowa, where the trailhead provides shelter and parking, overlooking the historic baseball diamond where legends once played.

    • As you pedal into Guthrie County, Panora welcomes you with its rich history and array of amenities. Discover quaint restaurants, a scenic trailside garden, and the Guthrie County Historical Village—an immersive journey through the region's past.

    • Six miles from Panora lies Yale, offering a tranquil retreat with public facilities, nearby dining options, and a park adjacent to the trail. Marvel at the distinctive architecture of the Yale High School Gymnasium, a testament to the town's sporting legacy.

    • Embrace the charm and tranquility of each stop along this captivating round trip, immersing yourself in the scenic beauty and rich history of Iowa's heartland

  • Perry to Dawson – 6.2 miles (12 miles round trip)
    • Dawson has a great restroom and water facilities in a fully-restored train depot. On warm days, take a seat in the breezeway to help cool off. Note: these facilities are only open seasonally, so in the winter months the depot may not be open. There is a soda machine just to the north of the station across the road if you need an extra boost.
       

  • Dawson to Jamaica – 4.6 miles (8 miles round trip)
    • Jamaica is a nice stop if you'd like a beverage or need some food. Otherwise, you can keep trucking to Herndon!
       

  • Herndon to Dawson to – 12.6 miles One Way (25 miles round trip)
    • Riding the RRVT from Herndon to Jefferson promises cyclists a delightful 25-mile round trip journey through the heart of Iowa's picturesque countryside. Commencing in Herndon, cyclists can conveniently park at the trailhead and embark on their ride northward towards Jefferson.

    • Approximately six miles from Herndon lies the quaint unincorporated town of Cooper, home to the historic Cooper Way Station. The building once served as the office and scale house for the Milligan Bros Grain Company.  Recently refurbished, this station now boasts vibrant murals adorning its outer walls and provides amenities such as public restrooms, park benches, and green space. 

    • Continuing onward, cyclists encounter Winkleman Switch, named after the pioneer farmer Jacob Winkleman. Though never evolving into a formal town, this area housed railroad scales and served as a pivotal shipping point for grain and cattle. Noteworthy is the challenging railroad section featuring a steep grade, where trains were often split to ascend the hill. The trail then leads cyclists through a serene canopy of trees until reaching its highlight—the 600-foot-long trestle bridge spanning the North Raccoon River.

    • Arriving in Jefferson, cyclists are welcomed by the historic former Milwaukee Road depot. Jefferson caters to cyclists with a plethora of amenities, including dining options, beverages, and overnight accommodations. Moreover, the downtown area boasts a captivating attraction—the Mahanay Memorial Tower—offering visitors a panoramic view of the picturesque surroundings.

SUPPORT
THE LOOP!

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!

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