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The Scoop on the Loop | May 2023

2023 RRVT Trail Passes on Sale Now

Finally, some nice weather! It’s a great time to purchase your 2023 Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) trail pass—it’s easy to do and a wonderful way to support the trail. For just $25, you’ll become a "Friend of the Trail", which buys your trail pass ($10), and $15 goes to RRVT Association to support promotional and economic development efforts. Every “Friend of the Trail” purchase helps keep the trail an exciting destination for Iowans and tourists alike!

Iowa Great Places

If you’ve been on the Raccoon River Valley Trail, you may have seen one of these signs over the past decade. In 2015, the RRVT was designated as one of Iowa’s Great Places by the Department of Cultural Affairs. The Great Places program helps the state’s growth and economic prosperity by highlighting the unique and authentic qualities of various areas throughout Iowa and the many great places to live, work and visit.

The Great Places designation is a unique and noteworthy accomplishment and is enhanced by funding that accompanies the designation. The RRVT used the Great Places grant of $200,000 and other public and private funds to create the signature Trailhead Gateway in Waukee entitled “In the Shadow of the Rails.” This artwork reflects and celebrates the railroad heritage shared by all RRVT communities. Replicas of “In the Shadow of the Rails” installations are now placed within almost all towns along the trail, establishing a shared identity for promoting and marketing the RRVT and its 14 communities.

The Great American Rail-Trail

A vision for a rail-trail spanning the entire country was originally cast in the mid-1980s. Today, more than half of the Great American Rail-Trail route is complete, according to the Rails-to Trails-Conservancy. Trail criteria were developed to ensure the Great American Rail-Trail would provide safe, non-motorized travel on a route that is entirely bikeable and walkable. These criteria specify that the trail be one contiguous, reasonably direct route between Washington, D.C. and Washington State.

The RRVT, along with several other Iowa trails, is proud to be part of the Great American Rail-Trail. Traveling from east to west, the trail is envisioned to enter Iowa in Davenport and exit the state from Council Bluffs.

There are currently more than 95 gaps on the Great American Rail-Trail across the United States with several in Iowa. Two of those involve the RRVT, one of which—the connection between the High Trestle Trail and RRVT—will be closed next year. The other will require extending the RRVT from Herndon to Coon Rapids, approximately 17 miles. A plan has been in place for more than six years for this extension work. That city holds an Iowa Department of Transportation grant to complete nine of the miles between Herndon to the end of a disused rail corridor just east of Bayard. There is no estimate yet as to when this may be completed.

Closing all of these gaps takes time and money, reasons why the Great American Rail-Trail is years away from completion. We look forward to the day it will be done!

Additional information on the Great American Rail-Trail can be found here.

Events Happening Soon

Two of the bigger annual events that take place on the Raccoon River Valley Trail are drawing closer. Coming up on May 20th is the Market-to-Market relay. The relay spans approximately 75 miles across a scenic and varied course, including the RRVT, paved streets and gravel back roads from Jefferson to downtown Des Moines.

Every year, RRVT Association board members help with the relay to raise money for trail amenities and promotional activities.

For more information on Market-to-Market, see their webpage.

The Bacoon Ride, a highly anticipated annual bike ride, takes place June 17th and winds through several towns along the RRVT. The clever name combines the beloved Iowa food “bacon” with “Raccoon”, our trail namesake.

The 71-mile loop starts and ends in Waukee and encourages cyclists to stop in each town along the way to indulge in bacon-themed food and drinks, providing a delicious and enjoyable experience. With Bacoon Ride swag giveaways, the event also supports local charities, making it both fun and philanthropic.

Visit the Bacoon Ride website for more information!

Big Bike Give

On May 23, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition is organizing the Big Bike Give, a one-day fundraising event for the Iowa bike community to discover and connected with various organizations working to elevate bicycling in our state.

Learn about vetted nonprofit organizations that support and promote biking and bike trails through the event website and donate between midnight to 11:59 p.m. on May 23rd.

The RRVT will be a participating organization collecting donations that day. Watch for additional information via e-mail, Facebook and the website as the date draws closer. Visit here for a list of event FAQs and how the event works.

Trail Improvements in 2023

The major RRVT renovation in 2023 will happen between Redfield and Linden where crews will complete bridge construction and resurface the entire six-mile stretch with concrete. That section of the trail will be closed once construction begins; however, work is not expected to begin until July, so enjoy a couple months riding the entire loop!

For repair-work updates, keep an eye on RRVT Association Facebook page, our website and on the trail itself.





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