Raccoon River Valley Trail
Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) is a rail trail running 56 miles (90 km) from Waukee, Iowa, to Jefferson, Iowa. In 2013, an additional 33.1-mile (53.3 km) north loop was completed on the RRVT, making the RRVT nearly 90 miles (140 km) of paved trails and having a paved interior loop of more than 72 miles (116 km). The 39-mile (63 km) portion of the trail from Waukee to Herndon is part of the American Discovery Trail, which runs between Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware and Point Reyes near the Bay Area of California. In Iowa, the American Discovery Trail will be concurrent with U.S. Bicycle Route 50 (see United States Numbered Bicycle Routes).
The recreational trail runs through the counties of Polk, Dallas, Guthrie, and Greene in Iowa. It is a paved trail, mainly asphalt, though three sections are concrete. One concrete section extends from Jefferson south for four miles (6 km). Another concrete section is a twelve-mile (20 km) section connecting Linden, Panora, and Yale. Constructed during 2010-2013, the 33.1-mile (53.3 km) North Loop, which runs between Dawson and Waukee through Perry, Minburn, and Dallas Center, is the third concrete section.
In downtown Perry on Saturday, June 1, 2013, the grand opening of the new 33 mile "north loop" included food and beverage vendors; a bicycle poker run from 9:00 until 12:30 with cards at Waukee, Dallas Center, Minburn, Forest Park Museum, Perry, the bicycle bridge over the North Raccoon River west of Perry, Dawson, and Jamaica. See the "north loop" Grand Opening flyer for more.
Between Yale and Ortonville, which is a trail head 3 miles east of Adel, the 31 miles (50 km) of trail is very scenic and mostly tree covered. The north loop between Herndon and Waukee, is wider, nearly flat, and is much more exposed to the sun and wind.
By 2007, the conservation board directors estimated that more than 125,000 people use this trail each year. In 2014, the Dallas County Conservation Department estimated over 330,000 trail users of the RRVT annually.
Locations of trailheads
North Loop RRVT
The RRVT trail between Waukee and Yale runs along the rail line established in 1881 as a narrow-gauge line of the Des Moines Western Railroad, which became part of the Wabash Railroad. About 10 years later, the Milwaukee Road took over the line and converted it to standard gauge. Passenger service ended along the line in 1952. Freight service continued along the line until 1987. In 1982, the Chicago & North Western purchased the line. In 1987, the Central Iowa Energy Cooperative (CIECO), an affiliate of the Central Iowa Power Company, purchased the line and hundreds of acres of land located south of Panora, Iowa. CIECO intended to build a coal-fired power plant on the land it had acquired south of Panora, near the railroad line. However, plans for this power plant were abandoned. Much of the land that was to have been the site of the power plant was placed in the 1,236-acre (5.00 km2) Lennon Mill Wildlife Area south of Panora. In late 1987, CIECO, Iowa Trails, and the Conservation Boards of Dallas and Guthrie Counties agreed to develop the railroad line as a recreational trail.
On October 7, 1989, the first section of the Raccoon River Valley Trail opened. In 1990, 34 miles (55 km) of this paved trail were opened between Waukee, and Yale. North of Yale, the RRVT lies along an old Union Pacific Railroad line which was abandoned in the late 1990s. In 1997, the trail was extended with a paved trail from Yale to Jefferson. In 1999, the trail was extended with a 5 miles (8.0 km) paved trail link from Waukee to the 11.3 miles (18.2 km) Clive Greenbelt Trail in Clive.
The 33.1-mile (53.3 km) North Loop is an additional paved branch from Herndon through Perry to Waukee. This paved branch follows the old Union Pacific Railroad line which was abandoned in late 2005. From Herndon, it travels through Jamaica and then northern Dallas County to Dawson, Perry, Minburn, Dallas Center, and then to Waukee. On May 14, 2011, the six mile (10 km) concrete segment from Dawson to Perry opened for use. A six-mile (10 km) concrete segment from Waukee to Dallas Center opened for use on October 15, 2011 On December 15, 2012, the section from Perry through Minburn to Dallas Center was completed.
In downtown Perry at noon on Saturday, June 1, 2013, the grand opening of the new 33 mile "north loop" occurred with Chuck Offenburger as Master of Ceremonies and a keynote speech by Kevin Cooney. See the "north loop" Grand Opening flyer for more.
Connections to other trails
Future connections to other trails
A connection is planned at Herndon to the 22-mile (35 km) Krushchev in Iowa Trail in northern Guthrie County. This link will give Coon Rapids, Bayard, and Bagley a paved trail connected to the RRVT.
Another future 9-mile (14 km) connector will link the RRVT at Perry to Woodward and the 25-mile (40 km) High Trestle Trail which is in northern Polk and Dallas counties and southern Boone and Story counties. In the middle of April 2016, the Dallas County Supervisors approved the connecting route between the two trails. The connector will depart Perry along Park Avenue. Then, it will be generally alongside 130th Street in Dallas County travelling through Bouton to Woodward utilizing both the existing railroad bed and road shoulders. In 2016 from Perry to US 169, 130th Street is a 3-mile (4.8 km) crushed limestone rock road in Dallas County. From US 169 to Bouton, the trail will be near the .7-mile (1.1 km) 128th Place in Dallas County which is a crushed limestone road lying just north of Beaver Creek. Between Bouton and Woodard, 130th Street, also known as CR R30, is a 4-mile (6.4 km) paved concrete road. The $5 million connector is expected to be completed by 2022.
Beginning in February, 2009, when at least 4 inches (10 cm) of snow covers the paved trail, the Raccoon Valley Snow Chasers (RVSC) groom the paved trail. The RRVT between Jefferson and Waukee along with the North Loop is part of a larger winter activities trail network of over 200 miles (320 km). During the winter, this groomed trail is ideal for both cross country skiers and snowmobilers.
Raccoon Valley Snow Chasers (RVSC)
Search social media pages for "Raccoon Valley Snow Chasers" to get current information for snowmachines on the Raccoon River Valley Trail. Created July 28, 2010, the RVSC social media page contains a timeline of past events.
Raccoon Valley Snow Chasers (RVSC):
- Monthly meetings, usually on the 2nd Thursday at the Lake Panorama Conference Center near Panora
- Summer campouts, often in July at Springbrook State Park near Yale
- Summer outings, often in August, at the main beach, also known as boulder beach, on the east side of Lake Panorama near Panora
- Fall grass drags, often on the 2nd or 3rd Sunday in November or the 1st Sunday in December, at the Flack river farm five miles west of Jefferson—just south of Highway 30 and just west of county road P14
- Winter ice drags, often the 2nd Sunday in February, at the main beach, also known as boulder beach, on the east side of Lake Panorama near Panora
- Winter rides, sometimes in other nearby states: near Cable, Wisconsin at Lake Namekagon during the 2nd week of February in 2014
- DNR-certified Iowa snowmobile safety classes for youths ages 11 to 18, often the 2nd Saturday in December, at the Lake Panorama Association (LPA) Conference Center near Panora
- http://www.co.dallas.ia.us/conservation/images/maps/RRVT4_loop.pdf Map of Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) Dallas County Conservation Board website retrieved July 17, 2009
- http://www.iowadotmaps.com/msp/pdf/bikemap.pdf Transportation Map for Bicyclists, 2009 edition, (see trail #35) Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) website retrieved July 17, 2009
- "Transportation Map for Bicyclists (2015 ed.)" (PDF). , (see trail #42) Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) website. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "Transportation Map for Bicyclists (2009 ed.)" (PDF). , (see trail #35) Iowa DOT website. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 11, 2009. Retrieved October 27, 2010.
- http://www.discoverytrail.org/ American Discovery Trail website, retrieved October 21, 2010
- http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/nbrn/USBRSStatusReport.pdf An Update Concerning the U.S. Bicycle Route System: Getting It Done, States Move Quickly toward Implementation September 2010, retrieved October 28, 2010
- http://fastlane.dot.gov/2010/07/us-bicycle-route-system-begins-connecting-america.html US Bicycle Route System begins connecting America US DOT website July 2, 2010, retrieved October 28, 2010
- http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/us-bicycle-route-system/national-corridor-plan/ United States Bicycle Route System: National Corridor Plan 2013 retrieved May 29, 2013
- http://www.waukee.org/images/content/files/maps/dallascenter_waukee_trailribboncutting_invite.pdf Ride to the Ribbon flyer, www.waukee.org website, retrieved October 17, 2011
- Hanson, Eric (September 28, 2011). "New Trail to Connect 15 Iowa Towns". KCCI-TV. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
- Offenburger, Chuck (December 15, 2012). "Great News! The Raccoon River Valley Trail is completed between Dallas Center and Minburn,...". Raccoon River Valley Trail Association. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- Offenburger, Chuck (January 15, 2012). "Grand Opening is set for Saturday June 1, ...". Raccoon River Valley Trail Association. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- http://www.dallascenter.com/dallascenter-coming-rrvt.php "Dallas Center coming RRVT", www.dallascenter.com website, retrieved October 21, 2010
- http://www.traillink.com/trail/raccoon-river-valley-trail.aspx Raccoon River Valley Trail Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website September 4, 2010, retrieved October 21, 2010
- http://raccoonrivervalleytrail.org/history/ RRVT History Raccoon River Valley Trail Association website, retrieved July 14, 2009
- "Let's Connect" (PDF). "Let's Connect" fundraising committee and Dallas County Conservation Department. July 11, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- http://www.co.dallas.ia.us/index.aspx?page=886 Raccoon River Valley Trail Dallas County website retrieved February 19, 2010
- http://www.guthriecounty.org/gccb/index_files/parks.htm#lenon Lennon Mill Wildlife Area Guthrie County Conservation Board website retrieved July 14, 2009
- http://www.inhf.org/racrivertrail.htm Raccoon River Valley Trail to close gap Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) website October 1999 retrieved July 17, 2009
- http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20332607&BRD=2020&PAG=461&dept_id=231738&rfi=8 Raccoon River Valley Trail Guthrie Center Times June 17, 2009, retrieved July 17, 2009
- http://raccoonrivervalleytrail.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/RRVT-Ribbon-Cutting-Poster.pdf RRVT Ribbon Cutting Poster, Raccoon River Valley Trail Association website, retrieved October 17, 2011
- http://raccoonrivervalleytrail.org/2011/05/perry-and-dawson-are-already-showing-the-impact-of-having-a-fine-new-recreational-trail-coming-through-your-town-since-the-formal-opening-of-an-8-mile-portion-of-the-raccoon-river-valley-trail-throu/ Perry and Dawson are already showing the impact..., Raccoon River Valley Trail website, May 26, 2011, retrieved October 17, 2011
- http://raccoonrivervalleytrail.org/2012/06/bummer-its-been-discovered-that-a-100-year-old-concrete-box-culvert-carrying-a-creek-under-the-former-railroad-right-of-way-in-the-west-part-of-the-town-of-jamaica-is-dangerously-deteriorated-an/ Bummer! Completion date for the Raccoon River Valley Trail's new "North Loop" now delayed..., Raccoon River Valley Trail Association website, June 14, 2012, retrieved June 27, 2012
- http://www.inhf.org/trails/central-iowa-trail-network.cfm Central Iowa Trails Network Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) website retrieved July 14, 2009
- http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20311428&BRD=2020&PAG=461&dept_id=231738&rfi=8 Corn Diplomacy Trail Guthrie Center Times, May 7, 2009, retrieved July 14, 2009
- http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20315290&BRD=2020&PAG=461&dept_id=231738&rfi=8 Corn Diplomacy Trail Guthrie Center Times, May 14, 2009, retrieved July 14, 2009
- http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20336286&BRD=2020&PAG=461&dept_id=231738&rfi=8 Trails Grant Guthrie Center Times, June 25, 2009, retrieved July 14, 2009
- http://www.inhf.org/trails/high_trestle_trail/a2w-hightrestletrail-news-5-09.htm Partners approve new trail identity as bridge construction proceeds Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) website, released May 18, 2009, retrieved February 22, 2010
- http://www.a2wtrail.org/ NEW NAME: Ankeny to Woodward Trail has a New Name and Logo Ankeny to Woodward Trail website released June 2009 retrieved February 22, 2010
- http://www.inhf.org/trails/high-trestle.cfm High Trestle Trail Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) website, retrieved June 21, 2012
- http://www.traillink.com/trail/high-trestle-trail-(ankeny-to-woodward-recreation-trail).aspx High Trestle Trail TrailLink website, retrieved June 21, 2012
- "Dallas County Conservation Board Holds Public Hearing on Trail Connnector". Raccoon Valley Radio. May 19, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "Perry City Administrator Impressed with Attendance and Input at Conservation Board's Trail Connector Meeting". Raccoon Valley Radio. May 20, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "Perry Industries and Perry Economic Development Voice Preference in "Alignment A" for the Trail Connector Project". Raccoon Valley Radio. May 21, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "Dallas County Conservation Board Hosts Second Public Meeting in Regards to the Trail Connector Project". Raccoon Valley Radio. May 29, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "Dallas County Conservation Decides on Route for Connector Trail". Raccoon Valley Radio. April 18, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "Efforts to Connect Two Premier Recreational Trails Intensify". Raccoon Valley Radio. July 18, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "Connector Trail Project Receives $171,000 from the Iowa DOT". Raccoon Valley Radio. January 21, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- "Dallas County's Week Ahead: Connector Trail Route Selected, Perry's Road Resurfacing Project Starts Monday". Raccoon Valley Radio. April 17, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
- http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20392863&BRD=2020&PAG=461&dept_id=231738&rfi=8 Snowmobile Club Guthrie Center Times December 3, 2009, retrieved October 21, 2010
- http://raccoonrivervalleytrail.org/2009/12/numbers-on-the-raccoon-river-valley-trail-are-expected-to-jump-this-winter-with-snowmobilers-now-authorized-for-the-first-time-to-use-the-trail-in-all-three-counties-a-new-regional-snowmobile-club/ Numbers on the raccoon river valley trail are exprected to jump this winter with snowmobilers now authorized for the first time to use the trail in all three counties a new regional snowmobile club Raccoon River Valley Trail website December 19, 2009, retrieved October 21, 2010
- http://raccoonvalleysnowchasers.com/ Raccoon Valley Snow Chasers website
- http://raccoonvalleysnowchasers.com/uploads/RVSC2010mapfinal_1_.pdf Raccoon Valley Snow Chasers Snowmobile Trail Map 2010
- "north loop" Grand Opening flyer
- United States Bicycle Route System (USBR): National Corridor Plan - see USBR 50
- American Discovery Trail
- Raccoon River Valley Trail - Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) website
- Raccoon River Valley Trail - Chuck Offenburger's website
- RRVT - Mobile apps website
- Trail Map with trailheads
- Interactive Trail Map
- Central Iowa Trail System
- Central Iowa Trails Map
- Central Iowa Trails Network - overview from INHF
- Clive Greenbelt Trail INHF website
- Clive Greenbelt Trail City of Clive website
- High Trestle Trail INHF website
- Krushchev in Iowa Trail
- Bike Iowa
- Raccoon Valley Snow Chasers (RVSC). Search "Raccoon Valley Snow Chasers" on social media pages for current information.
- Raccoon Valley Snow Chasers Snowmobile Trail Map 2010