Two separate sections of the Raccoon River Valley Trail are currently open for use. The first and longest portion travels for 56 miles between Clive (west of Des Moines) in Dallas and Polk Counties and Jefferson in Greene County. From Clive, users of the trail will pass through the towns of Waukee, Ortonville, Adel, Redfield, Linden, and Panora, where the trail changes route to run due north through the towns of Yale, Herndon, and Cooper before reaching its endpoint in Jefferson.
The 'north loop' of the Raccoon River Valley Trail runs for 26.4 miles northwest from Waukee through the towns of Dallas Center, Minburn, and Perry. In Perry, the trail alters its course and runs due west to Dawson in Dallas County. In 2013, the entire north loop of the Raccoon River Valley Trail should be completed, extending the trail an additional 6.6 miles from Dawson through the town of Jamaica to Herndon. When finished, trail users will be able to travel uninterrupted for 33 miles from Waukee to Herndon.
The Raccoon River Valley Trail runs along an abandoned railroad right-of-way that was first built in the 1870s to carry rail traffic between Des Moines and the Great Lakes region. The route encompasses a wide range of landscapes, from suburban neighborhoods in the southeast to wooded stretches, prairie, farmland and small rural communities. Each town offers limited services and amenities.
To use the Raccoon River Valley Trail, you must pay a nominal fee (over 18s) per day, or you can buy a yearly pass. All proceeds go to the conservation boards in the three counties through which the trail passes, and the money is used for trail maintenance and improvements. You can get a permit in many offices and businesses along the trail (look for the signs), or you can put your fee in one of many lock boxes found along the route.
Snowmobiles can use the trail in winter, and pheasant hunting is allowed in fall and winter in Greene County only. In Clive, the Raccoon River Valley Trail links with the urban Clive Greenbelt Trail
You can access the Raccoon River Valley Trail from many places along the route. In Jefferson, access and parking is at the restored Jefferson Depot, CR E53 (old Highway 30). In Waukee, you can park at the intersection of US 6 and CR R22. Trailheads are also found in Adel, Ortonville, Redfield, Linden, Panora, Yale, Herndon, Cooper, Dallas Center, Minburn, Perry, and Dawson. For more information view the trail map
Construction on the "north loop" of the Raccoon River Valley Trail is continuing over the summer of 2012 with a projected completion in the spring of 2013. Currently, three segments are open. The stretch from Forest Park Museum, just south of Perry, through ...
I picked up the trail in Panora, heading toward Des Moines. Very clearly marked trail head and easy to follow instructions to submit money for the usage fee ($2 for a day, $10 for the year). Before you know it you are passing through gorgeous farm land ...
Work is well underway on the new "north loop" of the RRVT which will extend from the current trailhead in Waukee to Dallas Center, Minburn, Perry, Dawson, Jamaica and Herndon, where it will connect with the segment that runs between Yale and Cooper/Jefferson. ...