Hanging Rock Park
A block west off the Raccoon River Valley Trail at the end of Jefferson Street is the trail to Hanging Rock Park. This beautiful park is found on the southern side of Redfield. It’s the perfect location for taking in nature, fishing, picnicking, hiking or using as a cycling trailhead.
At the park’s entrance is the former Goodwin farmstead. Robert Goodwin was well known within the Redfield community. He owned the brickyard, served as mayor, was in the US Naval Reserve during World War II and was also an Iowa congressman.
Mr. Goodwin’s granddaughter, Ann Hintz, donated the farmstead to the Dallas County Conservation Board to be preserved and maintained. The house is no longer there but the tile dairy barn and equipment shed are. The shed now serves as a picnic shelter and fireplace area that can be rented. Restrooms and showers are also located there. Just west of the barn is a prairie trail and an astrological clock built into the earth.
The gem of the park is the riverbank of Middle Raccoon River. The river travels through Hanging Rock Park and is a popular canoeing trail. The sandstone ledges provide not only beautiful scenery for paddlers but peddlers as well. The bike trail conveniently ends at this scenic spot. The stone, beautifully sculptured by nature, the trees overhead, and the river rushing by creates an atmosphere you can’t find anywhere else along the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
Next time you’re riding through Redfield, steer your bike in the direction of Hanging Rock Park. It’s a nature-filled treasure with a touch of Iowa history.
Park Hours: May - October : 8 am to 10 pm November through April - weather permitting.
The Garden Barn
Just west of Summerset State Park on highway G24 stands a white beam barn. Built in 1886 this historic barn is no longer home to farm animals but a cozy gift shop filled with home and garden decor.
Only open from April until Christmas, this is a must-visit spot for anyone who enjoys gardening, antiques, and interior decorating. The Garden Barn is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons. They also have several open houses during the year with additional hours available for shopping.
On my visit I enjoyed browsing vintage items, jewelry, and fairy gardens. There was even free coffee and hot cider to sip while looking over the beautiful displays.
Outside the barn is a lovely display garden complete with a gazebo, coop of doves, and garden art. Touring the garden is always a treat. I always leave inspired to go home and get busy in my own garden.
The next time you’re bike ride plans include Summerset Trail, make time for a visit to The Garden Barn. You’re bound to find a beautiful treasure.
Grimes Farm and Conservation Center
Just off the Linn Creek Recreational Trail and the Highway 330 Trail, this peaceful spot west of Marshalltown shows visitors the beautiful results of relentless work to heal abused Iowa farmland.
In 1964 Leonard and Mildred Grimes wanted to find a quiet place in the country to raise their family. After purchasing 700 acres of poor quality farmland the family began the process of reforestation and prairie restoration. In the early 1990’s portions of their land were donated to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to ensure the results of their hard work were preserved. A conservation center was built in 2003 to provide an environmental educational facility and a home for the Marshall County Conservation Board.
Visitors can choose from six hiking paths to see examples of what Iowa landscape originally looked like. Paths travel through hardwood forests, restored prairie, and wetlands. Each year 5th and 6th graders from local schools take field trips to the farm and spend a day learning about conservation and ecology.
Grimes Farm and Conservation Center is free to the public and open year round. Activities and learning opportunities take place throughout the year.
I had the fortune of visiting the farm with my brother who is a forestry major at Iowa State. We walked several of the hiking paths stopping at Mildred’s tower. 30 feet in the air provided a fantastic vantage point for seeing the results of the Grimes family’s hard work. Walking through the forestry planting area my brother explained the drop seed reforestation method used by Leonard and identified trees and plants for me. After continuing our hike through the timber along Linn Creek and through Rogers Meadow we stopped in at the Conservation Center to admire the nature exhibits.
With two routes accessible from the farm, this is this is a great bike ride destination and an Iowa must-see trailside attraction.
Albert The Bull
An Audubon resident since 1964, a red and white Hereford bull greets folks beginning or ending their bike ride on the T-Bone Trail.
With his very own city park as home, Albert The Bull is the worlds largest bull. Made of concrete Albert is 30 feet high and weighs 45 tons. Big blue eyes and long eyelashes are some of his distinguishing features.
Over 20,000 people visit this huge Hereford each year. Nearby is a kiosk for visitors to see pictures of Albert’s construction and hear him tell his story.
He was built as a tribute the to Iowa’s cattle and it’s impact to the Audubon community. Albert was was named after Albert Kruse, the founder of Operation T-Bone, a project in the early 1900’s that brought Iowa beef to Chicago markets.
Plan a bike ride on the T-Bone Trail and stop to this hard-to-miss bull named Albert.
Forest Park Museum and Arboretum
Flanked by restored prairie, a trail spur along the Raccoon River Valley Trail south of Perry leads cyclists to Forest Park Museum and Arboretum. The complex got it’s start back in the 1940’s when a man named Eugene Hastie planted rows of native trees and shrubs and compiled his trove of local artifacts to share with others. Over the years the collection evolved into a exhibit. The museum is free to the public and is open every day May through October.
Entering the museum you quickly go back into time. The impressive collection of historical items ranges from vehicles and farm equipment to toys and games. An interesting yet puzzling structure is also on display. The Dynamo It was built by Henry Nelson who was an inventor from the Redfield area. It’s a huge in proportions and beautiful carved from walnut. Unfortunately no one is quite sure what the intentions of the invention was!
There is also plenty to explore outside. Three historical buildings from around Dallas County were relocated to the peaceful spots under the trees. A log cabin, schoolhouse, and scale house all now reside here and are well cared after. As a former teacher, I found the schoolhouse very interesting. With work on the chalkboard and books on the desks it felt as though the students had just left for the day.
The complex is also home to the offices of Dallas County Conservation. Cyclists can purchase RRVT trail permits here and also get an up-close view of some habitat found in Iowa.
On your next ride through the Perry area, allocate some time in your ride schedule for a visit to Forest Park Museum and Arboretum. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find!
A creative concept has been capturing the attention of people enjoying The Heart of the Warrior trail.
In efforts to promote literacy and foster fitness, the city of Waukee has completed the trailside project Waukee StoryWalk .
“We’re Going on A Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury is the book featured in the debut of the trail activity. Appealing to beginning readers, and those young at heart, the story is broken into two-page segments on large book shaped displays. Each page has a coordinating activity to get readers moving and using their imagination while traveling down the trail.
On my visit to the trail several people had stopped to read the book. Older readers were finding themselves remembering this childhood classic. With a new story featured each month, residents young and old alike will be sure to visit often to see what is to read along the bike trail.
Well done Waukee!
Patrick's Restaurant - Great Food Along the Raccoon River Valley Trail
Located only feet from the Raccoon River Valley Trail, this Adel restaurant is hard to miss. The casual atmosphere and friendly staff makes you feel welcomed and gives cyclists a great spot to take a break from a ride.
Breakfast is served until 11:00 AM during the workweek, 2:00 on Saturday, and 1:00 on Sunday. There's nothing small about the pancake short stack. Two big fluffy cakes certainly don’t leave you hungry. Eggs made over-easy are cooked to perfection and arrive steaming hot.
Want lunch? With over 15 sandwiches and 8 sides to choose from different it can get hard to decide. Their pattymelt and fries is one of my favorites.
Pie always pairs well with bike rides, and Patrick’s always has several homemade flavors to choose from. Make sure to leave room for dessert.
I haven’t visited for dinner yet, but when I do I’ll be sure to try one of their pizzas. Bob’s Speciality sounds awesome.
Planning a ride out to Adel? Patrick’s is a great destination.