Farther Than Expected

Trail: Raccoon River Valley Trail

Location: Adel to Redfield

Ride Length: Long

Surface:  Asphalt

Terrain: Flat with slight grades

Date:    3-23-2014

Time:    11:00

Weather: 20’s/Breezy/Sunny

Starting Point: Trailhead on west side of Adel

Ride Map

Trail Map

Trail Resources


  • It was officially spring, but the weather wasn’t complying.  The day was sunny but cold.  With the trails clear of snow and the winds at a light breeze I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go for a ride.

  • I chose to drive over to Adel and ride the southern segment of The Raccoon River Valley Trail.  It’s one of the longest paved trails in the United States.  Cyclists can ride up to 89 miles across three Iowa counties.  I parked at the trailhead on the western side of Adel and unpacked my gear.

  • I had brought along a travel mug filled with hot tea to enjoy on the ride and help keep me warm.  It fit nicely into my bottle cage and would no doubt come in handy.

  • After donning my winter gear I headed west towards Redfield wondering how long of a ride I could get in before the cold temperatures would send me back to the car.  I was anticipating needing to turn around where the trail intersects at K Avenue.  

  • The majority of this portion of trail is under the canopy of trees. Several spots have slight grades but the trail runs mostly flat.  There are a handful of  gravel road intersections to cross.  Unfortunately they are not paved like the crossings on the northern loop.  The RRVT in it’s entirety has 8 crossings yet to be paved.  While grants have been obtained by Dallas County, donations are still needed.  Folks wanting to donate to the project can visit the Iowa Bicycle Coalition.  

  • Crossing K Avenue I was happy to find myself wanting to continue my ride.  The cold wasn’t bothering me and the pretty day encouraged me to pedal on.  I was successful in reaching Redfield where I decided to take a quick break and return to Adel.

  • Redfield (originally named New Ireland) has a renovated train station at the trailhead.  Restrooms, water and concessions are available May through September.

  • On this route cyclists ride past two brick plants. Sioux City Brick in Adel and Glen-Gery Brick in Redfield.  


  • Riders 18 and up are required to a user fee of $2 a day or $10 for a year.  Strong boxes are located at trailheads for purchasing trail permits.

  • Keep an eye out for traffic and loose gravel when crossing intersections.

  • This out-n-back route is a good spot for gently waking up the legs after a winter reprieve.


  • I had plans on enjoying a break in Redfield with hot tea from my travel mug.  Plans changed when I discovered my hot tea had changed to iced tea!  Apparently my travel mug isn’t as insulated as I had hoped.


  • On one of the bridge crossings I found a red bandana tied to a railing.  It looked to be serving some sort of purpose and added a pop of color against the gray so I chose to leave it there.  I will however, add it to my list of things I’ve found on my bike rides.  

  • The birds have been making their way back to their summer homes in Iowa.  A bluebird, and two turkey vultures were spotted on the ride.

  • On the bridge crossing Panther Creek I took a little break to stretch my legs.  Looking to the north I noticed a beaver dam.  How cool! I was glad I stopped.

  • With the sun behind me on the ride back, I noticed things I had missed earlier  Evidence of last May’s tornado and a tree resembling a slingshot were showcased in the changing light.


  • Back in Adel I ate some mini muffins with my ice tea.  It would have been more enjoyable had the tea been.  But, I did learn English Teatime is also good cold.

Wrap Up

  • I was pleasantly surprised with this ride being farther than expected. Despite the cold it was great to get the miles in.  

  • After the extra long winter we’ve had I’m not in any hurry to pack away my winter gear.  As much as I would like to bid it “good riddance!” something tells me it’s going to be needed again in the next few weeks.

Happy Riding!