The Raccoon River Valley trail is one of Iowa’s premier trails. With 89 miles of trail and 15 communities to visit it provides lots of route options for cyclists in central Iowa. Each trailside community has it’s own trailhead. Most are renovated train stations. 'The Raccoon' provides a variety of scenery ranging from open farmland to tree-lined tunnels of wooded areas. This ride traveled the asphalt trail from Waukee to Kennedy Station. It runs flat other than the grade east of Adel.
A dry afternoon after lots of rain called for a bike ride. Without any specific ride plans I checked the air in my bike’s tires, threw money, id and my phone into my seat bag, grabbed a water bottle and headed west on the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
Thanks to donations from local businesses, the gravel road crossings between Waukee and Adel are now smooth concrete. No need to worry about fish tailing in the the sand or dodging big rocks!
It had been raining...and raining...and raining over the prior days and the Raccoon River was bulging at the seams! Water was still in between the banks but looked to be only feet away from touching the bottom of the bridges. The last time I had ridden through Adel there had been hardly a trickle!
The periodical cicadas were making themselves heard. Luckily they were staying in the trees so I didn’t have to contend with any flying into or onto me. The creepy looking bugs are pretty big and it would likely hurt if one flew into you while riding your bike. I was glad to be wearing my helmet. Eeek! I can’t imagine having one of those things caught in my hair.
I stopped at Kennedy Station for a water break before heading back towards Waukee. Kennedy Station can be easily missed with only an information plaque and a railroad sign as it’s landmarks. Prior to the 1900’s Kennedy Station had a post office, train depot, stockyard, blacksmith and several residences. There are pictures on the information plaque showing what the area looked like in it’s prime.
Turning the Iron Giant around I headed back home...passing by the ice cream shop in Adel...pretending I didn't know it was there.
- Cyclists 18 and up are required to purchase a user fee of $2 a day or $10 for a year. Strong boxes are located at trailheads for purchasing trail permits.
- Take it easy riding through Adel. The curb cuts along city streets have some big bumps.
- Summer means bug season. Wear eyewear and a helmet to avoid bugs in your eyes or hair.