We head to the heartland to celebrate rail-trails – Iowa was the first state to use rail banking to create bike trails in 1983! Today the Des Moines region boasts more than 300 miles of trail. You’ll be delighted by the abundance of cool railroad structures and the surprisingly varied landscape!
Day 1: After a van shuttle from the airport, start your Iowa adventure on the Raccoon River Valley Trail via Waukee, Iowa and Adel, Iowa. The Raccoon River Valley Trail runs along a former railroad right-of-way that was first built in the 1870s to carry rail traffic between Des Moines and the Great Lakes region. This trail is fully paved with a gentle gradient, typical of a rail trail. In fact, the RRVT is the longest paved loop trail in the country! Enjoy carefree riding along the river, and look out wildlife along the way! We’ll stay tonight at The Port on Lake Panorama in the town of Panora.
Day 2: Today we’ll start our ride from the hotel, and return to the Raccoon River Valley Trail via Jamaica, Dawson, Perry, and Minburn, Iowa. We’ll take a quick shuttle to our accommodations for the evening at the Hotel Pattee. Take some time to relax at the hotel, then you can take an optional (and highly recommended) side trip in the van to Woodward to see the High Trestle Trail lit up at night!
Day 3: This morning, a short ride in the van takes us to the High Trestle Trail again! You’ll ride this iconic trail and a portion of the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail to Akeny, Iowa. The High Trestle Trail is one of the most pristine and highly trafficked trails in Iowa—even at night. The trail’s popularity is largely due to its famous 130-foot-tall High Trestle Bridge, which boasts one of the most well-known rail-trail art installations in the country, From Here to There. Wrapped in 43 twisting, diamond-shaped steel ribs lined with LED lights, the bridge elicits the sensation of traveling down a mine shaft—a nod to the area’s coal-mining history.
Day 4: On the final day of the tour, we’ll return to Des Moines via the Neal Smith Trail. The 26-mile Neal Smith Trail rolls along the banks of the Des Moines River through the Ding Darling Greenway conservation area and makes its way through a variety of landscapes, including riverbanks, wildflower meadows, lakeshores, and dense forests. After a farewell lunch, we’ll shuttle back to the airport and parking shuttles for guests. If you have some extra time, you may want to stay in Des Moines an extra day to extend your vacation!
Longest Paved Loop Rail Trail
High Trestle Trail
Downtown Des Moines
Peaceful country riding
The Port on Lake Panorama
Marriott Residence Inn
4 Breakfasts | 5 Lunches | 3 Dinners
PP Double Occupancy
*This is required if you are traveling solo or if you are traveling with someone but require separate beds.