Badger Creek Loop
This route was scouted by: Dave Mable, Editor, Iowa Momentum Endurance Sports Magazine
Length: 41 Miles
Surface: Gravel and Dirt Roads
Parking and Restrooms: Booneville Post Office or Waveland Cafe
This rural route transitions you quickly from suburban West Des Moines into the quiet, rural landscape of Madison County. After parking in Booneville, head west on 360th St. to cross the Raccoon River. An immediate right turn on Utica puts you on compact gravel. You’ve seen the last of pavement until you return to this spot on your way home.
Several challenging climbs, low traffic, and picturesque vistas make this a local favorite for the MTB and cyclecross riders. When crossing 120th Street, disregard the “Dead End” sign; instead follow Upland as it climbs and falls on a narrow, rock road into Timber Ridge Development, a private development. The sign reads “Private.” It is a privately maintained but we are welcome to ride it. The neighbors have always been nice and waved as we ride through. Be alert for a farm dog on 120th; yelling “Go Home!” usually works. Route passes within .5-mile of entrance to Badger Creek State Recreation Area (picnic and restrooms). In wet conditions, bypass the dirt road by heading north on Old Portland or Prairieview roads. When dry, enjoy the rural, rutted dirt path through a woodsy area before going north on Quail Ridge.
Back in Booneville, stop at the friendly Waveland Cafe for breakfast (served all day; hash browns and pancakes draw rave reviews) or an adult beverage.
Dave Mable, and his wife, Dee, publish Iowa Momentum, a monthly magazine covering Iowa events and athletes and promoting an active lifestyle. Dave and Dee enjoy the gravel roads in central Iowa in every season. “Gravel roads are quiet and scenic. The drivers of the few cars that do pass often wave with all five fingers. Hills were not bulldozed in the making of gravel roads, so expect some steep climbs as you wind in and out of river and creek valleys. Badger Creek and High Trestle Trail by Gravel are our favorites.”