River Valleys and Trail Art

This route was scouted by: Rich Ketcham, GeoBike.co

Boone and Story counties
Length: 57 Miles (full route); 43 Miles (cutoff)
Surface: Paved Roads and Trails
Parking and Restrooms: West Towne Pub, Ames

This scenic route mixes hills with a trail conversion and an iconic bike/walk bridge and sculpture. Park at the West Towne Pub and head north out of Ames on South Dakota. Cross Lincoln Way and continue north on North Dakota for 3.3 miles and turn left (west) onto Cameron School Road. In one mile, turn right (north) onto R38 and in.5 mile, turn left (west) onto E26, which you will take all the way to Boone.

Two miles west of Hwy 17, pull off to check the view northeast – you can see forever! In Boone, turn left (south) onto Story Street. A Casey’s is just .75 mile down the road. Turn right onto 11th Street, left on Division, right on 10th, left on Marion, right on 8th, left on Ringgold, and right on Third Avenue to traverse through town. Third transitions to E41, the old Lincoln Highway, which descends into the Des Moines River valley. Approximately 1 mile beyond the bridge, turn left (south) on R18. Use caution to cross busy Hwy 30.

Continue south on R18 to Woodward and connect with the High Trestle Trail. The jaw-dropping bridge across the Des Moines River is just 2.5 miles east. Twin 42-foot-tall towers on each side include dark bands of rocks that represent geologic coal veins found in local limestone deposits, and the 41 steel frames over the bridge represent support cribs within an old-fashioned coal mine.

John Washburn’s collection of photos—about the nicest we’ve seen.

In Madrid, The Flat Tire Lounge – just 12 feet from the trail – draws in plenty of riders. Down the road in Slater, stop at the bike-friendly Take Down Bar before turning north (left) on R38, with dedicated bicycle lanes all the way to Ames. End the trip in Ames at West Towne Pub with a burger and a cold one!

Where to stay: Two Bears Lodge (515-795-3880); MonteBello B&B (515-296-2181)

Nighttime: If you ride the High Trestle Trail at night (and you should) don’t forget to bring lighting for your bike and a camera. You’ll capture plenty of images like this to treasure. Photo: Kelly Green

Download River Valleys and Trail Art PDF Map



Meet your route scout: Rich Ketcham, GeoBike.com

Rich Ketcham, The GeoBike Guy, is a long-time cycling enthusiast. When not cycling, Rich is a self-employed information technology consultant living in Ames with his wife, Deb, and their two (crazy) cats. Since 1996, he has supplied GeoBike route profiles to a number of rides, including RAGBRAI.

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