Middle Raccoon Ride
This route was scouted by: Bob Morgan, Biking Iowa
Dallas & Guthrie Counties
Length: 49 Miles
Surface: Paved Roads and Trails
Parking and Restrooms: Trailheads and businesses in Adel, Redfield, Linden and Panora
There are at least eight ways to make this figure-8 ride, but it’s never boring.
Starting in Adel, let’s pedal county roads on the first half and the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) on the return.
From downtown Adel, take a short ride west on the RRVT, then head north and west on 11th Street. Next, turn onto Grove Street, then 15th Street to 280th Street, which becomes F51. Rich farmland and tidy farms line both sides of the road. At El Paso Avenue (P46) turn south to Redfield. Refuel at Casey’s on the south edge of town. On Saturdays, the Legion Hall serves a huge $6 breakfast (6 to 9 a.m.); if you crave fried potatoes, get in line before by 7:30. After your break, pedal west on Thomas Street. It turns into county F59 as it climbs steeply out of the river valley. The ride flattens on the plateau between the Middle and South Raccoon rivers. Turn north on P28 (Wagon Road), which stair-steps its way west and north. You get a long, fast downhill to cross a branch of the Middle Raccoon River, then pay for it with steep climb into Panora. In Panora, bear left onto Third Street, then right on Clay Street at Heritage Park to reach trailhead for the RRVT. Panora claims eight restaurants—it’s your own fault if you leave hungry! At Carmen’s on the north side, stop for Midwestern or Mexican-style dishes.
The RRVT takes you to Linden, Redfield, and Adel, primarily below a canopy of trees that keeps the temperatures moderate in summer. Volunteers staff the Redfield station on weekends (daylong or yearly pass required).
Side trip: The Dallas County Courthouse (1902) in Adel, modeled after French chateaus, is considered one of Iowa’s best examples of civic architecture. Brick streets ring the courthouse. The town’s Sweet Corn Festival (mid-August) draws huge crowds (adelpartners.org).
Where to stay: Prairie View B&B (641-755-4356)
Bob Morgan, a freelance writer from Cedar Falls, is author of Biking Iowa, which includes 50 well-documented rides throughout the state. He’s active in the Cedar Trails Partnership and leads evening bike rides during Bike Month.