This 9 miles of trail will connect two of the most popular recreational trails in the state of Iowa thus making Central Iowa an even bigger attraction for bicycle tourism

Seeing was believing Tuesday night for the Dallas County Conservation Board when they took a driving tour of possible routes for a bike trail linking the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Perry and the High Trestle Trail in Woodward.

After discussing strengths, weaknesses and costs of the alternative routes, the board voted unanimously to pursue building a trail along Iowa Highway 141 running easterly from Perry to O Avenue, then northerly along O Avenue into Bouton, then easterly to Woodward along the former railroad right of way.

A plan B for the Bouton-to-Woodward leg would see the trail running easterly along County Road R30.

The Perry-to-Bouton leg of the link trail has proven the most challenging in terms of land acquisition and narrow roads.

It’s one thing to look at this on a map,” said Dallas County Conservation Board Vice Chair Mark Powell, “but now I see what a bear it would be to try to connect to Bouton from Perry. It makes perfect sense to use 141.”

Powell chaired the Tuesday night meeting in the absence of board chair Lorinda Inman, who joined the meeting by phone link after the tour.

“Highway 141 is the easiest route,” said board member Glenn Vondra. “It’s not the most scenic route, but it lets us stay away from gravel roads.”

Richard M. Voelker, lead architect on the link-trail project with Ankeny-based Snyder and Associates, accompanied the conservation board on its driving tour and explained features of the alternative routes.

The preferred route to Bouton, running along the former railroad right of way easterly out of Perry and then easterly along 130th Street to U.S. Highway 169, faces “an extreme lack of room and some serious drainage issues,” Voelker said.


This is not Wisconsin. If you pave a trail in Central Iowa, the trail usage jumps dramatically. Just compare the usage of the High Trestle trail and Heart of Iowa Nature trail at Slater! When I visited Central Wisconsin several years ago, it rained for several days so when it finally stopped, I had to drive a distance to find a paved trail that would be passable with the tires that I have. If you have fat tires, an unpaved trail or gravel road is fine. Because of my joints, I ride a recumbent trike with relatively narrow tires so I choose to ride on completely paved rail trails as much as possible. I look forward to more loop trails in Central Iowa which are make for more interesting rides than out and back trail rides. I look forward to this trail being paved and ready for many riders as it will become a very heavily used trail connecting the busy RRVT and HTT.

#3 - dbpaul8 posted May 15, 2015

maybe the route will help rejuvenate the 4 corners and bring it back to its past glory, The Rib restaurant, Flame Lounge, and the Standard filling station. Now you can at least pray for forgiveness or the strength to make it to Perry or get a room to recover, kinda like RAGBRAI but you don't need a bus.

#2 - clunker posted May 15, 2015

What's the matter with gravel roads?  Wisconsin's state bike trails (like the Elroy-Sparta Trail) are not paved; they are surfaced with limestone screenings (very fine gravel) that over time has become very smooth, low maintenance, and still allows drainage.  And they seem to hold up quite well given the traffic they carry.

#1 - BicycleBill posted Apr 25, 2015

Leave a Comment

You must be signed in to leave a comment.