Trails and Trail Networks
Raccoon River Valley Trail – this is my home town trail and I ride it just about every day. It’s one of the longest completely paved trails in the US and consists of a 71 mile loop with a 13 mile spur to Jefferson. If you’re creative, you can squeeze a century out of it without ever getting on a street. It connects with the Clive Greenbelt for those who want to go further. Usage requires a trail pass. Visit the website and get an annual pass for $25. You’ll be supporting a great trail.
Central Iowa Trails – These folks specialize in off road cycling within an hour of Des Moines. Their site includes trail maps, current trail conditions and more.
Cowboy Trail (Nebraska) – The Cowboy Trail is currently completed bettween Norfolk and Valentine with an extension west to Chadron in the works. When the whole thing is done, it will be the longest rail trail in the world at 321 miles from end to end.
George S. Mickelson Trail (South Dakota) – The Mickelson Trail starts in Edgemont and winds its way north across the Black Hills for 100 miles to the old mining town of Deadwood. This is as close as you can come to mountain riding without being in the mountains.
Erie Canal Route (New York) – This isn’t one trail, per se, but a series of connections that follows the Erie Canal across New York state. There are some lightly traveled roads in the mix, but the nice folks in New York have done such a great job of mapping and identifying the route that it deserves a mention here.
The Great Trail (Trans Canada) – There’s a trail all the way across Canada. You can pedal to the Atlantic, Pacific or Arctic Ocean from just about anywhere in the country.