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Des Moines Water Works Park to play host to RAGBRAI campers

RAGBRAI riders, after pedaling 49.9 miles from Perry, will find their oasis at Des Moines’ Water Works Park, the designated campsite for day three of the weeklong ride.

City of Des Moines and RAGBRAI officials considered other locations in and near downtown, including the State Capitol complex as a family-friendly campsite, said Kandi Reindl, assistant to the city manager who is spearheading the city’s RAGBRAI efforts. Ultimately, they determined the park immediately southwest of downtown would be large enough to hold everyone.

Organizers are anticipating fewer campers in Des Moines than in other cities because there are more hotel options and private homes for people to stay at.

Approximately 7,000 riders stayed at the camp grounds in Cedar Rapids last year and RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz said the number likely would be similar in Des Moines. The ride, July 21-27, attracts about 10,000 riders.

“We’d be happy to have them,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works.

The 1,500-acre park plays host to dozens of events each year, including the Hy-Vee Big Brothers Big Sisters Fishing Derby and the International Latino Carnival.

Riders likely will enter Des Moines on S.W. 63rd Street and take Park Avenue and George Flagg Parkway to get to the park. From there, shuttle buses will be available to transport riders to RAGBRAI activities taking place downtown.

View Des Moines Water Works Park in a larger map

11 Responses on “Des Moines Water Works Park to play host to RAGBRAI campers


April 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Since Water Works is going to host RAGBRAI they should push to get the Water Works Pedestrian Bridge rehabbed.


April 4, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Do we bike by the state capital?


April 7, 2013 at 10:23 am

I am a little disappointed in the location. I grew up and played little league baseball at Racoon Valley nearby there, but the capitol site would have been a lifetime memory. When we come to the city overnights, we want to be in the city, not in a reclamation area south of the city and then have to be bussed in and out. I realize the costs would have been much more hosting in the city, but marketing opportunities for the state to demonstrate its home town values is being missed. I feel like we are some misfits kept off to the side it what will be really the only notable overnight on this years short ride. Bummed out!~

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April 9, 2013 at 10:55 pm

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April 12, 2013 at 11:29 am

I would not think of waiting for and then riding a crowded, noisy bus from Waterworks Park to the downtown. Not when I have a bicycle; there are wide trails to the downtown area and it is less than two miles to everything. This will be a great place to camp!!!


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Heat Wave

April 20, 2013 at 8:55 pm

They must not have talked with the Cedar Rapids planners from 2012. When the riders are far removed from any central downtown area, the whole overnight event suffers.

Aaron Wiese

April 29, 2013 at 12:26 am

There is no way the state capital grounds would be near enough room for people camping. A lot of is it VERY hilly. The area at waterworks is flat, and VERY spacious. Waterworks is bordered by Fluer Ave, which is one the southwest side of downtown. (1900 block) It’s opposite the capital side of the city, but just as close or closer to e everything that will probably be happening that night. Should you take any of the east west roads through downtown, (locust, walnut, mulberry/court) from there, you’ll more or less end up at the capital. Fret not, a mile ride through downtown isn’t going to kill you. This is Ragbrai.


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