The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Des Moines to Ames

Looking at getting into Ragbrai for the first time but have a prior obligation in Ames on Friday evening – Sunday.

Thinking of biking until Wed morning in Des Moines and then journying via bike (and pack) to Ames to meet up with family by Fri evening.

Totally unfamiliar with biking in the area. Any idea where camp is in Des Moines and feasibility to get to Ames safely on bike? Since I have an extra day don’t need to do direct route but don’t want to put in a century with pack either.

7 Replies

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jwsknk, January 29, 2013 at 11:22 am

to ames is fairly easy, get the Des Moines Bike Collective map. basicly take the Neal Smith Trail (east side of Des Moines River from downtown) about 10 miles nort turn off to Ankeny (just after NW Beaver Drive)Little over 3 miles turn back north on trail along State Street in Ankeny 2 miles north right on 1st Street trail about 1/2 mile to High Trestle trail, Take that to Slater. Use a city street (all trails up to here) to get over to R38 then about 10 miles of paved bike lane to Ames.


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AB, January 29, 2013 at 11:27 am

Thanks! This should set my week up perfectly! Looking forward to my first RAGBRAI experience.


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jwsknk, January 29, 2013 at 11:53 am

other option is to stay on Neal Smith/Saylorville trail all the way to the end at Big Creek and take a county road east a couple of miles to hook up with HTT. That way is More “scenic” meaning hillier and twistier and not sure of how well the trail surface is now, was geting pretty rough. That way you have the Marina to stop at where you can eat and drink down on the water. the other way a brew pub is in Ankeny about 1-2 blocks south of the HTT trailhead, unless they get that section done by july.


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jwsknk, January 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Nighthawk in Slater another place to stop and eat/drink. Right off the HTT in Slater before it turns west to Madrid & the bridge. Which If you havent ridden over add the 16 miles and do it (about 8 over and back)


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AB, January 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Thanks jwsknk. Sounds like I have lots of options and like the idea of the scenic route.


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Joel Taylor, February 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

If you’re looking to spend your time from Wednesday morning in Des Moines until Friday in Ames, you could take the Gay Lee Wilson trail, some county roads and the Hwy 330 trail up to Marshalltown and then bike along the old Lincoln Highway to Ames the next day.


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