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Makeshift route ideas using past RAGBRAIs?

My son and some friends are going to ride across Iowa in May, starting in Omaha and making their way eventually to the Chicago area. They want to follow the Day 1 and Day 2 routes “as is”, but after Winterset they will need to route more northeast. I thought a good way to do the rough planning would be to trace together a few past RAGBRAI routes, with some refinements.

Does anyone recall a year or years where the route passed through Winterset or a nearby town, then generally moved in the direction of Clinton (where they plan to cross into Illinois)?

6 Replies

jwsknk, April 23, 2019 at 6:40 pm

How many days? Winterset to des Moines, state fairgrounds campground. Trail up to Baxter then grinnell or Marshalltown. Cedar Rapides it Iowa City. Clinton.


Larry Klaaren, April 23, 2019 at 8:42 pm

You might want to route through Pella. Very unique town and Tulip Time is in May. Then through Amish Country at Kalona, north to the Amana Colonies, then on to Clinton.


klkoopman, April 24, 2019 at 6:20 am

This is a good resource to use when investigating the previous RAGBRAI routes:


jwsknk, April 24, 2019 at 9:40 am

Day 3 follow to route to Cumming, take Great Western Trail into DM. east towards Grays Lake and downtown. Cross the river and take MLK east using shared use trail or bikelane to E30th. there you will have to take the street north and over the railroad tracks, fairgrounds right there on the right. Café, bar fast food and c-store on E30th.

Day 4. If the campground gate is open go out that way, otherwise try the Dean Ave gate. go east on Dean, follow it to the left it turns into Williams. cross University and Four Mile creek is where you pick up the Gay Lea Wilson Trail. Options here to take left before the bridge or right after. Left take you north along Four Mile, a McDonalds at the Hubbell crossing , stay on that go under I80 and west about a mile, turn right on Chichaqua Trail to Bondurant and follow that to Baxter, a couple places there to eat. If yo go right past Copper Creek bear left to Altoona and follow that through town, east end of town turn left and cross a set of tracks on new section of trail, follow that to where you pass under some other track, get off there and take that county road about 3 miles to Bondurant, don’t follow trail, it dead ends at I80 right now. You can cross 65 into Bondurant and there is a Caseys on the east end of town, 2nd Ave.? along the trail. Then you can follow the trail to Baxter. Last years route to Melourn the 330 trail to Marshalltown. or F17 to right on T38 to left F27 into Grinnell, don’t remember which years we did that.

Day 5 RAGBRAI has done Mtown to LeGrand, Montour, Tama, Toledo, Vining, Elberon, Keystone, Van Horne, Newhall, Atkins, Cedar Rapids. or Grinnell, Brooklyn, Victor, Ladora, Marengo, West, High, Middle AmanaSwisher, Shueyville then you are about half way between CR and Iowa City.

Day 6 we have done CR to Whitter, Springville, Martell, Marley, Olin, Hale, Oxford Junction, Lost Nation, Elwwod, Delmar, Charlotte, Goose Lake Clinton. or Lost Nation, to Welton, Elvira, Clinton.


Jboz, April 24, 2019 at 10:19 am

JWSKNK, they are planning 6 total days through Iowa. So with the first 2 days firmly established,4 days from Winterset to Clinton.

BTW, great suggestions here. Also considering roughly tracing the 1991 route, but diverting to Clinton on the last day. Pella is also a great idea…we know people there so that’s a plus.


kicks9, April 24, 2019 at 12:36 pm

RAGBRAI doesn’t shut down the route to traffic but limits it or at least lets the towns know what routes to avoid the riders. That being said, not sure how traffic will be on those roads without RAGBRAI limiting the traffic. Be careful on these routes.


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