Things Not to Miss on RAGBRAI 2020

I’m looking for additional ideas on places to be sure not to miss on our 2020 route. I jotted down highlights at each over night town to get this started … Le Mars, Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Waterloo, Anamosa, Maquoketa and Clinton and pulled what I could from the web. Suggestions can be historical, scenic, interesting or whatever you’d suggest a visitor might like to see and do along our route. Anything on our route or within a few miles is worth mentioning.

Some of the places I particularly enjoyed in 2019 included The White Pole Road, site of Jesse James train robbery, site where President Truman talked to 100,000 farmers and turned the 1948 election around, “The Black Angel”, Bonnie & Clyde shootout location, Bridges of Madison County, John Wayne Museum.

“Places and Things Along the RAGBRAI Route Not to be Missed” focusing on the eight key overnight stops during the week.

Le Mars

    … our starting town and about 20 miles East from the Missouri River … long haul to dip bike tires

    Ice Cream Capital of the World Visitors Center … 115 Central Ave. NW

    Plymouth County Historical Museum

    Le Mars Recreational Trail … starts at the Willow Creek Golf Course and follows the Floyd River for 6.9, 9.0 or 10.5 miles depending on which on-line source is right

    Loess Hills National Scenic Byway … we’ll be biking some of this getting out of Le Mars … drove parts of this in 2019 and there are lots of rolling and scenic hills

    Storm Lake

Chain Saw Sculptures … throughout the area

Heritage Tree Museum … Sunset Park, West Lakeshore Dr.

Harker House … 328 Lake Ave. … 1875 home National Historic Register

Buena Vista County Historical Society Museum & Pioneer Village … 214 W. 5th St.

Witter Gallery … 609 Cayuga St. … art gallery displaying rotating art exhibits

Kings Pointe … water park resort

Awaysis Park … 1409 E. Lakeshore Dr. … kids playground

Lake Avenue & Main Street Shopping

Fort Dodge

    The Fort Museum & Frontier Village

    Fort Dodge Grain Silo Muro … Hawkeye Ave. near Loomis Park Dr.

    Blanden Memorial Art Museum

    Iowa Falls

Iowa Falls Historical Society … 519 Stevens St.

Nathan Hale Park … statue … Summit Ave. and Portland Ave.

Calkins Nature Center … 18335 135th St.


    A few restaurants and bars … nothing notable


Anamosa State Penitentiary … 406 N. High St.

National Motorcycle Museum … 102 Chamber St.

Grant Wood Tourism Center … 124 E. Main St.


    Pine Valley Nature Area

    Maquoketa Caves State Park … 10756 98th St. … 55 degrees inside year – around


… our ending town

Eagle Point Park … 3900 N 3rd St.

The Sawmill Musem … 2231 Grant St.

City of Clinton Showboat … 303 Riverview Dr.

Bickelhaupt Arboretum … 340 S. 14th St.

Catholic Historical Center at St. Boniface … 2520 Pershing Blvd.

George M. Curtis Mansion … 420 5th Ave.

10 Replies

Herman Ulloa, January 26, 2020 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for starting this thread! I’ll add the Clinton LumberKings host the Lansing (MI) Lugnuts at NelsonCorp Field for a minor league baseball game 5pm CDT on our final day of riding, Jul 25.


gas gas, January 26, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Waterloo : John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum . And it is free .
Waterloo’s National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum . Dan Gable Olympic gold winner . Iowa wrestling coach . Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum . The five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa were serving together aboard the USS Juneau . All died when ship was attacked in WW II .


ppayne1959, January 26, 2020 at 12:32 pm

I thought the wrestling hall of fame was in Newton?


Sandaltan ., January 26, 2020 at 12:39 pm

Sullivan brothers – Waterloo.



Sandaltan ., January 28, 2020 at 7:44 am

Fort Dodge
The city will be jumping says the Fort Dodge mayor with the Girls State Softball Tournament and the bike ride. “He estimated that 10,000 people will come to Fort Dodge as part of RAGBRAI while another 12,000 to 14,000 will come to the softball tournament.”


mcpartla, January 28, 2020 at 8:02 am

Ragbrai is limited to 7500 week long riders and 2500 who buy daily tickets but the last couple of years charters report the registered riders exceed this number by far and then there are the many who do not bother to register since the roads are free.
And I’ve heard some of the pass through towns attempted to count the total number and it was more than 20,000. The real total number is elusive since some ride the entire route each day and others only a part of it.


Sandaltan ., January 28, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Mcpartla: According to Courtney Crowder writing in the RAGBRAI Blog there are now 20,000 registered riders.
“About 20,000 registered riders, with participants hailing from all 50 states and a host of international locations, descend on Iowa every year to be part of the “oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event in the world,” according to the RAGBRAI website.”



mcpartla, June 7, 2020 at 11:30 am

Donnellson and Primrose … I stumbled across this when looking for something else but 16 trips to Iowa and three to Alaska and I never heard of Richard Proenneke who built a log cabin with primitive tools in the wilderness (now Lake Clark National Park, Alaska) in 1968 and lived there the next 28 years. Richard is originally from Primrose and nearby Donnellson Public Library has a replica of his cabin and artifacts from that time and visiting Donnellson and the cabin at Lake Clark National Park is now high on my “Bucket List” when this pandemic is over. I’ve been to Alaska three times on solo bicycle ventures and wish I had heard of this at the time because finding and seeing interesting things is a lifetime habit of mine. Youtube has Richard’s original 8mm films building the cabin and living in the Alaskan wilderness. “One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey by Sam Keith and “More Readings from One Man’s Wilderness: The Journals of Richard L. Proeneke 1974-1980” and “The Early Years: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke 1967-1973” by John B. Branson makes for interesting reading, especially when so many of us are self-isolating due to the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic.


klkoopman, June 8, 2020 at 3:04 pm

This is a question for the RAGBRAI folks. We all assume the final route, meeting and pass through towns have been finalized. We’ll also assume that route has not been released in order to discourage a collection of yo-yo’s from actually riding the route the last week of July 2020. That all makes sense, but when do you plan to release it? Hopefully, you’re not saving it until the Route Announcement Party in January of 2021. It would be more fun to do it in the Fall, we do need something RAGBRAI related to think about.


David, June 9, 2020 at 10:37 pm

I would think the final route and pass-through towns would still be announced in the normal spring timeframe. They are finalized based on road construction and other community input. So they can’t effectively be finalized in the fall.


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