Raccoon River Valley Trail Inducted into Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s National Hall of Fame

Developed in collaboration with RDG Planning & Design, the 89-mile trail has become a vital tourist attraction connecting rural communities and larger cities across Iowa.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation’s largest trails organization, announced the induction of the Raccoon River Valley Trail into its Rail-Trail Hall of Fame, the organization announced on August 12, 2021. The Rail-Trail Hall of Fame inductee is selected during a public vote each year; more than 38,000 votes were cast in the 2021 Rail-Trail Hall of Fame contest, marking a record-breaking number of votes overall for the nationwide event.

Waukee Railroad Pergola: In the Shadow of the Rails in Waukee, Iowa by RDG. Photo by IRIS22 Productions.

RDG Planning & Design worked closely with the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association on the development and expansion of the trail, engaging with the broader community to best understand how the trails could increase tourism dollars, build community connections and promote public health. In the years since, the trail has become a vital tourist attraction and embraced as an asset for health, wellness and connections among the region and state. Plans are in the works to eventually connect the Raccoon River Valley Trail to the world-famous High Trestle Trail Bridge

The 89-mile path connects rural communities to larger cities, including Jefferson, Des Moines and Perry, offering views of woodlands, prairies and incorporating trail-wide art installations designed by the Art Studio at RDG. These installations, including “Waukee Railroad Pergola: In the Shadows of the Rails,” leverage creative placemaking to integrate story, site and structure to develop a common theme across the trail system, highlighting the region’s railroad history and creating a destination for bicyclists and pedestrians alike.

Read more about the induction of the Raccoon River Valley Trail into the RTC Rail-Trail Hall of Fame here.


For all media inquiries please contact Erin Van Zee, RDG Communications Director at evanzee@rdgusa.com or call (402) 449-0898. 

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