New Trails and Hidden Gems: Updates to Iowa Segment 2

Discover the latest updates on Hiking America's Iowa Segment 2 to the American Discovery from Atlantic to Des Moines, featuring the mesmerizing Paragon Prairie Tower and a new alternate route to enhance the hiking experience.

New Trails and Hidden Gems: Updates to Iowa Segment 2
Paragon Prairie Tower in Urbandale, Iowa - Photo: Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation

We're excited to share updates on Iowa Segment 2, stretching from Atlantic to Des Moines, which includes a new alternate route and a breathtaking art installation that will enrich your hiking experience.

Not affiliated with nor authorized by the American Discovery Trail Society®


Segment 2 - Atlantic to Des Moines

Discovering the Paragon Prairie Tower:
Just 2.7 miles north of the Raccoon River Valley Trail from Hiking America waypoint IA2-133, hikers can explore a stunning addition to their journey: the Paragon Prairie Tower in Urbandale, Iowa. This tower isn't just any landmark; it holds the title of the largest Italian glass mosaic tile mural in the United States. The artwork, a magnificent double repeating pattern of native plants set against an Art Deco landscape, transforms into a mesmerizing spectacle at night. This addition is a must-see for both art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Paragon Prairie Tower at night - Photo: David B. Dahlquist

New Alternate Route to the ADT:
We listened to the feedback from our hiking community, including insights from "Blackberry Brian" Christner, a 2023 thru-hiker, and introduced a new Alternative Route between Coon Rapids and the Raccoon River Valley Trail. This route, marked in purple on our maps, is not only 2.3 miles shorter but also offers better access to essential resupply options, a significant improvement for long-distance hikers.

New Hiking American Alternate Route between Coon Rapids and Herndon - Hiking America on Gaia GPS

Enhanced Accessibility and Amenities:
The original ADT route, marked in blue, is positioned 2 miles north of the nearest towns, which limited access to supplies. Our new alternate route remedies this by passing through both Bayard and Bagley, Iowa. Hikers can now hit the convenience store in Bayard that offers light supplies and hot meals. Both towns provide essential amenities such as public libraries and post offices, perfect for rest and staying connected.

Both routes are two-lane roads, but the Alternate – a state road, IA141 – is better maintained with a wider shoulder. And you need that extra room because, in much of the rural, straight, cornfield-lined Midwest, Speed Limits are more "Suggestions" than limits. 😉

Coon Rapids to Resurface the Riverside Trail
The City of Coon Rapids and Carroll County Conservation are undertaking a project to resurface the Riverside Trail, a 2.68-mile multi-use recreation trail running along the Middle Raccoon River in Coon Rapids that is part of the American Discovery Trail. The trail, completed in the late 1990s, has deteriorated significantly with cracks and potholes, making it unsafe and not ADA-compliant.

Full Story: Funds sought for Riverside Trail resurfacing - Carroll Times Herald

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