The Raccoon River Valley Trail has a user fee of $2 per day, or $10 for the year. All proceeds go to the Conservation Boards in Greene, Guthrie and Dallas Counties and are used for trail maintenance and improvements.
The trail permits are sold in several offices and businesses along the trail. You will see the signs offering them. In addition, there are several strongboxes – or you might call them dispenser tubes – in communities along the trail. You can fill out the trail permit information, put your money in an envelope, take the receipt and deposit the envelope in the tube. If you have ordered a year-long permit that way, it will be mailed to you.
Please note that the user fees do not go to the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association, which is in charge of marketing and tourism development along the trail. However, by buying a membership in the association, you can support its efforts in addition to receiving your trail user’s pass. See “Membership” on this Internet site’s menu for details.
There is no fee for trail users under 18 years old. And people in the trail communities can use the trail free within their city limits, much like they’d use any other local park.
A Very Few Rules
You will see signs along the Raccoon River Valley Trail detailing the laws that govern trail usage in each of the three counties.
A few things are worth of special mention here.
While it’s not a rule, we think it is a very good idea to wear a helmet while you are riding a bicycle – on our trail or anywhere else, for that matter. But on the RRVT, even as wide as it is, you will inevitably find yourself losing concentration and having your bicycle drift off the trail surface. When you correct your steering to get back on the pavement, you risk hooking your tire on the edge of the surface and wrecking. Also, you need to be careful of loose gravel when the trail crosses country roads.
The three counties have slightly different rules of their own on the RRVT.
In Guthrie and Greene Counties, for example, it is permissible to use snowmobiles on the trail in the wintertime, provided there is sufficient snow cover. Snowmobiles are not allowed on the trail in Dallas County.
In Greene County in the late fall and winter, hunting is allowed, and pheasant hunters and their dogs enjoy trying to flush birds from the thick right-of-way.
You need to respect private property adjacent to the trail, and please pick up any trash you find.
And when you have time and the opportunity, by all means introduce yourselves to the local residents you will encounter. They always love hearing where the trail users have come from to enjoy the RRVT.
Finally, Rule No. 1 on our trail is this: Be happy!