• Posted Apr 29, 2015

The Chichaqua Valley Trail just had their Grand Opening Celebration. I was out of town and the celebration basically got rained out with about 1/3 of the riders showing up due to the rain.

I had taken Monday off and wanted to go check out the new connection from Berwick to Bondurant where I would grab lunch at Founder's Irish Pub.

The Ride

I left Ankeny around 11 am headed East on my trusty Salsa Vaya.

The Oralabor Gateway Trail is only a few blocks from the house. I headed West past Kyle's Bikes, crossed State Street and S. Ankeny Blvd (both busy intersections with plenty of driveways cross-roads).
As soon as you pass the Oralabor Cemetery and head South does the ride become peaceful. Trees line both sides of the trail for about a mile until you cross SE 54th St where it becomes the Gay Lea Wilson Trail.

After that you are on the outer edge of an Industrial Park for several miles. You cross under interstate 35 and the trail jogs back North for a bit before heading East.
Before long you will cross the intersection of SE Four Mile Dr and NE 54th Ave. In less than 1/2 mile, you'll see trail going left (to Berwick), straight (toward 4 mile Creek), or right (goes under Interstate 80 and ends. This will eventually connect with Des Moines).

There are no signs up (yet). I am sure they will be coming. I took the trail left toward Berwick which was only about a mile North East. I wanted to stop at Mallys Park, but kept riding.

The Oralabor Gateway and Gay Lea Wilson trails are in great shape and the new 8+ mile Chichaqua Valley Trail connector was super-smooth concrete.

A couple more miles in, and you pass Griffs Valley View RV Park which we hear is a nice place to stay, but often there is no open sports. I do not think they offer tent camping.

The trail continues North and East and you'll be able to see the Bondurant Grain Elevators. The new trail does have some gentle grades and some open areas that can be... uhh.. pretty windy.

If you keep going North East out of Bondurant for about one mile, you'll pass Lake Petocka and the Lake Petocka Trail that circumvents the lake. This is a super nice park with playgrounds, baseball fields, shade, and restroom facilities.
Two more miles from Lake Petocka and you'll come across the old Chichaqua Valley Trail trail-head. No more roads to get there! Keep going and you'll hit Santiago, Mingo, Ira and Baxter.

The new Trail is 25 miles one way. Mingo and Berwick both have bars, but Bondurant and Baxter have the most amenities.

Bondurant Depot

The Bondurant Depot is the first thing you'll pass once you get into town. The trail goes right by it. There are restrooms, picnic tables, benches and plenty of bike racks. The depot has been beautifully restored and pays homage to the Great Western Chicago Railway that was in use for over 100 years until it was abandoned in 1983. There is plenty of parking near the depot.


Founder's Irish Pub has a special "mini-trail leading from the Depot to their patio area. How convenient! As I pulled up around 1:30 pm there were 4 bikes leaning up against the fence. There was no one I recognized, but did notice a BIKEIOWA coozie on one of them. I walked inside to see a few folks at the bar, a few more at some tables and a couple playing pool.

I ordered a 'Dirty Bastard' by Founder's Brewing Co. which is a dark Scotch Ale., and chose a chicken sandwich and fries from the menu, and headed outside to the patio to enjoy the great weather. Their patio is huge! I am going to guess there patio can hold 80-100 cyclists with the same inside. On the patio was a box of water bottles and trail guides that were left over from the rained out celebration.

Outside I talked with a couple of older gents from Urbandale who had ridden up to check out the new trail too. One said he was up there on Sunday and the trail was packed.

The beer was cold and tasted great. This chicken sandwich was superb. The fries were fries. I always get a side of hot-wing sauce to spice things up a bit. The bartender/waiter was polite and attentive and asked me if I needed anything else at least twice before bring out the bill. Total bill was $14.58 which was fair.

Total Miles

From Kyles Bikes in Ankeny, you can get to Bondurant and back all on trail in about 32 miles. Maybe a little less as I did a little exploring. Another 17 will get you to Baxter. Ride the whole Chi-bang and you'll get in 66 miles!


Hey - It was a Monday and I was NOT at work or on the computer. I was riding my bike on some new trail! What could have been better?!? It was a nice change as I usually ride the Neal Smith, High Trestle, or gravel...

This trail is home to Fiday Night Bikes, Thursday Night Beer Rides and the May 30th Fat Tire Fun Ride. The New connection is certainly an invitation for more bike traffic. I will definitley ride it again and again. Go East.

About the Founder's Irish Pub

Situated right off the bike path in Bondurant, IA, Founder's Irish Pub provides an authentic atmosphere to enjoy the Emerald Isle's renowned spirits, favorite foods and live musical entertainment. Lively and festive anytime of the day, Founder's Irish Pub is the perfect place to gather with friends or meet new people.

We're a casual "everybody's bar," where everyone will feel welcome and comfortable. 12 beers will be available on tap with numerous other bottled beers and tons of liquors to choose from. Founder's Irish Pub will also have a full kitchen open every day from 11am to 9:30pm, with the bar closing every night at 2am.

They just received new Fat Tire Pit Stop in April 2015 too!

About the Chichaqua Valley Trail

The Chichaqua Valley Trail (Bondurant to Baxter) was built in 1987. The slope of the trail is very gentle due to the railroad bed it is constructed on. This makes it a great trail for beginners and families.

The route crosses through open farmland, rolling meadows and forested river valleys. The western portion of the trail is shaded by tree arches. Midway along the trail a long wooden railroad trestle crosses the Skunk River, which is the backbone of the 7000+ acres Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt conversation area. The River bridge has pull out areas where users can stop to admire the tranquil Skunk River and Greenbelt. Nowhere else in Iowa do trails users have the access to such an extensive natural area.

The new 8+ mile new trail now connects the trail through Bondurant and Berwick to the Gay Lea Wilson Trail which leads users into Ankeny, Altoona and Des Moines.

source of info - Chichaqua Valley Trail Grand Opening info packet from April 25th 2015.

The grocery store in Bondo is pretty sweet. I dont know the whole story but the couple that won the lottery built it & it has a great diner. I had the pork tenderloin and it was awesome, super thick & juicy.... The meat market looked very legit, could be a place to pick up some steaks for a grill out somewhere along the trail, any idea if there are grills at any parks on the trial?

Definitely a cool new addition to our trail system.

Also Elkart is just 10 miles north of Berwick & Kippeys Place is great

#1 - MrPeske posted Apr 30, 2015

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