For my first trek into Iowa I used an outfitter called Wilderness Voyageurs. Since I was flying this option afforded me a good quality rental bike, and logistics allowing one way rides and no worries about meals or lodging. The guides for our small group were Teri and Alex. One guide would follow the group to assist in the event of mechanical or other issues while the other drove ahead to set up rest/lunch stops along the ride. It made for a wonderful week.
The first ride of the week was on the Raccoon Valley River Trail. This trail is an 89 mile loop of paved car free heaven a bit west of Des Moines, IA. It is a 2021 inductee into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. Most of the surface is concrete with a portion asphalt. It is the longest paved trail in the United States. A few sections of the asphalt have some bumps but the vast majority of the trail is smooth, flat and straight. Since you are in Iowa, expect to see vast fields of corn adjacent to the trail.
When I rode in September of 2023, there was a section of trail closed for bridge repair in the area of Redfield and Linden. This required bypassing about five miles of trail with an eight mile, on road detour. Also note riding the trail requires a trail pass.
The ride started in Dallas Center, IA. Since this was a vacation for our small group, we stayed overnight on the lake in Panora. The next day we completed the loop back to Dallas Center.
For more information about the Raccoon River Valley Trail including trail pass purchase see Dallas County website or the trail website. Construction has started on additional trail to connect the Raccoon River Valley Trail to the High Trestle Trail.