Our favorite photos from RAGBRAI 2022

The route for RAGBRAI 2022 weaved through many different geographies of Iowa, each featuring different challenges for farmers and conservation planners. See this article about the history of the land along the route!

From the extremely erosive Loess hills in Western Iowa, to the 3,000 foot climb in Northwest Iowa, cyclist and IAWA writer, Dan Looker, shows us the beauty of Iowa’s unique landscape and the conservation to protect it.


“Did you think corn could be so beautiful?”

bike riders in front of field
RAGBRAI cyclists zip past terraces at 7 Sunday morning. I overheard one explain to companions why farmers plant on the contour to slow erosion. Another shouted, “Did you think corn could be so beautiful?”


Extremely fragile Loess Hills of Eastern Iowa

bikers during sunset
Riders push through the heart of the Loess Hills east of Bronson. The rich but highly erodible soil showed is exposed in the the deep road cuts. Loess deposits can be 90 feet deep.



No-till field near Newell, Iowa

soybean field
Cover crops aren’t visible in the summertime since they’re often planted in the fall and terminated in the spring right before or after planting, but if you look closely in between crop rows, you can see the residue from previous crops if it hasn’t been tilled. Tillage makes soil more susceptible to erosion, while no-till encourages healthy soil that stays put.


Carved out by glaciers

rock on side of road
Cyclists pass a glacial erratic (rock not native to the area dropped by melting ice) near Schaller.


A wetland with many purposes

farmer stands in front of pond
Just before RAGBRAI cyclists reached West Union Friday, they passed the farm of Roger Gamm who had a multipurpose wetland and pond. “It filters the water as it comes through,” Gamm says. “We use it as a dry hydrant for rural fire departments and for hunting and fishing.”


Improving soil health and helping pollinators with beautiful prairie

prairie in iowa
Roger Gamm has put most of his land into the Conservation Reserve Program. He also owns this 85-acre prairie that has never been plowed. Several endangered monarch butterflies flew by while Roger explained how he manages the prairie with burning in the spring.


Filter strips along the route

The Conservation Reserve Program provides incentives to put native grasses on farmland. This has many benefits, including deep roots that hold the soil in place and take up nutrients.