There’s something refreshing about taking the time to explore nature. Thankfully, Greater Des Moines has just what you need to get a breath of fresh air! With so many hiking trails to choose from, you could spend all day in the great outdoors. Here is our list of ideas to get you out and exploring.
Neal Smith Trail
Start your day with a cup o’ joe from Reising Sun Café in Polk City, and watch the sunrise as you sip your coffee. Then, explore the winding 25-mile Neal Smith trail surrounding the Polk City Sports Complex, then travel through wildlife-rich forest and wetlands habitat following the contours of the Des Moines River.
Saylorville Lake Shore Trail
After spending some time splashing in the water at Saylorville Lake, head out onto its very own Lake Shore trail. This trail is the best spot to take in the tranquility of the metro’s largest body of water and perhaps catch a glimpse of Iowa wildlife! After the day is done, stop at Latitude 41 Bar & Grill on the lake known for their late-night comfort food.
High Trestle Trail
High Trestle Trail was named one of the “Eight Amazing Footbridges” by BBC. See this lighted marvel for yourself featuring the 13-story rail bridge and an expansive paved road running through numerous Iowa towns. Stop in Slater for a pint of craft brew and a hearty sandwich at Nite Hawk Bar and Grill with outdoor seating and a stylish atmosphere.
Des Moines River Trail
Head down this scenic trail and take in not only the sights of nature but the sounds of the bustling city of Des Moines. Along the Des Moines River, this trail will take you to and from our beloved Principal Park, an excellent stop to sit, relax and admire the Des Moines skyline. Afterward, head over to El Bait Shop for a local craft brew on tap...and use the Brew Moines app to check-in for exclusive deals!
Raccoon River Valley Trail
A hot spot for RAGBRAI participants, the Racoon River Valley Trail is perfect for pedestrians and bikers stretching from Des Moines to Jefferson, IA. This trail will immerse you in the natural beauty of Central Iowa, with greenery and fields stretching for miles. During your adventure, stop in Adel at Korner Kone Ice Cream Shop for a sweet frozen treat!
Hit the Meredith Trail for amazing views of downtown Des Moines. Along the way, view beautiful works of public art and the rich architecture that makes up this unique city. Towards the end of the route, head down to the river and stop at Mullets to enjoy the riverside view and a hearty brunch of eggs, bacon, hash browns, and more!
Clive Greenbelt Trail
This trial is known for showcasing the vibrant greenery and wildlife of Iowa. Featuring a small creek and waterfalls, the Clive Greenbelt is one of the most tranquil places to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether it’s your last stop, first, or along the way, make sure to check out 515 Brewing Co. This brewery is home to a rotating menu of homemade draft IPAs and other local beers. Don’t forget to check-in on the Brew Moines app!