Calling all active travelers! It's time for some added destination exploration. Whether you are here on business, just for the weekend or even if you are a local, Des Moines offers a runner friendly atmosphere to compliment any visit. With a caffeine kick and a post-run refuel, a trot around Greater Des Moines is one of the best ways to see the city. Here is how I recommend you run Des Moines:
  Java Joes Coffee Sign


For me, a pre-run coffee is essential. That iced coffee boost keeps this night owl striding strong mile after mile. As a Downtown Des Moines resident, my favorite place to pop into is Java Joe's Coffee House for a quick brew. The relaxed atmosphere and homey-feel makes it the perfect place to fuel-up and plan the day's route. If I decide not to default to my tried and true Principal Riverwalk run, I turn to resources like the Iowa by Trail App, where you can find the nearest trail, see how others rank routes and filter based on distance and difficulty; or our Trails page where we feature resources like a customizable map and recommended routes.


Greater Des Moines is connected by more than 800 miles of trails, perfect for bikers, hikers and runners alike. I decided to be a tourist in my own city one day and go for a nice and relaxed run combining our "Catch a Run in the City" three mile route with some added miles around Gray's Lake. Combining these routes will provide you with wonderful views from both city and nature. Looking to get a longer run in? I recommend heading north of downtown on Neal Smith Trail for a scenic run along the Des Moines River.


Some of the most memorable experiences I have had while traveling I can attribute to some miles spent actually taking in the scenery and not worrying about pace.

My exploration route let me take in an array of sites ranging from downtown architecture and sculpture to scenic views along the Des Moines River, Raccoon River and Gray's Lake. This route offers ideal spots if you want to take a stretch break, get a view and maybe snap a picture or two. 

Looking for a city shot? Reach the top of the Capitol steps or make your way to the bridge just beyond Principal Park to get that perfect skyline shot. A more natural environment your style? Find your way around Gray's Lake and maybe you will catch a glimpse of the bald eagles that nest there. Feeling Artsy? Finish your run back downtown at the Sculpture Park where you can stretch and get the shot your Instagram has been needing. #CATCHdsm 

Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market


After you've had your relaxing trek around the city you're probably hungry and want to refuel with some tasty eats. If your run is on a Saturday morning plan to hit up the Downtown Farmers' Market and get a breakfast burrito, some fresh produce and maybe even a donut. Fresh food, live music and great people watching. Feel like getting off those feet? I recommend places like Gateway Market, La Mie or Mullet's for some post run grub. Whether you are calorie conscious or looking to feast, Des Moines has options for everyone.


Hate running alone? Local running store Fleet Feet Sports offers group runs that anyone can join. All levels are encouraged to participate! Looking for a race? Des Moines is a hub for various levels of competitive running. You can catch a road race just about every weekend this fall! Find the race for you by using our "Road Races" filter on the Catch Des Moines Events Page

"It's A Great Day to Run!"