Trails in Des Moines
No matter the weather, you can enjoy a day on one of central Iowa's many scenic trails – more than 800 miles worth! Explore the famous High Trestle Trail over the Des Moines River near Ankeny, or make a date of it and stop for a beer while walking or biking the Clive Greenbelt Trail. Check out our guide to the best trails in Greater Des Moines!
- Chichaqua Valley Trail
- Clive Greenbelt Trail
- High Trestle Trail
- Meredith Trail
- Neal Smith Trail
- Oralabor Gateway Trail
- Walnut Creek Trail
- West Des Moines Historical Bike Tour
- Gray's Lake and Water Works Park
Stretching 25 miles from Berwick to Baxter, the entire trail is paved, making it perfect for runners, cyclists, rollerbladers, and all other non-motorized methods of transportation. Watch for mile markers to Kansas City along the trail, what was formerly a railroad route. Abandoned in 1984, the railroad route reopened as a recreational trail in 1987 and features a stone bridge dating back to 1885.
For a smoother walk, run, or jog, the Clive Greenbelt Trail is 11.3 miles of smooth asphalt, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. This beautiful and scenic route features an iconic bridge, creek, and small waterfalls. Located in Clive, IA, this trail is close to many food or drink hotspots, so you can get your grub on, before or after enjoying the trails.
High Trestle Trail is a "rail-trail," or a decommissioned railroad line converted into a multi-use trail, so the terrain is relatively smooth and flat. The trail crosses over the 1/2-mile, 13-story high bridge over the Des Moines River valley. The High Trestle Trail Bridge is one of the largest trail bridges in the world and was named as one of BBC's "Eight Amazing Footbridges" in 2015. Illuminating the sky with bright lights after dark, the bridge includes six overlooks with interactive panels highlighting the area's cultural and natural history.
Named in honor of Ted Meredith, a dedicated conservationist and also former Chairman of the Board for Meredith Corporation, this 5.2-mile trail connects downtown Des Moines to Gray's Lake Park. The trail starts at the end of the Principal Riverwalk along the Des Moines River and ends on the southeast side of Gray's Lake Park, giving you a beautiful view of downtown Des Moines architecture and the water routes around it.
Neal Smith Trail rolls along the banks of the Des Moines River through the Ding Darling Greenway conservation area and then makes its way through a variety of landscapes, including riverbanks, wildflower meadows, lakeshores, and dense forests. Plenty of benches offer ample opportunities for trail users to rest and enjoy the deer, rabbits, butterflies, and other critters active along the route.
The Oralabor Gateway Trail is a 5.2-mile concrete-surfaced spur branching off from the Neal Smith Trail south of Saylorville Lake and just north of NW 66th Avenue. While running adjacent to suburban Iowa neighborhoods, the trail parallels Oralabor Road for much of its route. Weave in and out between local towns, parks, and beautiful natural scenery.
If the heat of an Iowa summer gets to be too much, don't let it stop you from taking advantage of an energizing walk, run, or bike ride on a trail! The Walnut Creek Trail provides lots of shade with a beautiful river running through it. Take your dog with you and explore one of Greater Des Moines' best trails.
Get your brakes checked and tires pumped for a bike tour highlighting important historical landmarks of West Des Moines. This 8-mile loop features fun facts about the Jordan House, the Red Caboose, Racoon River Park, and nine other unique locations. Make a day of it by grabbing food and drink or stopping to support small businesses in nearby Historic Valley Junction.
Get your steps in along the 1.9-mile trail encircling Gray’s Lake. In the evening, drink in the beautiful downtown Des Moines skyline from the colorfully illuminated bridge. Dip under Fleur Drive via the new pedestrian tunnel to explore Water Works Park and be sure to keep your eyes open for several pieces of public art.
Navigate 800 miles of trails with ease, with this interactive and customizable map!
Customize the zoomable and printable map to display:
- Regional Trails
- Local Trails
- On-Street Bike Lanes
- Nature & Dirt Trails
- Bcycle Locations
- Restaurants & Attractions along the trails
- Parks & Open Space