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Wind Your Way Through the Region on These Five Local Trails

Des Moines Outdoors Five Local Trails

April 19, 2017

Locals in Greater Des Moines (DSM) love all things hiking, biking and running. As spring turns to summer, it’s time for many to get back on the trails and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery. Compiled from the Central Iowa Trail Association, here are five local trails to forge anew or revisit.

Five Must-See Local Trails

Banner Lakes – Summerset State Park, Carlisle

Defined as “fun, challenging and highly technical,” Banner Lakes spans 5.5 miles of singletrack. The trail has six individual trails ranging from easy to difficult; it is recommended that runners begin with Coal Miner’s Daughter and end with Extra Credit. The trails are located only 10 miles south of DSM.

Central Trails – Greenwood Park and Water Works, DSM

In the middle of DSM winds about 13 miles of trails up for exploration. This trail, located near the Des Moines Arts Center off Grand, will take runners through Greenwood/Ashworth Park and Walnut Creek. This trail, which ranges in difficulty from easy to moderately challenging is perfect for those who like to run before or after work, or for those who like to toe the line between nature and urbanization.

Ewing Trails – Ewing Park, DSM

Ewing Park is beautifully built with local residents in mind. Amenities include a children’s park, dog park, lake and 18 holes of disc golf. Ewing Trails winds through the forests surrounding the South Side park. The trails only ever reach moderate in difficulty, so family-oriented runs and bike rides are perfect. When the family is done, enjoy the playground or grill for the remainder of the day.

Sycamore Trails – Sycamore Park, Johnston

Located along the west side of the Des Moines River, these trails make walkers, joggers, runners and dog-walkers feel close-knit in the DSM regional community. Six trails wind through beautiful scenery of trees and a calm river. Trail-goers have an option between Sycamore North and Sycamore South, though getting between the two is easy.

Lake Ahquabi – Lake Ahquabi State Park, Indianola

Lake Ahquabi is great for the outdoor enthusiast. With trails that border the lake for four of their six miles, hikers, bikers and skiers can play on ground while their friends enjoy the water nearby. Lake activities include swimming, boating and fishing. If families and groups of friends are having too much fun to go home, camping grounds are accessible near the shoreline. This site is a favorite of Simpson College students, who are located just six miles away. 

 Interested in more outdoor recreation and trails resources? Learn more here.

Jasmine Ward

Jasmine Ward is a Simpson College alumnus and former marketing assistant intern with the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Ward migrated to Des Moines (DSM) and has found a second home in the region.