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Opportunities to Explore the Water in the Heart of Johnston

Waterways in Johnston, Iowa

August 24, 2020

COVID-19 has changed our lives and, in some ways, maybe, for the better. More and more people seek ways to escape the confines of their homes and explore the great outdoors. Johnston’s many parks, recreational trails and waterways offer many opportunities for individuals and families to get outside, try new things and enjoy each other’s company.

In Johnston, we have eleven parks with varying themes and facilities that offer a variety of outdoor experiences across our community. We have over 40 miles of connected hard and soft trails that runners, bikers and walkers enjoy. Terra Park Lake and the Beaver Creek Water Trail are great places for those wanting to fish or kayak.

First Water Trail Access Point OpensWoman on the Water

Last fall, the City of Johnston and Central Iowa Water Trails celebrated the opening of the first water trail access point on Beaver Creek in Johnston. The launch site is located on NW 70th Avenue, just east of NW 86th Street. Not only was it the first launch site in Johnston, but it was also the first of the 86 sites planned for Greater Des Moines (DSM). Over 150 miles of water trails are being planned throughout the region as part of the Central Iowa Water Trails project. Once completed, it will certainly be a regional, national and international destination. 

Kayaking Beaver Creek

The first time I explored the Beaver Creek Water Trail, I was in awe. As I paddled down the creek with nature surrounding me, it was easy to forget that I was still physically in the metro area. Nestled between the banks of Beaver Creek, I could hear the birds singing and see the wildlife that lives along the creek’s gentle, rippling waters. During this time of COVID-19, I can’t think of a better way to take a mental break and relax than spend an afternoon paddling down Beaver Creek. Kayaking Group

Two additional access points will be added to the Beaver Creek Water Trail very soon. A launch site will be completed at Lew Clarkson Park yet this fall, and another will be installed near the Merle Hay Bridge/I-35 in 2022.

Residents and visitors have additional opportunities to have fun in the sun and be on the water at Terra Park in Johnston. This 200-acre park, located right in the heart of our community, includes an eight-acre lake that is stocked with fish and a fishing pier. It is also an excellent place for novice and experienced paddlers to kayak and paddleboard. While on the water, we encourage you to wear a life vest for your safety. And if you do not have one, you can borrow one from the life vest loaner station installed by the Rotary Club of Johnston at Terra Park Lake.

And finally, if you do not own a kayak to explore the water, there are opportunities for rentals. For more information on the rental opportunities available at Terra Park Lake or Beaver Creek, click here.

Whether it’s a morning on the lake or an evening spent exploring Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) 800 miles of connected recreational trails, the region has many outdoor options.

Described as the “most transformational quality-of-life project of our generation,” the Greater Des Moines Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan is a road map for enhancing experiences in and along 150 miles of waterways in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

Paula S. Dierenfeld

Paula Dierenfeld is the mayor of Johnston and an attorney at Nyemaster Good Law Firm in Greater Des Moines (DSM).