Looking for the best trails around Des Moines?

Explore the best rated trails in Des Moines, IA. Whether you're looking for an easy walking trail or a bike trail like the Galloping Goose Trail (IA) and Meredith Trail . With more than 77 trails covering 4217 miles you're bound to find a perfect trail for you. Click on any trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.

Recent Trail Reviews

High Trestle Trail

Smooth as Silk.

May, 2023 by hsue_tl

We are going on to the Mickelson, but thought we would stop for the night in Iowa and take a ride. Very glad that we did. Came into Ames around 5:15PM. Saw that sunset was at 8:31 so we drove down to Madrid and went west to Woodward. The trip was short but we crossed the bride twiice and it was lit.

We parked in the Grants Woods lot outside Madrid, but the gravel trail is pretty steep in spots and rough, I suggest that if you park there, go back to the highway and go on about 500 feet where the Trail actually intersects it. There's some risk of car traffic, but we saw none. and you avoid having to walk up some steep gravel slopes.

Great Western Trail (IA)

Very Rough

May, 2023 by nvrcrywolf_1999

Rode the entire trail today. The ride is pretty however very hard to enjoy due to poor condition of the trail. The seams are very rough and major patch work though out the trail. First part of the trail from Water Works Park to Cummings, IA is not as bad but south of Cummings is very very bumpy. I hope there are some resurfacing upgrades scheduled soon. I would not ride it again. The Iowa Distillery in Cummings was a great stop.

Great American Rail-Trail

Great Allegheny Trail southeast of Pittsburgh?

April, 2023 by eshawger

Surprised to see this amazing trail that has great bed and breakfasts along it is not noted as part of the Great American Rail Trail. It sure would help demonstrate more GART completion if it was.


River's Edge Trail (IA)

Awesome Trail !!!

March, 2023 by t9pc25xqv4

The wife and I rode this trail for the first time on the first day of spring, going to be our favorite trail I believe! Start in Steamboat Rock and it’s a gradual incline most of the way to Eldora which makes it easy ride on the return trip. For us Golden age folks it’s a win win…

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

More work coming

March, 2023 by jwsknk_tl

In 2023 about 11/2 miles from Skunk River east to be paved, heard a rumor they got more funds to pave up to S14 or farther towards Maxwell. I35 bridge replacement could close that section for a couple of years in 24 and 25

JewEllsworth Trail

love it

December, 2022 by travelnurse413

Although short, it’s sweet! 3.5 miles of paved trail with a few benches scattered along the way to stop, reflect and just enjoy! Have ridden it multiple times, in all seasons, and it never fails to given me pleasure.

Volksweg Trail

craft beer

October, 2022 by chad_irving

Awesome trail Uphill ride into Pella Don’t forget to stop at the Peanut Pub across from a great bike shop for a craft beer. Perfect experience

Competine Trail

Knoxville trail

October, 2022 by chad_irving

Can ride through county park which gives you 6.8 miles in total. Can’t wait for a trail extension but overall great addition for Knoxville

Great Western Trail (IA)

Unfriendly to Wildlife

October, 2022 by fitnessmanagement

Lately, it is clear that, though, visitors enjoy these trails own by the city of Polk County and Water Works, there is a glim of sadness of cruelty going on throughout these trails. As The Polk County City Council and parks administrators have up to "pimp" the natural beauty of their wilderness to be destroyed by the hunting, bicycle, land-escaping and real state developmental business and brewing business.
The wild animals, forestry, waters, flora are being destroyed, in order to satisfy, not only the UNSATISFYING GREED OF THESE BUSINESS BUT THE POLOK COUNTY administrators in charge of it.
More and more trees are being cut down regardless if these are not ash trees, old. The fauna throughout these trails gets constantly injured and killed by visitors riding motorized vehicles and high speeding cyclist, drunk visitors shatter their beer bottles throughout the homes of these animals, there is trash allover, even next to trash containers! The are hardly any signs asking visitors to through their trash away, and hardly any available trash and recycle containers!!! These trails are NOT WILDERNESS FRIENDLY are poor managed by not protecting the wilderness from the increased amount of visitors that show not responsibility for their actions throughout these trails. There are not signs to caution visitors to keep safe wildlife and they need to post signs to help injured animals. Seeing animals being hunted by bow-arrow is the cruelest scene I have ever experienced, and my visits to these trails have open my awareness of the dark side of their management.
Visitors need to be conscious that there are living beings throughout these trails and that they need to be considerate of the wildlife safety in them. There is not need for land escaping, as their natural beauty is best God

High Trestle Trail

Loved Every Minute!

September, 2022 by wbbs29

I have no complaints about this trail. My husband and I rode from Ankeny to Woodward and back with no issues. 50 miles out and back! Mostly flat so be prepared to pedal continuously. We passed many friendly cyclists. We stopped at the Flat Tire Lounge for a bite and went on our way. The trail is very well maintained and has many places for rest stops, benches and port a potties, and self serve filling stations. Highly recommend this trail.

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

Paving update

September, 2022 by hutch006

9/18/22: Rode from Cambridge to Slater. Fully paved on this section. Like others, I briefly lost the trail in Huxley - no signs!

Raccoon River Valley Trail

Perry to Dallas Center

September, 2022 by allyn.dana

We parked at the wonderful covered parking in Perry and took the trail 13.5 mile to Dallas Center. Great smooth paved trail! Mostly flat and easy because of that. Would recommend!

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