Map of bike paths / walking paths in the Des Moines area


Recreational trails for walking, running and cycling around Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa map area

Des Moines, Iowa

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Beaver Creek Trail

Chichaqua Valley Trail

Clive Greenbelt Trail

Gay Lea Wilson Trail Connector

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

Great Western Trail

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

High Trestle Trail

John Pat Dorrian Trail

Jordan Creek Parkway Trail

Jordan Creek Trail

Mills Civil Parkway Trail

Neal Smith Trail

North Walnut Creek Trail

Oralabor Gateway Trail

Raccoon River Valley Trail

S.E. Connector Trail

Summerset Trail

Walnut Creek Trail



Regional Trails

Des Moines is located in Central Iowa. It is the largest city and the state capital of Iowa. The Des Moines Metro Area is located Polk County, Dallas County and Warren County.  Other communities include: Altoona, Pleasant Hill, Wuakee, Carlisle, West Des Moines, Clive and Urbandale.

This area of Iowa has much to offer in the way of outdoor recreation and has an expansive system of recreational trails for walking, bike riding, running, outdoor recreation and commuting to work or to school. There are also several recreational trails that span out into the local countryside.

Within the Des Moines area there are several lengthy trails that have been constructed along abandoned railroad beds that extend far out into the open countryside and travel through the rural communities. These are paved and unpaved pathways that have gentle grades, fairly straight routes and relatively few street crossings. They are a fantastic way of experiencing natural areas and getting away from traffic and congestion. These trails include: Raccoon River Valley Trail, Chichaqua Valley Trail, Summerset Trail, Great Western Trail and the High Trestle Trail.

Many other trails in the Des Moines area follow the natural greenbelts along creeks and rivers, connect local parks, schools and other destinations and others allow you to ride safely alongside major roadways.

Chichaqua Valley Trail

The Chichaqua Valley Trail is a 28.6-mile long paved and unpaved trail that extends from the northeast side of Des Moines to the community of Baxter in Central Iowa. The name is pronounced as "chee-chak-wah" and is a Native American word for "skunk". The trail was built along an abandoned railroad bed that dates back to 1885. Its route wanders through the open countryside away from traffic. There are relatively few road crossings and the grades are gentle. The trail uses historic railroad bridges, wanders through forested stretches, goes past quaint railroad stations and other railroad relics, crosses picturesque creeks and streams and travels through several farming communities. The sights include a scenic crossing at the South Skunk River.

Read more about the Chichaqua Valley Trail

Raccoon River Valley Trail

The Raccoon River Valley Trail is located to the northwest of the Des Moines Urban Area. It consists of 89 miles of paved pathway that passes through 14 communities and three counties. The south end of the trail is located in Clive on the northwest side of the city. The trail splits into two routes then joins again west of the town of Jamaica. One it the routes heads north to the community of Perry. The other route heads west to Redfield then north through Panora. The trail ends at Jefferson near Highway 30. There is a fee associated with using the trail.

The Raccoon River Valley Trail travels through the beautiful Iowa countryside, past farmland and small rural communities. The grades are gentle, the route is fairly straight and there are relatively few road crossings. You will go past historic railroad structures and across trestle bridges, through the forest canopy and along wide open countryside.

Read more about the Raccoon River Valley Trail

Neal Smith Trail & John Pat Dorrian Trail

The Neal Smith Trail and the John Pat Dorrian Trail are paved pathways that extend for 28 miles across Central Des Moines and then to the north as far as Big Creek State Park. The John Pat Dorrian Trail follows the riverfront in Downtown Des Moines intermingling with the River Walk Trails and connecting to the pedestrian bridge over the Des Moines River.

The Neal Smith Trail connects to the north end of the John Pat Dorrian Trail and heads north along the east banks of the Des Moines River. The trail travels alongside Saylorville Lake, to Polk City and into Big Creek Lake State Park. These trails pass many local parks and connect to other trail systems along the way.

Read more about the Neal Smith Trail & John Pat Dorrian Trail

Clive Greenbelt Trail

The Clive Greenbelt Trail is an 11.3 mile system of paved pathways that wander through the greenbelt along Walnut Creek in the cities of Clive and West Des Moines. The Clive Greenbelt Trail extends from NW 156th Street to 73rd Street. The trail intersects with several other trails along its route including the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the Walnut Creek Trail. There is a stretch near Clive Lake where trail users need to used local streets to connect from one section of the trail to the other.

The west end of the Clive Greenbelt Trail is located at NW 156th Street. At this point the trail connects with local trails in the City of Waukee that head west through the Walnut Creek Baseball Complex and Ridge Pointe Park.

The east end of the Clive Green Belt Trail is located at 73rd Street near University Avenue. At this point the trial connects with the Walnut Creek Trail which leads to the Bill Riley Trail and the Merideth Trail. Trail users can follow these additional trail to reach Downtown Des Moines and the Des Moines River Trail and the River Walk.

Summerset Trail

The Summerset Trail is an 11-mile long paved pathway that extends from the community of Carlisle to the City of Indianola, south of the Des Moines Urban Area. The trail was constructed along an abandoned railroad bed and has gentle grades and is fairly straight. The route of the trail goes through open countryside alongside the roadway of 165th Place and Dubuque Place for the first 3.8 miles, then heads south away from the roadways. The trail passes through Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park and the small community of Summerset. The south end of the Summerset Trail is located at Euclid Avenue and N. Jefferson Way in the middle of Indianola. This is also the junction with the McVay Trail which swings back to the east.

Read More about the Summerset Trail


Following are links to official off-site resources to find out more details about recreational trails in the area in and around Des Moines, Iowa.

Individual Maps for Recreational Trails in Iowa

Below is a list of links to the individual maps for specific recreational trails in the State of Iowa. Additional trails are displayed on the maps for cities in Iowa.

Visit our Regional Recreational Trails page for a chart of trails with lengths, surfaces and communities.

Council Bluffs Iowa

Dubuque Iowa