Map of the Neal Smith Trail, IA


Neal Smith Trail, Iowa

summersettrail focus

Neal Smith Trail, Iowa


26 miles




Des Moines, Saylorville, Johnston, Polk City


Downtown Des Moines, local parks, natural areas along the Des Moines River, Saylorville Lake


John Pat Dorrian Trail

River Walk

Des Moines River Trail

Oralabor Gateway Trail

Inter-Urban Trail

Trestle to Trestle Trail

High Trestle Trail


Des Moines

Regional Trails

The Neal Smith Trail is a 26-mile long paved pathway that spans between Downtown Des Moines and the Big Creek Marina in Central Iowa. The trail starts on the north side of Downtown Des Moines and heads north along the Des Moines River. The route of the trail includes several local parks and miles of the woodlands and riparian habitat alongside the meandering river.

The south end of the trail allows a connection to many of the other recreational trails in the Des Moines area, such as the Trestle to Trestle Trail, the River Walk, the multi-use path alongside MLK Parkway, the Oralabor Gateway Trail, the Des Moines River Trail and the Merideth Trail.


The Neal Smith Trail is paved the entire route. There are relatively few road crossings and the route is well away from roads and traffic. The trail is open for non-motorized use such as bike riding, running and walking.


The Neal Smith Trail goes past the following communities: Downtown Des Moines, Saylorville, Johnston and Polk City.

Points of Interest

The Neal Smith Trail goes past the following points of interest:

Downtown Des Moines
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Birdland Marina
Birdland Pool
North High School
Riverview Park
Pedestrian bridge for the Inter-Urban Trail
Cottonwood Recreation Area
Dam for Saylorville Lake
Cherry Glen Playground
Prairie Flower Recreation Area
Saylorville Marina
Sandpiper Playground
Polk City Sports Complex
Leonard Park
Picnic areas along Saylorville Lake
Big Creek Marina
Nearby Trails

John Pat Dorrian Trail, River Walk & Des Moines River Trail: the south end of the Neal Smith Trail connects to the John Pat Dorrian Trail which allows a connection to the River Walk in Downtown Des Moines, which in turn connects to the Des Moines River Trail.

Inter-Urban Trail & Trestle to Trestle Trail: the pedestrian bridge over the Des Moines River for the Inter-Urban Trail is located to the south of Euclid Avenue. This bridge also allows a connection to the Trestle to Trestle Trail.

Oralabor Gateway Trail: the two trails meet to the north of NW 66th Avenue in Saylorville.

High Trestle Trail: the High Trestle Trail is located 2-miles to the east of the north end of the Neal Smith Trail.

End Points

The south end of the Neal Smith Trail is located at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gradens, just north of the bridge for Interstate 235.

The north end of the rail is located at the Big Creek Marina at NW 142nd Avenue in Polk City.


Following are links to official off-site resources to find out more details about Neal Smith Trail & John Pat Dorrian Trail, Iowa.