Des Moines, IA

Des Moines River Trail

Creative Commons 3.0: Ashton B Crew

This is a scenic and straightforward run along the Des Moines River, with numerous distance and add-on options.  It’s almost entirely on a paved multi-use path.

Start downtown on Grand Ave. and head north along the river trail, crossing the iconic Principal pedestrian Bridge. Then, head north along the River Path for as many miles as you like (John C. Dorian/American Discovery/ Neil Smith Trail). We mapped up to 11.5 miles to Saylorville Lake. Some distances, from the start, below. A good 7-mile out and back route is to River Drive Park.

2.0 miles: Union Park/Birdland Park
3.5 miles:  River Drive Park (nice, shaded path)
7.0 miles: I-35
9.4 miles: NW 66th Ave./Sycamore Trails
11.6 miles: Saylorville Lake Visitor Center (see our route there!)

Add-Ons: From downtown, one can do a nice ~3 mile loop south along the Riverwalk to Principal Park. Can also incorporate our ‘Runseeing‘ Tour and Saylorville Lake route.

Essentials
  • Up to 11.6 miles (18.6 km) one-way to Saylorville Lake. A good 7-mile out and back is to River Drive Park
  • 268 feet (81m) over full 11+ miles one-way
  • Downtown at Riverwalk

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Essentials
  • Up to 11.6 miles (18.6 km) one-way to Saylorville Lake. A good 7-mile out and back is to River Drive Park
  • 268 feet (81m) over full 11+ miles one-way
  • Downtown at Riverwalk