United States

Des Moines, IA

Our Guide to the Best Places to Run in Des Moines.

Flickr: Jason Mrachina

Des Moines is the capital and largest city in Iowa. It’s a major center for the insurance industry, publishing, and other sectors. The Des Moines River runs through the center of downtown. Des Moines is one of those ‘underrated’ cities for running. There’s a huge network of multi-use trails, numerous parks, and several creeks & lakes that make for interesting runs. Running in Des Moines is a treat!

There are several routes that are easily accessed from central Des Moines, including our ‘Runseeing’ Tour, Riverwalk, and Des Moines River Trail. Just west of town, there are several delightful residential neighborhoods for running. One of the best places to run in Des Moines is the area around Gray’s Lake & Waterworks Park. Nearby are the Walnut Creek Trail and nice running at Raccoon River Park. South of Des Moines, there’s the long-distance Great Western Trail and a lovely loop around Easter Lake. North of town, the Neil Smith Trail goes for 11 miles along the Des Moines River, where one can continue for more miles along Saylorville Lake.

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Des Moines has a humid continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Summer high temperatures are in the mid-80s (30C), though nights do cool off. Keep an eye out for thunderstorms in spring & summer. Spring and autumn are pleasant but changeable. Winters are cold, with average high temperatures staying just below freezing and nights dipping to the mid-teens (-10C). The city averages 37 inches (96 cm) of annual snowfall.


Des Moines has an extensive network of paths and trails easily accessible from downtown. If staying in the downtown area, try to stay near the Des Moines River, for easy access to tthe Riverwalk, Des Moines River Trail, pleasant residential neighborhoods, and connections to other trails.


There’s a Fleet Feet outlet in Des Moines, and they have group runs Tuesdays & Thursdays.

There are also two locations of Fitness Sports, which carry running gear.


Fleet Feet has group runs Thursday & Saturday, plus other regular running events. Calendar

Looking for road or trail races in this area? Find them on RaceRaves, the best online race calendar and reviews community for runners!

Find races in Des Moines, IA

Fleet Feet has a good calendar of upcoming running events.

Brewery Running Series. Numerous fun run events throughout the year that all start and end at local breweries.