Des Moines, Iowa, sometimes referred to as the big small town, offers ample biking opportunities. Whether you’re looking for an urban ride through downtown to checkout the architecture and sample a brewski at a local pub or desire a scenic ride to take in the rolling hills surrounding the city — Des Moines offers it all. Here’s our list of the top ten bike paths to check-out on your next visit.
Below are some of our favorite trails around Des Moines – but first we want to introduce you to the Ride Spot App. We have curated routes from our staff on Ride Spot made for all different ride levels. Simply search for and follow “ERIK’S Bike Shop” in West Des Moines to see our local shop-created rides.
The Ride Spot App features easy-to-follow local routes with on-screen navigation and/or audible turn-by-turn directions. It’s a great resource to find fun rides in your area, connect with other riders, and even begin logging your favorite rides to share with other locals or those biking through your neighborhood.
And now for the amazing Des Moines trails. . .
Paved beginning to end, scenic Chichaqua Valley Trail stretches 25 miles from Berwick to the Jasper County town of Baxter. The trail crosses historic stone bridges dating back to when the Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska rail line was built in 1885 and also passes over the Skunk River.
The paved Clive Greenbelt Trail will take you along 11.3 miles of beautiful creeks, waterfalls, and even an iconic bridge. Hop on in Clive, IA where you’ll find an abundant of quaint places to grab a bite to each post-ride.
If you enjoy rolling hills as well as wetland scenery give the Summerset trail a try! The trail consists of 12 paved miles that extend from Carlisle, southeast of Des Moines, to Indianola through Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park.
The Great Western features 16 paved miles that will carry you through beautiful woodland trails, open rural corn fields, and small towns with tranquil spots to stop by for a drink and bite to eat
High Trestle Trail is a 25 mile paved and relatively flat “rail-trail” (decommissioned railroad line). It crosses over the scenic 1/2-mile, 13-story high bridge over the Des Moines River valley known as the High Trestle Trail Bridge. Various art installations, telling the story of the coal mine that once operated nearby, are exhibited along the bridge. If you are looking for a ride that will take you on a journey through history – this trail is it!
If you are seeking an urban ride through downtown Des Moines – check out Meredith Trail. An easy 5.2 miles long, this trail begins at the Principle Riverwalk by the Des Moines River and ends at Gray’s Lake Park where you can take in the view of the downtown skyline as well as the water ways surrounding it.
The Neal Smith Trail guides you along 26 miles of paved trails that offer you a feast for your eyes! As you cruise up and down the rolling hills you’ll see wildflower meadows, Saylorville lakeshore, mature forests, and more. And there’s plenty of places along the trail to relax and enjoy a picnic – so be sure to pack a lunch!
Explore nine miles of paved, shaded trail that runs along the North Walnut Creek. An essential link between the city of Des Moines’ trail system and the western suburbs, you’ll find several parks, shelters, and playgrounds along the way to stop by at. A great ride for the whole family to partake in!
For more ride ideas in the area – don’t forget to download the app: Ride Spot and search for and follow “ERIK’S Bike Shop” in West Des Moines to see our local rides. And next time you’re heading out biking, swing by our shop to get equipped with all the gear you need to make your ride comfortable, safe, and fun! Happy trails…