The Polk County Conservation Board offers over 37 miles of trails for you to explore. Whether you're looking for a challenging, easy, or a family hike we've got a trail for you.
Some Good Ideas
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan on returning.
- Check the weather forecast for the day and dress appropriately.
- Staying on designated trails is extremely important. Venturing off trails can cause serious ecological damage to an area.
- Learn to identify poison ivy. Remember, leaves of three, let it be. If you're not sure, don't touch it.
- Many trails have multiple uses. Be sure to respect other visitors and their use of the trail.
- Although you may not see them, our parks are home to many species of wildlife. Remember that you are visiting their home.
Take a Hike!
Some recommended trails:
Brown's Woods: Located just west of 63rd Street in West Des Moines
Trail: Front Loop, .4 miles
Description: The giant oak trees shading this trail create a solid canopy of leaves penetrated by dancing rays of sunlight.
Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt: Located northeast of Des Moines, 5 miles east of Elkhart
Trail: Nature Trail, .8 miles
Description: This tranquil trail winds along the old ox-bows of the Skunk River. Keep an eye out for great blue herons, wood ducks, and river otters.
Easter Lake: Located east of SE 14th Street on Easter Lake Drive in Des Moines
Trail: Wymore Trail, .9 miles
Description: Catch a glimpse of beautiful Easter Lake as you walk along this densely wooded trail.
Fort Des Moines: Located on southeast 5th Street, south of Army Post Road in Des Moines
Trail: Nature Trail, .7 miles
Description: This trail winds through a tapestry of sunlight, shadows, and greenery. Listen for chattering chipmunks, scolding blue jays, and whispering wind.
Jester Park: Located 15 miles northwest of Des Moines near Granger
Trail: Camper's Loop, .3 miles
Description: You'll enjoy spectacular views of Saylorville Lake on this peaceful trail as you hike through beautiful oak and hickory trees.
Thomas Mitchell: Located on NE 46 St. east of Altoona
Trail: Devotie Loop, .7 miles
Description: This ridge top trail is part of the old stagecoach trail that stopped at Thomas Mitchell's cabin. Thomas Mitchell was the first permanent Anglo-American settler in Polk County.
Yellow Banks: Located 10 miles southeast of Des Moines, south of Hwy. 163
Trail: Savanna Trail, .4 miles
Description: On this trail, you can introduce yourself to some of the oldest residents. This trail guides you past some of the last remaining savanna oak trees in Polk County, some are estimated to be more than 250 years old.