Polk County Conservation

17. Sycamore Trails

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Sycamore North: 4640 NW 66th Ave, Johnston, IA 50131

Euclid Ave., Des Moines, to NW 66th St. in Johnston – 6.5 Miles

The 6.5 mile Sycamore Trail will take you through some of the most wild areas of the Des Moines metro area. Abundant wildlife and views of the Des Moines River will keep you pedaling to find what’s around the next bend in the trail.

Sycamore Trails are open to bicycling, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

*The following are NOT permitted in this natural area:

  • Motorized Vehicles
  • Horseback Riding
  • Camping
  • Firearms
The Trails

Sycamore Trails are fast, flowing singletrack that weaves through old growth forest along the west side of the Des Moines River. The trails are generally easy riding and many adults and children frequent the trails. It is open to mountain bikers, walkers, joggers, runners and dogs on leashes -  be considerate of these other trail users and practice Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics. 

This is an enjoyable ride through relatively flat terrain, but be aware of bumps, curves, and slick spots which could cause accidents if you don’t pay attention.


Trailheads are located at the east end of the River Place building parking lot on Euclid Ave. in Des Moines and on NW 66th Ave., about 1 mile east of Beaver Ave. in Johnston. Follow signs along the trail to direct you on the correct path.

Land & Wildlife

This land along the west bank of the Des Moines River is relatively undeveloped since it is located in the river’s flood plain. Once Saylorville Reservoir was constructed in 1976 to the north, the floods have decreased in frequency and severity. This has allowed plant life to stabilize and has benefited wildlife.

Watch for waterfowl resting and feeding along the river. Barred owls, red-tailed hawks, and red fox keep the rodent populations in check. Numerous songbird species benefit from the bountiful insect populations. Fox squirrels, racoons, opossum, striped skunk, and white-tailed deer are common in this area.

Facilities are not available along this remote trail. Restrooms, water, and snacks need to be thought of in advance.

*Motorized vehicles are prohibited on all trails within PCCB lands. The only exceptions are for maintenance, law enforcement, and emergency vehicles. This restriction does not apply to a manual-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability, e.g. wheel chair.

Contact Us

Administration Office
12130 NW 128th St
Granger, IA 50109

P: (515) 323-5300
F: (515) 323-5354

Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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