Easter Lake Park & Mark C. Ackelson Trail

Easter Lake Park
2830 Easter Lake Drive
Des Moines, IA 50320 

A beautiful 165-acre lake is the centerpiece of this 468+ acre park in southeastern Des Moines. Anglers love this lake filled with catfish, bluegill, largemouth bass, crappie, and walleye. A swimming beach and accessible fishing pier are also available on the lake’s north side. Surrounding the lake, visitors enjoy a 4-mile paved trail, nature trails, picnicking, playgrounds, and viewing Polk County’s last remaining covered bridge.

Easter Lake Park's recreational facilities include:

  • Beach: The swimming beach at Easter Lake Park is free to the public. It is open from 8 a.m. to sunset every day of the week beginning in May until winterization takes place at the end of September.
  • Easter Lake Boat Rental Website | Easter Lake Boat Rental on Facebook
    • Canoes
    • Kayaks
    • Stand Up Paddleboards
    • Paddle Boats
    • Pontoon Boats
    • Motor Boats
    • Bikes from BCycle
  • Picnic Areas
  • Hiking Trails
  • Accessible Fishing Pier/Dock 
  • Boat Ramp

Reservations for shelters can be made on-line at Prices can be found here.


The 4-mile Mark C. Ackelson Trail winding around Easter Lake provides an ideal place for outdoor recreation and scenic views for park visitors. Cycling, skating and hiking opportunities along the trail lie adjacent to playground equipment, fishing complete with an accessible pier, boat ramp and several picnic areas. The trail rides through Owen's Covered Bridge on the southern lake shore, Polk County's only covered bridge. Parking and trail access is available from any of the shelters and parking lots located throughout Easter Lake Park as well as at the beach. The north side of the trail is accessible from Ewing Park.


The trail's namesake, Mark C. Ackelson, served as president of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation for 18 years as well as provided leadership in several conservation coalitions and alliances. Ackelson's devoted passion for land, water and wildlife served in helping the INHF to protect and restore 145,000 acres of Iowa's natural areas in addition to providing hundreds of miles of trails in an effort to support local trail-side communities and get Iowans outdoors.


  • Summer |6:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. | April 1 - October 31

  • Winter | Sunrise - Sunset | November 1 - March 31 

  • Beach Hours| 8 a.m. - Sunset

Unless Otherwise Posted 


Mark C Ackelson Trail : 4.1 Miles | Difficulty: Easy

Apple Orchard Trail: 0.2 Miles | Difficulty: Easy

Wymore Trail: 1.4 Miles | Difficulty: Easy 

Songbird Trail: 0.1 Miles | Difficulty: Easy


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.