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. 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:

  • Picnic Areas
  • Hiking Trails
  • Boat Ramp

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


North Shore Beach - CLOSED in 2023

The beachfront is now under construction! The temporary closure will facilitate construction of one of the most universally accessible parks in the country. Learn more about this incredible project.

While under construction park visitors will not be able to swim in the lake. Similarly, there will be no concession sales or boat and equipment rentals. 

Those who wish to boat or fish may still do so from any of the other piers and boat docks.


The four-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 piers, boat ramps, 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. 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 (INHF) for 18 years, as well as provided leadership in several conservation coalitions and alliances. Ackelson's passion for land, water and wildlife lead INHF to protect and restore 145,000 acres of Iowa's natural areas. Under his guidance INHF also provided hundreds of miles of trails which supported local trail-side communities and ushered Iowans outdoors.


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

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

  • Beach Hours| Closed 2023-Spring 2024

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.