Gay Lea Wilson Trail

Travel north/south between Des Moines to Pleasant Hill and Ankeny on the Gay Lea Wilson Trail West (7.5 miles) or take the spur in Pleasant Hill for the Gay Lea Wilson Trail east to Altoona (5.9 miles). This trail connects to the Chichaqua Valley Trail in Berwick and continues through Ankeny, connecting to the Neal Smith and the High Trestle Trails. This paved trail supports runners, walkers, cross-country skiers, cyclists, and in-line skaters.

Gay Lea Wilson Trailheads:

  • Pleasant Hill Trailhead: located on the west end of the Copper Creek Plaza parking lot near the lake (off University Ave.) AND trailhead located off Scott Avenue and E. Oakwood Dr.
  • Des Moines access is available at Sargent Park at 3500 E. Douglas Ave.
  • Access in Ankeny at Carney Marsh (580 SE 54th St.)
  • Altoona trailhead is located at 8th St. SW and 7th Ave. SW
  • Access in Berwick is available for both the Gay Lea Wilson Trail and the Chichaqua Valley Trail at Mally’s Park at 5792 NE Berwick Dr.


Temporary Closure

A short section of the Gay Lea Wilson Trail will be closed May-July 2022. Please avoid the area west of Berwick along NE 54th Ave. This area is being used by construction crews working to create wetlands which will be beneficial to the local ecology - enhancing water quality and supporting wildlife!

Polk County Conservation appreciates your patience. The beautiful scenery and wildlife you'll see on future trail rides will be worth the minor detour!

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.