Photo of Sycamore Trails by David K.
Cycling can be enjoyed be people of all ages and abilities! From road, mountain, to recreational use, Polk County Conservation cooperatively manages several trails throughout the county that provide excellent cycling opportunities.
Chichaqua Valley Trailheads
- One mile east of Bondurant. Exit off US Hwy. 65, go 0.5 miles south on 88th St. to the parking lot.
- East end of the trail can be found by turning off Hwy. 223 to Baxter and locating the parking lot in the Baxter business district.
- Berwick access is currently available at Mally’s Park.
- Other parking areas are located in Bondurant, Ira, Mingo and Valeria.
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.
Great Western Trailheads
- North access is across from the Izaak Walton League Clubhouse on Valley Drive in Des Moines.
- Souh access is at Inwood Street in Martensdale.
- This trail can also be accessed in Cumming.
High Trestle Trailheads:
- South access is at Hawkeye Park (West First St.) in Ankeny.
- North access is near the intersection of N. Main St. and Railroad St. in Woodward.
- This trail can also be accessed in Sheldahl, Slater and Madrid.
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.
Oralabor Gateway Trailheads:
- East access is at Glenbrooke Park (2803 SW Glenbrooke Dr.) in Ankeny.
- Accessed from the south at Carney Marsh (NE 70th Ave.) and at the Sycamore Access on NW 66th Ave. in Johnston.
- North access is at NW Lower Beaver Dr. (just east of NW Beaver Dr.) in Des Moines
- South access is at the River Place office complex parking lot on Euclid Avenue in Des Moines.
Ride Open and Dry Trails: Respect trail closures —if there are no signs or they have not been changed after a rain shower please adhere to the “Ride Dirt not Mud” rule. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage, riding muddy trails contributes to unnecessary erosion and unpleasant ruts.
Trestle to Trestle Trailheads:
- South access is at Polk County’s River Place office complex (2309 Euclid Avenue) in Des Moines.
- North access is at NW Lower Beaver Dr. (just east of NW Beaver Dr.) in Des Moines.