About Des Moines Trails

At the River
Bald eagle education event along Des Moines River

Survey Data
The City of Des Moines conducted a “Community Attitude and Interest Survey” in November 2007 to determine the perceived needs and priorities of parks and recreation programs and facilities. Those surveyed were asked to indicate and rank their needs of various parks and recreation facilities. This survey showed that trails were overwhelmingly the most highly-used, needed, supported, and requested park and recreation facility in the City of Des Moines. Trails were also the facility that respondents were most willing to fund with their tax dollars. Finally, when asked what type of active or passive uses they would support along the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers, paved walking and biking trails rated number 1.

The Des Moines River Trail Phase 1
It will include direct connections at SE 1st, SE 6th, SE 8th, SE 14th and SE 22nd Streets from the trail to the surrounding neighborhoods. Regionally, the trail will appeal to and be a destination for residents and tourists of every age and income level and provide an important element to attract and retain families in the Des Moines metropolitan area as well as the state of Iowa. Since access to the trail is free and construction is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is affordable and accessible to a diverse group of people.

Nortwest View
North End of Trail - The north end of the trail ties into
the Meredith Trail and Principal Riverwalk.
Meredith Trail
The Meredith Trail connects downtown’s Principal Riverwalk to Gray’s Lake Park, forming a 4+ mile trail loop in the City’s core, and features amenities such as trail lights, water fountains, emergency phones, overlooks, and two pedestrian bridges over the Raccoon River. The Des Moines River Trail will begin near the southeast corner of the Meredith Trail loop, providing a trail link from the south side of Des Moines into this downtown recreational trail. Trail use counts have indicated that between 1,000 and 2,000 people use the Meredith Trail daily in the summer.

Principal Riverwalk
The Principal Riverwalk, which started construction in the summer of 2004, will be a lighted and landscaped 1.2-mile mixed use trail loop and promenade that will connect the east and west sides of the Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines; the trail will be complete this year. Amenities include a skating rink, fountains, significant art, two signature bridges, gardens and plazas, and a trail segment to accommodate in-line skating, running, walking and bicycling. A signature bicycle/pedestrian bridge now under construction near the Iowa Events Center will connect the west and east sides of the Des Moines River over the Center Street Dam and will compliment the renovated red Union Pacific Railroad Bridge south of Court Avenue at the southern end of the promenade and trail. The Riverwalk will also connect to the Meredith Trail near Court Avenue as well as the John Pat Dorrian Trail near the Center Street Dam.

Cownie Soccer Park
South End of Trail - The south end of this phase of the trail will be
the James W. Cownie Baseball and Soccer Parks.

James W. Cownie Baseball Park
Located across the street from the Cownie Soccer Park, Cownie Baseball Park will also be linked to the Des Moines River Trail. The eight-field baseball complex hosts a Little League season, USSSA tournaments and a wide variety of other baseball events. Cownie Baseball holds over 1700 games and events per year.

James W. Cownie Soccer Park
The eastern terminus of Phase 1 of the Des Moines River Trail will be the James W. Cownie Soccer Park. Opened in 1998, the Cownie Soccer Park boasts 12-fields, two of which include stadium seating. The complex includes over 800 paved parking spaces and its irrigated fields have hosted many local, state, regional and national youth tournaments, pee-wee soccer lessons, high school and college games and over 90,000 total soccer participants. Tournaments and games utilize this complex nearly every weekend in the spring and fall.