#1 Walking Path – Gray’s Lake
Gray’s Lake is located in the heart of Des Moines. There is a lovely 2 mile walking path around a beautiful lake. This path can also be use for biking, rollerskating, and running. There is paddle boats and canos that you can rent to use on the lake. A small sandy area goes right up to the lake for kids to play, sand volleyball and pick nics. Public bathrooms are also available.
#2 Hiking trail – Raccoon River
The Raccoon River Valley Trail is a 56 mile paved loop that runs from Jefferson, IA to Waukee, IA. In 2013, an additional 33.1-mile north loop was completed making the trail nearly 90 miles of paved road and having a paved interior loop of more than 72 miles. Bicyclists, joggers, walkers, skaters, campers, cross-country skiers, birdwatchers, hunters, fishermen, naturalists and snowmobilers all use the Raccoon River Valley Trail thought the year in all seasons.
#3 Hiking Trail – Browns Woods
Browns Woods is a wildlife preserve with oak & hickory trees as well as trails for hiking & geocaching. It is Iowa’s largest urban forest and offers around 5 miles to explore and hike. During the winter, lots of residents use Browns woods to snowshoe and cross country ski. In these woods, the public can also collect nuts, fruits and edible mushrooms for personal use.
#4 Walking Path – Saylorville Lake
Located on the Des Moines River in central Iowa, just north of the city of Des Moines. Saylorville Lake has a 24 mile paved path that can be used for a variety of recreational activities like biking, hiking, jogging, walking, and in-line skating. There is also spaces for fishing, picnic areas with group shelters, boat launches, an accessible fishing pier, river fishing, and hunting. A marina is also on this lake for residential use and a camping ground for anyone that is interested.
#5 Walking Path – Easter Lake Park
Located in Polk, Iowa this walking path is the home of the one of the most iconic photo opportunities with the only covered bridge in Polk County. There is five picnic shelters and three playgrounds for kids. A boat ramp for fishing allows the public to fish mainly for walleye, bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish all stocked by the Conservation Board into the lake every year. In the summer there is also a swimming beach, paddle boat, canoe and kayak rentals.