“Head out on fast, flowing singletrack through this urban forest smack in the middle of Des Moines.”
— Air Va
The trail is located within a park in central Des Moines near city neighborhoods. The trails are perfect for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking.
Center Trails boasts around 13 miles of trail segments that are featured on this ride. The trails range from easy to moderately challenging. This ride uses fast, flowing singletrack through the woods while Hillside
provides some nice climbs and descents as it weaves around several ridges.
More information about the park and the trails can be found at CITA's Center Trails page
Need to Know
Be considerate of the trails in the low-lying areas. During the springtime thaw and heavy rains, the trails are often closed. Check and update status at status.centraliowatrails.com. Also, signs at the trailheads will indicate whether a trail is open or closed and regularly updated by the Trail Steward.
Center Trails winds through Greenwood/Ashworth Park (trails: Rollercoaster
) and continues south of the railroad track and across Walnut Creek in the Raccoon River flood plain (trails: Denman's Woods
, Rhythm, and Squirrel's Nest, J11
A suggested run starts at the trailhead just south of the Ashworth Pool parking lot. Start on the trail and go left, up the hill behind the pool. At the 45th St. road crossing, jump over to the continuation near the amphitheater. Follow this around behind the art center, ridges, and head back down to the creek crossing. Head straight after the creek which puts you out onto the Bill Riley paved trail. Head right, down Bill Riley for 20-30 yards and you'll find Hillside
's entrance on your left.
Once you're done with Hillside
(you'll end up where you originally entered), ride the Bill Riley Trail down and around to the Walnut Creek Trail (you can take the short-cut through the woods and over the rail-road track - it's off to the right south of the parking lot, and bisects near where you crossed the creek).
When the Walnut Creek Trail reaches North Valley Drive (Walnut Creek will be on your left), turn left (south) over Walnut Creek. Make a left onto the levee path. From the levee (or the singletrack that runs along the creek), look for the Denman's Woods
entrance just below the levee when the path jogs right and heads south. Plunge down the levee into the woods and enjoy!
History & Background
Center Trails is located in old growth forest. We're privileged to have such trails in urban Des Moines.