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Head out on fast, flowing singletrack through this urban forest smack in the middle of Des Moines.

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Map Key







986' 301 m


865' 264 m


477' 145 m


477' 145 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Allowed

Family Friendly 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.

Avoid when wet. Check and update status at
Denman's Woods is located in a flood-plain and behaves as such after heavy rains or high river/creek flows.


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 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, Hillside) 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.


Shared By:

Air Va with improvements by Chris K

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 28 votes


  4.0 from 28 votes
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in Iowa


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7,048 Since Jul 27, 2015
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Center Trails Hillside and Rollercoaster!
Sep 26, 2020 near West De…, IA
Flow on Hillside Trail
Jul 26, 2020 near West De…, IA
Hillside Trail
Sep 26, 2019 near West De…, IA
Tech bridge feature on Rollercoaster
Jul 26, 2020 near West De…, IA
Bridge on Rollercoaster
Jun 9, 2015 near West De…, IA
Looking east toward the short run that takes you back up to the Bill Riley Trail and over to Hillside.
Jun 9, 2015 near West De…, IA



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Sep 15, 2022
John Li
May 14, 2022
Rollercoaster, Fingers & part of Hillside
Jul 11, 2021
Julie Birkle
Nice park trail 13mi
May 11, 2021
Kelly Humphrey
Beautiful May Day! Two way tracks are a little sketchy and a lot of people run and walk on the trails but overall fun loop. Lots of uphill 5mi — 0h 40m
Apr 24, 2021
Justin Maxfield
Oct 29, 2018
Corim Carey
Covered in leaves, and meh.. 5mi
Sep 24, 2018
Kirk Becker
fun got cut short due to a flat tire, but what a fun ride!

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