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Best Easy Day Hikes: Des Moines
by Michael Ream (Falcon Guides)
Running alongside a small stream through a wooded ravine, this is one of several fine trails in Jester Park, one of Polk County’s best nature and recreation areas. Stretching for nearly 2,000 acres on the west shore of Saylorville Lake, north of Des Moines.Jester Park is a mecca for birders: The park is listed as a globally significant bird area by the American Bird Conservancy, and is a major migration stopover for the American white pelican—some 3,000 to 8,000 of them pass through beginning in late August and peaking around Labor Day. Gulls and waterfowl come through later in the year.
This is a short, shady walk through the forest at a county park. Seems like it should be rated "easy" to me: there are a few uphill sections, but hardy moderate. There's a small stream off to the side of the trail for most of its length so be prepared for mosquitoes. One end of the trail is the natural playscape area which is great fun for kids! There are latrines at both ends of the trail.
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