Great Western Trail

West Des Moines, Iowa

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Beginning on the edge of Water Works Park, a large open green space south of downtown Des Moines, this trail on a former railroad bed winds past the outer edge of Des Moines International Airport yet maintains a wilderness feel, with thick foliage and the occasional deer sighting. It is very popular with cyclists, who zip out of the city and into open country, stopping every few miles at small-town taverns that serve as popular watering holes. (In fact, this hike is perhaps best done in the middle of the day or early afternoon, before the path becomes crowded with cyclists.)

Great Western Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Beginning on the edge of Water Works Park, a large open green space south of downtown Des Moines, this trail on a former railroad bed winds past the outer edge of Des Moines International Airport yet maintains a wilderness feel, with thick foliage and the occasional deer sighting.

It is very popular with cyclists, who zip out of the city and into open country, stopping every few miles at small-town taverns that serve as popular watering holes. (In fact, this hike is perhaps best done in the middle of the day or early afternoon, before the path becomes crowded with cyclists.)"

Activity Type: Cross-Country Skiing, Hiking
Nearby City: West Des Moines
Distance: 11
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 5 to 6 hours
Season: Spring through Fall
Local Maps: USGS Des Moines SW; trail map available from contact listed below
Driving Directions: Directions to Great Western Trail

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May 2018