Des Moines, Iowa, offers several nature parks and recreational areas that provide residents and visitors with opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty and outdoor activities in the region. Here are some of the notable nature parks and their descriptions:
- Gray’s Lake Park: Gray’s Lake Park is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Des Moines. It features a beautiful 167-acre lake, walking and biking trails, a beach area, and a playground. Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, picnicking, and wildlife watching. The park is also known for its stunning views of the downtown Des Moines skyline.
- Raccoon River Park: Raccoon River Park is located in West Des Moines and covers a vast area of more than 630 acres. It offers a network of trails, a beach, and a large lake for boating and fishing. The park is a favorite spot for birdwatching and has multiple sports facilities, including soccer fields, tennis courts, and a nature lodge.
- Ewing Park: Ewing Park is one of the oldest and largest parks in Des Moines, covering over 1,300 acres. It features wooded areas, walking trails, a rose garden, and a lily pond. The park is home to diverse wildlife and is a great place for nature enthusiasts and hikers.
- Jester Park: Located just outside of Des Moines in Polk City, Jester Park is a vast natural area that offers a variety of outdoor activities. The park is known for its extensive trail system, a golf course, and Saylorville Lake, which provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and swimming. The park is also home to a nature center and bison and elk herds.
- Water Works Park: Water Works Park is Des Moines’ largest urban park and is home to several miles of walking and biking trails along the Raccoon River. The park also features beautiful gardens, sculptures, and a river overlook. It’s a peaceful place to enjoy nature and scenic views.
- MacRae Park: MacRae Park, located on the south side of Des Moines, offers stunning panoramic views of the city skyline and the Des Moines River. The park has walking trails, a playground, and picnic areas, making it a great spot for relaxation and taking in the scenic beauty.
- Brown’s Woods: Brown’s Woods is a natural area within the Des Moines city limits. It provides a serene escape into the woods with hiking trails and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation. The park is known for its diverse flora and fauna.
These parks offer a wide range of outdoor experiences, from leisurely strolls to more active pursuits like boating, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful place to unwind, Des Moines’ nature parks have something to offer for everyone.