This is a network of trails that travels from West Des Moines to downtown Des Moines. The asphalt trail is smooth and runs flat other than a couple of spots just outside of Raccoon River Park.
The Walnut Creek and Bill Riley portions travel through wooded areas. The remaining segments are out in the open.
- The Quick Trip at the corner of 63rd and Railroad can serve as a location for restrooms and water during the off season for Raccoon River Park's facilities.
A portion of the route is closed just east of 63rd street. Be on the look out for traffic while riding through the marked detour.
Just southeast of North Valley drive the Walnut Creek trail is under construction. I got off my bike and walked it through the rough gravel and dirt. Thankfully it was a quiet construction area on the day of my ride.
When riding through Water Works keep a look out for cars. Most people drive slowly through the park since it’s a popular location for walkers and cyclists.
Meredith trail stops at MLK and SW 16th Street. The remainder of this route was on about 3-4 blocks worth of sidewalk.
Wool socks and my waterproof hiking boots did the trick on keeping my feet warm in the 30 degree temperatures. I packed some footwarmers in my bag just in case, but didn’t need them.
Western Gateway Park, located downton Des Moines, was the destination of my ride. Here I visited the Papajohn Sculpture Park. My favorite piece was the Three Dancing Figures. It was a cheerful pop of color on a cloudy day
Starting my ride next to the softball complex in Raccoon River Park I immediately noticed tons of geese on the fields. Not a single goose was outside the fields, just inside. Weird! Apparently Canadian Geese like to play softball?
With the leaves gone from the trees it was easy to spot birds. I saw Cardinals, Blue Jays, Juncos, and Nuthatches. This time of year Bald Eagles can also be spotted along the Raccoon River. It was my lucky day. I saw several sitting majestically at the tops of the trees keeping an eye out for a fish dinner.
This time of year Jolly Holiday Lights takes place in Water Works Park. It is Iowa’s largest light display and a fundraising event by the Make-A-Wish foundation. Lots of displays were set up waiting for visitors to enjoy during the nighttime hours.
The Temple of the Performing Arts building hosts a Starbucks where I warmed up while checking out their list of events.
Between the Temple for the Performing Arts and the Des Moines Public library is the the Temple Chess Garden. There are several chess tables and a small garden surrounded by fencing. Looking closely I noticed lines of poetry in the fence’s design.
- A warm soy latte was my treat of choice today. It was just what I needed to help me warm up before heading back to West Des Moines.