Past the Prairie and Through the Forest


  • For this ride I used the Clive Aquatic center as my trailhead.  There are no facilities here but the Clive Public Library is just across the street if restrooms or water is needed.

  • The Iron Giant was left at home.  I figured that even though it had warmed up there might be enough snow on the trail to warrant riding my husbands Trek.  Before heading out to the trial, I added a personal touch to it.  I never go on a bike ride without a crazy bandanna.

  • The Clive Greenbelt is an asphalt trail that travels through dense forest.  There was still snow in enough spots for me to be glad I was on a bike with bigger tires.  


  • This trail winds along the banks of Walnut Creek.  It is a popular spot for walkers, joggers and folks walking their dogs.  Just plan on riding slower and keep an eye out for pedestrians that might be around the twisty curves of the trail.  

  • Trees are growing very close to the side of the trail.  Another reason to stay alert since the trail does not have much of a shoulder.
  • This a perfect trail for getting in a bike ride on a windy day.  The trees, even without their leaves, did the job of buffering the wind.


  • Greenbelt Prairie - This is a restoration planting of native grasses and wildflowers that’s supported by the Izaak Walton League.  I’ll be coming back here in the spring to see what might be in bloom.  Iowa’s original prairie is definitely endangered with less than one tenth of it remaining.  It’s great to see organizations like the Izzak Walton League doing their part to help restore a bit of Iowa’s original habitat.
  • Greenbelt Park Forest and Woodlands - Riding through the timber I didn’t realize I was taking a trip through a protected Middle Aged forest. A Middle Aged forest is 15-50 years old and has a full canopy and growth of ground vegetation for animals to eat. This Clive forest is protected by the city with their intention to keep it in it’s natural state. 

  • Deer Management Zone - In efforts to protect overgrazing of the prairie and forest areas, the City of Clive has designated an area within city limits available to bow hunters during hunting season.  The deer I saw along the trail certainly looked like it was enjoying life in the forest.  It stared at me while I took it’s picture, then bounded away when the email notification on my phone chimed.  Darn phone!
  • 86th Street Bridge Makeover - The bridge crossing Walnut Creek at 86th street has recently been given a makeover.  I had heard the trail detoured in this area due to construction.  However, work had been completed and I was able to stay on the trail.


I was hungry by the time I wrapped up my lunchtime ride and decided to go over to Palmer's Deli on 50th street for some lunch.  After getting my order of Black Bean Soup and a spicy molasses cookie (I can’t NOT get one of these when I visit), I looked around for a place to sit.  It was packed!  I opted to take my food “to go” and enjoy it at home where it would be much more peaceful and relaxing.  The Palmer's West Des Moines location is ALWAYS super busy at lunch.  To be able to find a spot to enjoy your lunch it might be best to avoid the lunchtime rush.

Wrap Up

What a fantastic lunch hour!  I have ridden or jogged this stretch of trail before but this was the first time I really paid attention to my surroundings and took notice of the prairie and forest.  I was so glad I didn’t skip going for a bike ride because of the wind.

Happy Riding!