Exploring Urbandale's Expanding Trail System

The Trail

This Des Moines suburb has been diligent in expanding it’s trail system providing residents with connections to the Raccoon River Valley Trail, Clive Greenbelt Trail, and Grimes city trails.

Located within two Urbandale neighborhoods, are the Bob Layton Trail and the Little Walnut Creek Trail.  These trails are short in length, but certainly don’t come up short in providing a fun bike ride opportunity.  Each trail travels through parks and provides some surprises along the way.  

Little Walnut Creek Trail begins off of Prairie Avenue and winds it’s way west following the creek it’s named after.  The trail comes to a halt at Alice’s Road.  The Bob Layton Trail, dedicated to a former Urbandale city manager, travels from Meredith to where it meets up with the Raccoon River Valley Trail south of Douglas.


The Ride

I took a lunch time break to explore these two trails and better understand how they connect to other major trails.  True, I could have checked out Google Maps, but it’s way more fun to do it in person.

Multiple short steep grades did a great job providing easy climbing intervals for a fun workout.  I kept my speed on the slower side (always an easy task for me) as several folks were out enjoying the afternoon with a walk.

I was surprised to come across a Little Free Library in the wooded area of trail south of Douglas.  It’s bright colors contrasted against the browns and greens of the trees. I was also impressed to find a work of art displayed in Walnut Creek Park.  Created by Sarah Deppe from Cedar Falls, it perfectly complemented the natural surroundings.

Newly built homes were backed up a comfortable distance from the Bob Layton Trail.  I bet the folks living here enjoy looking out their windows at the tree line, grasses, grazing deer, and residents using the trail.

With the weather getting cooler the mosquitoes must have known their days were numbered.  They were out with a vengeance!  Stops for pictures were kept short.

35 feet in the air the “spaceship” house can be seen just south of where the Bob Layton Trail meets the Raccoon River Valley Trail.  Owned by a real estate mogul, this house is rumored to have a private car wash, art gallery, and an elevator.  The views from this unique house have definitely changed with wooded areas and farmland evolving into neighborhoods and busy streets.

Did you know the worlds largest hummingbird spends it’s summertime days in a pretty backyard along the Little Walnut Creek Trail? Now you do!

This was a fun little adventure.  I was glad I took the time to ride these short, but impressive bike trails.  Over the years they will bound to extend their reach to keep up with the urban development in Urbandale.

Happy Riding!