Mark C. Ackelson Trail

The Trail

Named after the former president of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation this new 3 mile out-n-back concrete trail winds around the south side of Easter Lake.  It’s a great spot to take the family as the trail provides a safe place for young cyclists to ride without worrying about traffic.  The smooth trail, playground equipment, spots for fishing, picnic areas, and the Owen’s Covered Bridge are a recipe for a fun outdoor outing.  Plans are underway to expand the trail system, looping it around the lake and connecting to mountain bike trails located at Ewing Park.

Trail Map

The Ride

After riding the Summerset Trail I decided to head over to the south side of Des Moines and check out the new trail.  I was only a few miles away, so why not?  My ride began at the parking area along Easter Lake Drive, just west of SE 34th street. 

The park was quiet during my visit except for a couple of fishermen and a large flock of Canada Geese.  I wound my way through the trail surprised at how pretty the park is.  A couple of short steep climbs got my heart pumping.  

I stopped to learn about the Owen’s Covered Bridge.  It’s the only covered bridge in Polk County and was originally location northeast of Carlisle.  Built in 1887 the bridge has been restored with a new roof, siding and floor.  It’s a popular spot for photographers.  Returning through the bridge a young couple and their photographer were setting up to take what I assumed to be engagement photos.

This was a short ride, but definitely worth the visit.  I’ll be keeping an ear open for the continued developments of this trail.  I’m sure local residents are just as excited as I am for the expansion of this trail system.

Happy Riding!