Des Moines, IA Cross Country Skiing Trails and Maps

203 Reviews

Looking for the best Cross Country Skiing trails around Des Moines?

Find the top rated cross country skiing trails in Des Moines, whether you're looking for an easy short cross country skiing trail or a long cross country skiing trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a cross country skiing trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.

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Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type
13 Results
Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type

Chichaqua Valley Trail

27 mi
State: IA
Asphalt

Cinder Path

13.5 mi
State: IA
Cinder, Crushed Stone

Clive Greenbelt Trail

7.9 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Galloping Goose Trail (IA)

0.5 mi
State: IA
Ballast, Dirt, Grass

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

20.9 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Great Western Trail (IA)

16.5 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

25.8 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass

High Trestle Trail

27.1 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Praeri Rail Trail

10.5 mi
State: IA
Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass

Raccoon River Valley Trail

89 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail

5.8 mi
State: IA
Asphalt

Summerset Trail

12 mi
State: IA
Asphalt

Volksweg Trail

12.5 mi
State: IA
Asphalt
Trail Image Trail Name States Length Surface Rating
The paved Chichaqua Valley Trail crosses 27 miles of central Iowa farmland between the northeastern Des Moines suburbs and the rural community of Baxter. The trail’s name, pronounced chee-chak-wah, is...
IA 27 mi Asphalt
The Cinder Path in southern Iowa is notable as the state’s first rail-to-trail conversion. Following a shady route past farms and wetlands along the Chariton River between Chariton and Humeston for...
IA 13.5 mi Cinder, Crushed Stone
While Greater Des Moines is flush with multiuse trails, one of the paved pathways running through the suburb of Clive really stands out. Offering a string of trailside parks and fun twists and turns...
IA 7.9 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Galloping Goose Trail is so called for the nickname of the old railroad that once ran through the area and upon which the trail sits. As of 2012, about 0.5 mile of trail have been built northeast...
IA 0.5 mi Ballast, Dirt, Grass
Nestled in the suburbs of Des Moines and traveling through the towns of Ankeny, Berwick, Pleasant Hill, and Altoona, the Gay Lea Wilson Trail is named for a local advocate who first conceived of a...
IA 20.9 mi Asphalt, Concrete
Built on a former section of the Chicago Great Western Railroad (built in 1893), the Great Western Trail spans 16.5 miles from just outside of urban Des Moines southward to Martensdale. Begin your...
IA 16.5 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail traverses classic Iowa farmland along the former route of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, also known as the Milwaukee Road. The trail transitions...
IA 25.8 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass
The High Trestle Trail is one of the most pristine and highly trafficked trails in Iowa—even at night. The trail’s popularity is largely due to its famous 130-foot-tall High Trestle Bridge, which...
IA 27.1 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Praeri Rail Trail runs on an old section of railroad right-of-way between Zearing and Roland in central Iowa. Sections of the trail near Roland and McCallsburg have a crushed limestone surface,...
IA 10.5 mi Crushed Stone, Dirt, Grass
On the western outskirts of Des Moines, the Raccoon River Valley Trail offers a quintessential central Iowa experience. Over its 89-mile span, you’ll traverse woodlands, prairie and agricultural...
IA 89 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail is a paved multi-use trail that provides a connection between the small, charming college town of Grinnell and Rock Creek State Park, a popular destination for...
IA 5.8 mi Asphalt
The Summerset Trail links the two central Iowa communities of Indianola and Carlisle, both of which have embraced the trail, including providing helpful signs at each end with clear directions for...
IA 12 mi Asphalt
Who says Iowa doesn’t have hills?! The winding route of the Volksweg Trail sticks mainly to the rolling hills and scenic viewpoints from Lake Red Rock all the way to the town of Pella. Dutch...
IA 12.5 mi Asphalt

Now, More Than Ever, Trails Matter!

During COVID-19, trails are being counted on as places where people can find solace and respite and we need your support to keep trails open and provide these critical FREE resources! Please continue to practice physical distancing and check the status of your trail before heading out!

Trails by activity

Chichaqua Valley Trail

IA - 27 miles

The paved Chichaqua Valley Trail crosses 27 miles of central Iowa farmland between the northeastern Des Moines suburbs and the rural community of Baxter. The trail’s name, pronounced chee-chak-wah, is...

Great Western Trail (IA)

IA - 16.5 miles

Built on a former section of the Chicago Great Western Railroad (built in 1893), the Great Western Trail spans 16.5 miles from just outside of urban Des Moines southward to Martensdale. Begin your...

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

IA - 20.9 miles

Nestled in the suburbs of Des Moines and traveling through the towns of Ankeny, Berwick, Pleasant Hill, and Altoona, the Gay Lea Wilson Trail is named for a local advocate who first conceived of a...

Raccoon River Valley Trail

IA - 89 miles

On the western outskirts of Des Moines, the Raccoon River Valley Trail offers a quintessential central Iowa experience. Over its 89-mile span, you’ll traverse woodlands, prairie and agricultural...

Accordion

Cinder Path

IA - 13.5 miles

The Cinder Path in southern Iowa is notable as the state’s first rail-to-trail conversion. Following a shady route past farms and wetlands along the Chariton River between Chariton and Humeston for...

Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail

IA - 5.8 miles

The Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail is a paved multi-use trail that provides a connection between the small, charming college town of Grinnell and Rock Creek State Park, a popular destination for...

High Trestle Trail

IA - 27.1 miles

The High Trestle Trail is one of the most pristine and highly trafficked trails in Iowa—even at night. The trail’s popularity is largely due to its famous 130-foot-tall High Trestle Bridge, which...

Volksweg Trail

IA - 12.5 miles

Who says Iowa doesn’t have hills?! The winding route of the Volksweg Trail sticks mainly to the rolling hills and scenic viewpoints from Lake Red Rock all the way to the town of Pella. Dutch...

Summerset Trail

IA - 12 miles

The Summerset Trail links the two central Iowa communities of Indianola and Carlisle, both of which have embraced the trail, including providing helpful signs at each end with clear directions for...

Clive Greenbelt Trail

IA - 7.9 miles

While Greater Des Moines is flush with multiuse trails, one of the paved pathways running through the suburb of Clive really stands out. Offering a string of trailside parks and fun twists and turns...

Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail

IA - 5.8 miles

The Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail is a paved multi-use trail that provides a connection between the small, charming college town of Grinnell and Rock Creek State Park, a popular destination for...

Great Western Trail (IA)

IA - 16.5 miles

Built on a former section of the Chicago Great Western Railroad (built in 1893), the Great Western Trail spans 16.5 miles from just outside of urban Des Moines southward to Martensdale. Begin your...

Raccoon River Valley Trail

IA - 89 miles

On the western outskirts of Des Moines, the Raccoon River Valley Trail offers a quintessential central Iowa experience. Over its 89-mile span, you’ll traverse woodlands, prairie and agricultural...

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

IA - 25.8 miles

The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail traverses classic Iowa farmland along the former route of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, also known as the Milwaukee Road. The trail transitions...

Accordion

Chichaqua Valley Trail

IA - 27 miles

The paved Chichaqua Valley Trail crosses 27 miles of central Iowa farmland between the northeastern Des Moines suburbs and the rural community of Baxter. The trail’s name, pronounced chee-chak-wah, is...

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

IA - 20.9 miles

Nestled in the suburbs of Des Moines and traveling through the towns of Ankeny, Berwick, Pleasant Hill, and Altoona, the Gay Lea Wilson Trail is named for a local advocate who first conceived of a...

Clive Greenbelt Trail

IA - 7.9 miles

While Greater Des Moines is flush with multiuse trails, one of the paved pathways running through the suburb of Clive really stands out. Offering a string of trailside parks and fun twists and turns...

Praeri Rail Trail

IA - 10.5 miles

The Praeri Rail Trail runs on an old section of railroad right-of-way between Zearing and Roland in central Iowa. Sections of the trail near Roland and McCallsburg have a crushed limestone surface,...

Volksweg Trail

IA - 12.5 miles

Who says Iowa doesn’t have hills?! The winding route of the Volksweg Trail sticks mainly to the rolling hills and scenic viewpoints from Lake Red Rock all the way to the town of Pella. Dutch...

Cinder Path

IA - 13.5 miles

The Cinder Path in southern Iowa is notable as the state’s first rail-to-trail conversion. Following a shady route past farms and wetlands along the Chariton River between Chariton and Humeston for...

High Trestle Trail

IA - 27.1 miles

The High Trestle Trail is one of the most pristine and highly trafficked trails in Iowa—even at night. The trail’s popularity is largely due to its famous 130-foot-tall High Trestle Bridge, which...

Summerset Trail

IA - 12 miles

The Summerset Trail links the two central Iowa communities of Indianola and Carlisle, both of which have embraced the trail, including providing helpful signs at each end with clear directions for...

Galloping Goose Trail (IA)

IA - 0.5 miles

The Galloping Goose Trail is so called for the nickname of the old railroad that once ran through the area and upon which the trail sits. As of 2012, about 0.5 mile of trail have been built northeast...

Chichaqua Valley Trail

IA - 27 miles

The paved Chichaqua Valley Trail crosses 27 miles of central Iowa farmland between the northeastern Des Moines suburbs and the rural community of Baxter. The trail’s name, pronounced chee-chak-wah, is...

High Trestle Trail

IA - 27.1 miles

The High Trestle Trail is one of the most pristine and highly trafficked trails in Iowa—even at night. The trail’s popularity is largely due to its famous 130-foot-tall High Trestle Bridge, which...

Clive Greenbelt Trail

IA - 7.9 miles

While Greater Des Moines is flush with multiuse trails, one of the paved pathways running through the suburb of Clive really stands out. Offering a string of trailside parks and fun twists and turns...

Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail

IA - 5.8 miles

The Rock Creek Recreation Bike Trail is a paved multi-use trail that provides a connection between the small, charming college town of Grinnell and Rock Creek State Park, a popular destination for...

Accordion

Galloping Goose Trail (IA)

IA - 0.5 miles

The Galloping Goose Trail is so called for the nickname of the old railroad that once ran through the area and upon which the trail sits. As of 2012, about 0.5 mile of trail have been built northeast...

Praeri Rail Trail

IA - 10.5 miles

The Praeri Rail Trail runs on an old section of railroad right-of-way between Zearing and Roland in central Iowa. Sections of the trail near Roland and McCallsburg have a crushed limestone surface,...

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

IA - 20.9 miles

Nestled in the suburbs of Des Moines and traveling through the towns of Ankeny, Berwick, Pleasant Hill, and Altoona, the Gay Lea Wilson Trail is named for a local advocate who first conceived of a...

Summerset Trail

IA - 12 miles

The Summerset Trail links the two central Iowa communities of Indianola and Carlisle, both of which have embraced the trail, including providing helpful signs at each end with clear directions for...

Raccoon River Valley Trail

IA - 89 miles

On the western outskirts of Des Moines, the Raccoon River Valley Trail offers a quintessential central Iowa experience. Over its 89-mile span, you’ll traverse woodlands, prairie and agricultural...

Great Western Trail (IA)

IA - 16.5 miles

Built on a former section of the Chicago Great Western Railroad (built in 1893), the Great Western Trail spans 16.5 miles from just outside of urban Des Moines southward to Martensdale. Begin your...

Cinder Path

IA - 13.5 miles

The Cinder Path in southern Iowa is notable as the state’s first rail-to-trail conversion. Following a shady route past farms and wetlands along the Chariton River between Chariton and Humeston for...

Volksweg Trail

IA - 12.5 miles

Who says Iowa doesn’t have hills?! The winding route of the Volksweg Trail sticks mainly to the rolling hills and scenic viewpoints from Lake Red Rock all the way to the town of Pella. Dutch...

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail

IA - 25.8 miles

The Heart of Iowa Nature Trail traverses classic Iowa farmland along the former route of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, also known as the Milwaukee Road. The trail transitions...

Recent Trail Reviews

Carlisle Nature Trail

smooth but hilly

September, 2020 by vcu6chqk7n

We are beginning bikers and older. Loved the wide paved path. Put in north of Carlisle and ride was great as was the view. Then we hit the HILL. Oh my. Benches on the way up and I can see why. We could ride up and took all we had to walk up. We turned around and what a ride down. whheeeee’. Won’t be doing this one sgsin

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

Beautiful!

September, 2020 by obrien.alicia.13

Started at Copper Creek and followed the trail out about 2 miles. Quiet, nicely paved wide walkway- few bikers but once we got around the lake- we didn’t see anyone else. Crosses over the road twice on our route but clearly marked and easy to get back on the trail.

Cinder Path

Cinder Path At Its Best

September, 2020 by ddvanwoert

I rode the entire path from Chariton to Humeston on 9/5/2020. After reading the reviews and confirmation from a friend who rode it earlier in the summer I was expecting an adventure of wading through foot high grass from Derby to Humeston. To my surprise this section was mowed very short so I think I saw this trail at its best. The section from Chariton to Derby is well maintained and scenery that is more than just cornfields or a tunnel of trees. Very nice. The southern section from Derby to Humeston was bumpy like riding on a short grass lawn. Pretty but not as appealing as the northern section. The reward is finishing in Humeston which is a wonderful little town with a nice cafe and an interesting variety store.

Accordion

Chichaqua Valley Trail

Derecho Update (West Half)

September, 2020 by wjandersen

As of Sept 15 the trail is clear from the South Skunk River to the Trail Head on Broadway in Des Moines. That gives you about 15 miles of clear trail with Bondurant as the center point. Just to the east of the Skunk River there are trees down. Valeria still has trees down going both directions, so that is still a no go. Even though the trail is clear in places keep in mind there are still branch up high that are loose, so pay attention especially if there is any wind.

Chichaqua Valley Trail

We attempted to get on the trail in Valeria and found that the trail is still blocked by limbs and downed trees from the derecho.

September, 2020 by chadrfarner

We attempted to get on the trail in Valeria and found that the trail is still blocked by limbs and downed trees from the derecho.

Iowa 330/US 30 Trail

well-maintained

September, 2020 by dbahrenfuss

Nice trail!

Summerset Trail

Another Access

August, 2020 by kobylp65

This trail can also be accessed from Banner Lakes at Summerset State park about 4 ? miles south of Carlisle (whichresults in avoiding the hot sun on that open stretch from Carlisle in August). The Parks address is either 1306 Elkhorn St ., Carlisle 50047 or 13084 Elkhorn, Indiaola 50125. In any event you can see the state park marker about 50 feet from the Summerset trail at the intersection of the two trails. Near there is the Banner Shooting Range - another access point with parking.

Summerset Trail

My wife and I have ride this trail a few times. Very enjoyable. Slight incline from mid point to Indianola but not difficult. We like to start in Carlisle, grab ice cream at the Outside Scoop in Indianola and then cruise back.

August, 2020 by chadrfarner

My wife and I have ride this trail a few times. Very enjoyable. Slight incline from mid point to Indianola but not difficult. We like to start in Carlisle, grab ice cream at the Outside Scoop in Indianola and then cruise back.

McVay Trail

There a bridge behind high school that can't go over with a wheelchair

August, 2020 by wheelnon

There a bridge behind high school that can't go over with a wheelchair

Summerset Trail

flat route

August, 2020 by obrien.alicia.13

Walked from the trailhead in Carlisle- probably too hot a day for this trail, very little shade. Very flat, more bikers then walkers, but wide path and easy to walk. Overall a very good trail!

Volksweg Trail

New trail head open at Cordova Park. It is now a 10 mile ride one way to North Overlook campground (restrooms and water available).

August, 2020 by schuckj88

New trail head open at Cordova Park. It is now a 10 mile ride one way to North Overlook campground (restrooms and water available).

Carlisle Nature Trail

Great hilly trail. Connects to the Summerset Trail to add additional miles.

August, 2020 by schuckj88

Great hilly trail. Connects to the Summerset Trail to add additional miles.

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