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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 as it follows scenic Walnut Creek, the Clive Greenbelt Trail is a popular local amenity that’s worth a visit if you’re traveling in the area.
On the west end of the trail in Lions Park, you’ll have the opportunity to easily connect to two other trails: the Heart of the Warrior Trail, which heads 3 miles west, and the well-loved Raccoon River Valley Trail, which travels west and then north for more than 80 miles to Jefferson. From the park, you’ll travel east on the Greenbelt, winding through pleasant suburban neighborhoods.
A note of caution if you start on this end of the trail: Once you arrive at Northwest 142nd Street (after 1.6 miles of riding), things get a little confusing; you’ll be riding on what feels like a sidewalk along Lakeview Drive and then on an on-road stretch on Country Club Boulevard, all while following occasional bike route signs, but not much else in terms of way-finding. Locals may appreciate the trail’s presence here, but visitors may prefer to start farther east at the Campbell Recreation Area, where the trail immediately dives into woodlands, and you can easily see why it’s called the “Greenbelt.”
The lush border of trees gives you the feeling of being away from it all, while restaurants, stores, and other businesses are positioned within easy reach of the pathway. Numerous well-marked spurs spin off the trail to destinations such as parks, city hall, and the public library. The Greenbelt’s popularity in the community is easily felt here, as dog walkers, joggers, bikers, families, and outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts can be found on the trail.
If your excursion takes place between May and September, you’re in for another visual treat. The Art Along the Trail exhibit is held annually on the Greenbelt during this time frame with six sculptures made by Iowans showcased trailside. At the end of the event, one of the pieces is selected for a permanent place in the city’s public art collection.
On its east end, the trail enters Windsor Heights and seamlessly connects to the Walnut Creek Trail, which in turn ties into other trails in the expansive regional network.
The west end of the trail is located in Clive at Lions Park (15880 Wildwood Drive), though for a seamless trail experience a better place to begin a trip is at the Campbell Recreation Area (12385 Woodlands Pkwy.). To reach the recreation area from I-35 northbound, take Exit 125 for US 6/Hickman Road. Turn left (west) onto US 6/Hickman Road, and go 0.8 mile. Turn left at NW 128th St., and travel south for a half mile. Turn left onto Woodlands Parkway, and follow it for 0.3 mile until you see the entrance to the Campbell Recreation Area on your left. The endpoint at Lions Park is 3 miles west along the trail.
The closest parking for the eastern end of the trail is located at the trailhead in Clive. To reach the trailhead from I-235, take Exit 2 for 22nd St. toward W. Des Moines/Clive, and go 0.6 mile. Continue onto NW 86th St., and go 0.2 mile. Turn left into the trailhead; parking is available to your right at the end of the short access road. The endpoint is located 1.3 miles east along the trail at 73rd St. in Windsor Heights (also the northwestern endpoint for the Walnut Creek Trail).
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