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A newly constructed six-lane highway built to accommodate the rapidly expanding suburb of Waukee, the Grand Prairie Parkway was designed to serve a variety of needs, and the accompanying Grand Prairie Parkway Trail helps to ensure that cyclists and pedestrians are included in the city's transportation network. Connecting to the city's other trails (including one of the crown jewels of the area's network, the Raccoon River Valley Trail) via additional multiuse sidepaths, the trail might not offer the most scenic experience, but it does serve an important role.
Heading south from University Avenue, where another wide sidepath can take you west into Waukee or east into West Des Moines, the trail follows the sides of the highway through land once reserved exclusively for farming - now rapidly being developed into subdivisions and businesses. A path down Westown Parkway offers access to the small Grant Park, a neighborhood recreation site with parking and restrooms and a variety of play and athletic equipment. Further south, the trail passes by the beginnings of the city's planned Kettlestone development site, which the city plans to develop as a major destination for shops, parks and residences. The trail heads over the interchange with the busy interstate highway - use caution, as the trail crosses the highway exit ramps - before coming to an end in a rural area along the path of the Sugar Creek.
No dedicated trail parking is available. Parking may be available near the northern end of the trail in the school parking lots on University Avenue; be sure to follow any posted parking signs. Additional public parking is available west of the trail route in Grant Park on Driftwood Lane just north of SE Westown Parkway. The trail is accessible from Interstate 80 by following the interchange with Grand Prairie Parkway north into Waukee.
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