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The Jordan Creek Trail is a pleasant suburban trail that connects neighborhoods with shopping and retail, schools, and recreational amenities. The trail gets its name from the Jordan Creek, which it follows—along with the EP True Parkway—for much of its route. There are many opportunities to hop on and off the trail to visit the Jordan Creek Town Center or enjoy dining in the many restaurants along the route. Way-finding signage makes it easy for users to know where they are headed, though the path isn’t always marked as the Jordan Creek Trail. If you’re unsure, simply follow signs for key landmarks, including Jordan Creek Park and Raccoon River Park.
Starting from the Valley View Aquatic Center parking lot, go to the intersection of 81st Street and Bridgewood Boulevard, and turn left onto 81st Street. Here, clear signage will direct you on how to stay on the trail.
For the next several miles, you’ll follow the trail through suburban neighborhoods of West Des Moines and intersect with several shopping plazas that are rife with retail opportunities. This section of trail overlaps with sidewalks in some places, so be sure to pay attention to trail markers and way-finding signage. Leaving the shopping area, you’ll quickly return to peaceful neighborhood settings.
Many sections of the trail are wooded, offering a serene atmosphere that runs through two of West Des Moines’ noteworthy parks—Jordan Creek Park and Raccoon River Park—the latter of which is considered the crown jewel of the West Des Moines park system. The sprawling 632-acre site is host to a variety of recreational amenities, including a large lake teeming with wildlife, a beach, a soccer complex, softball fields, a dog park, picnic shelters, and a trail around the lake.
At 39th Street, the trail passes the Des Moines Rugby Club, where parking and bike racks are available. The trail also passes historic Valley Junction (accessible by street; turn left onto State Route 28/Southeast First Street and then left onto Maple Street), where visitors can enjoy a farmers market, shopping, dining, and live events. Shortly after passing Valley Junction, the trail dead-ends at SR 28/Southeast First Street. Here, you can choose to make a left onto Southeast First Street (also Southwest 63rd Street) and then a quick right onto the Levee Trail, which is not well marked but which connects you to the Walnut Creek Trail, a 2.4-mile pathway that runs through beautiful wooded parks.
The trail is part of the Central Iowa Trail Network, and at many points, trail users can access large network maps to identify and locate points of interest. Underpasses and tunnels make it easy for trail users to experience the route with little interruption from street traffic. Note that there are few public water fountains or permanent restrooms, and trailheads are not well marked. Plan to park at one of the public facilities at either end of the trail for the best experience.
To reach the Valley View Aquatic Center from I-80, take Exit 121 for Jordan Creek Parkway toward W. Des Moines, and head south for 1.7 miles. Turn right onto Bridgewood Blvd., go 0.5 mile, and turn right into the aquatic center, which has ample parking. Access points to the trail are located on 81st St. and marked with signage near the intersection.
The best place to park at the eastern end of the trail is at the Raccoon River Park Softball Complex, about 1.5 miles west. To reach the park from I-235, take Exit 4 for SR 28/63rd St. toward Windsor Heights. Turn right onto SR 28 S, and travel 1.7 miles. Turn right onto Lincoln St., and follow it for 1.6 miles. Turn left into the complex parking lot. The endpoint is located about 1.5 miles northeast along the trail at SR 28 just south of Railroad Ave.
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