I thought I knew Raccoon River Park pretty well a few months ago. It has the beach, dog park, baseball diamonds, fishing, and the Nature Lodge that people will sometimes invite me to their weddings at. The new discovery this spring was the 3.2 mile circle that wraps around the lake, and has quickly become one of my favorites for fitting in a run.
Everytrail.com describes it pretty accurate: Nice, easy, gravel trail through the woods, and paved near the road. It has benches, emergency call boxes, garbage cans, picnic tables, port-a-potties, and bags to dispose of your dogs waste. It’s a very nice, clean, scenic trail.
The gravel provides a nice change for anyone used to the paved paths at Grey’s Lake or any of the other trails. Once you’re on the trail, it’s easy to forget you’re actually in West Des Moines. The scenery you’ll be running (or biking, walking) through is primarily woods and river banks. The look across the river is straight into Walnut Woods State Park.
Even on those days this summer when it was near 100+ degrees, it worked to have a path that’s primarily shaded. There’s some other awesome paths to check out around town that’ll make you forget you’re in city limits, such as Water Works’ trails and some other good ones that may work for a future post.
Related Blog: Water Works Trails, they keep going..