6 Winter Hikes around Des Moines


Going for a hike in the winter may not be your first thought, but why not? When it’s cold enough for snow, it can make for an extra serene hike. And no matter what, it’s always good to get some fresh air during the winter.

Hiking is a great day date or get-together with friends. Want to make it a family affair? Read our tips for Hiking with Kids!

6 Winter Hikes in Central Iowa

Jester Park, Granger
With abundant trails, including the five-mile Lakeshore Trail you can spend all day hiking Jester Park or take it to the next level and rent snowshoes or cross-country skis from the nature center.

Heart of Iowa Nature Trail, Story County
Running parallel to Highway 210 from Slater to Melbourne, this trail is a combo of developed surface, county roads, and city streets.

High Trestle Trail Bridge, Madrid
Take in the impressive vista from the High Trestle Bridge, which becomes even more magical with a blanket of snow. And don’t forget to grab a selfie amongst the architecturally significant bridge.

Gray’s Lake Park, Des Moines
Not only is Gray’s Lake a convenient option, but the lakeside trail is often more maintained than others, making it a good entry-level hike for kids.

Gay Lea Wilson Trail, Ankeny
This paved trail runs adjacent to the Carney Marsh, a native wetland prairie where you can view winter wildlife and icy waterways.

Ledges State Park, Madrid
This four-mile trail system leads to views of Pea’s Creek “canyon.” While most trails are steeper in nature, a fully accessible interpretive trail to Lost Lake is also available at the southern end of the park.

Have a central Iowa hike you love? Let us know below!


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