The new-in-2020 Raccoon River Park Boathouse has all kinds of water equipment rentals available, including kayaks and paddleboards. Photo: City of West Des Moines
We’re excited for real summer weather (you know, without nonstop rain) and to celebrate Memorial Day this upcoming weekend. If you’re like us and itching to get outside, here are a few new-ish recreation areas to check out around Greater Des Moines.
Carl Voss bike trail extension: In 2020, a 2-mile extension of the newly renamed Carl Voss Trail (formerly the Des Moines River Trail) was completed, so you can now bicycle from downtown south and east to Easter Lake. The 4.7-mile trail winds along the Des Moines River and through woodlands; once you get to the lake, circle around it on the 6-mile Mark C. Ackelson Trail.
Raccoon River Park Boathouse: New last year, this spot in West Des Moines offers watercraft rentals to help you explore the 232-acre Blue Heron Lake. Hours are expanding to 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on May 29. Get there early, though, as rentals are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
Beaver Creek: Grab your kayak or canoe and head to this water trail in Johnston, which recently opened its second access point at Lew Clarkson Park (7489 Barnsley Drive). Enjoy the tree-lined excursion, which takes about a half-day.