One of the biggest perks about living at Gray’s Station, outside of the connectivity to downtown Des Moines, is actually going the opposite direction – into nature.
The bike trails that intertwine Gray’s Lake, Water Works and Central Iowa all converge in downtown Des Moines. Like many established trails, most of these connectors started out as railroad ties and roads at the turn of the 1900’s.
Heading south on the Gray’s bike trail connects to a world of bikers, joggers, dog-walkers, and people who are looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city life. The Chris and Marcie Coleman Bridge, which connects Gray’s Station to Gray’s Lake Park and beyond, was installed in late 2019 and provides a crucial connection to one of the nation’s largest green spaces – Water Works Park. With more than 1,500 acres of open space, parks, amphitheaters, and soon-to-be access to the ICON Water Trails system, this park is larger than New York City’s Central Park and is outlined with trails.
Within a 13-mile southwestern bike ride or cross-country ski on the Great Western Trail, bikers enjoy can enjoy the town of Cumming, a small up-and-coming town best known for the Chicken restaurant and The Iowa Distilling Company.
Travel in the opposite direction to link up with the Clive Greenbelt Trail, Brown’s Woods in West Des Moines or the High Trestle Trail – all of which have their own unique viewpoints and perks – perfect for any daytrips from homes downtown.
- Brown’s Woods:
- This 486-acre forest in the heart of West Des Moines is just 7.4 miles from Gray’s Station and the Gray’s bike trail.
- High Trestle:
- Weave your way from Des Moines to Ankeny or pack up the bike for a short 10-minute drive to Ankeny’s Trailhead, to jump on the 25-mile loop to the High Trestle Trail for a helluva view! This trail connects five communities and four counties and ends on a bridge overlooking the Des Moines River.
One of the best trips, hands down, is biking around downtown Des Moines itself. Squeeze in an easy 8-10 miles while taking in sites like the Lauridsen Skatepark, newly renovated Birdland Marina, Western Gateway and the Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the many boutiques and breweries located along the way.
If you don’t own a bike, fear not! For as little as $1-$5, you can pay as you go or snag a Des Moines BCycle bike for a round trip at one of the 27 stations located throughout downtown and a few metro suburbs. Once your done, dock at any available station and the charge will go directly to your credit or debit card.