Ewing Park offers over 350-acres of unique and beautiful features. Trails, picnic areas, a lilac arboretum, Children’s Forest, and an inclusive playground are just a few things to do there. Everyone is sure to enjoy this fantastic Des Moines park!
A Brief History of Ewing Park
Donated to the City of Des Moines, Ewing Park’s land was once the 357-acre Ewing Family Farm. In 1937, Winnie Ewing Coffin donated the farmland to the city in honor of her parents, David Rittenhouse Ewing and Lucinda Ewing. The park became the largest city park in Des Moines. And, in 1947, a 35-acre Lilac Arboretum opened, becoming a favorite spring attraction.
Things To Do in Ewing Park
The Lilac Arboretum
For a few weeks each May, the Ewing Park Lilac Arboretum is brimming with the blooms of hundreds of lilac bushes. With over 1000 lilac bushes, it’s a treat for the eyes and the nose, as the lovely fragrance of the flowers fills the air.
With so many visitors each year, Harry Piper Parkway is open to one-way traffic for a few weeks each spring. If you’re visiting in the spring during the lilac blooming, enter the park from Indianola Avenue.
The Children’s Forest
With over 4000 trees and shrubs, the Children’s Forest has 33 acres for kids to explore! An easy nature trail and playground are nearby—the kids will find plenty of outdoor fun.
Disc Golf Course
This 18-hole disc golf course is a favorite among local and visiting disc golfers. Concrete tees, elevation changes, and a variety of holes offer something for everyone. The front nine is more technical, with the back nine being more wide open. And you can’t beat the beautiful surroundings. Golfers recommend using the UDisc app to navigate the course.
Ashley Okland Star Playground
Ashley Okland was the first inclusive playground in Des Moines. It has over 50 unique play structures suitable for kids of all abilities, including bridges, slides, and even puzzles. The playground equipment is adaptive, and ramps accommodate wheelchairs.
Don’t miss the nature trail nearby! You can find the dirt nature trail behind the playground. It crosses a couple of fun bridges, loops back around, and is excellent for kids. And a second playground is across the street, just north of McKinley Avenue.
Practice your off-road and stunt skills at the Ewing Park BMX track! It’s one of the only dedicated places in the area to do so, with berms for pumping and a beginner track for kids. Don’t forget your helmet and enjoy the ride!
The BMX track is south of McKinnley Avenue on the park’s western edge. A large parking lot is next to the track.
Soap Box Derby Track
If you’re building a soapbox car or want to race one, visit the Ewing Park Soap Box Derby Track. Find the track just past the BMX track, south of McKinnley Avenue. For more information on derbies, check out the Greater Des Moines Soap Box Derby Association.
The large 8.5-acre fenced dog park is the perfect place for your dog to run free. Seven acres are for dogs over 20 pounds, with one acre reserved for dogs under 20 pounds. The dog park has a dog waste station and is open year-round, from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. It’s on the park’s north end, at 4660 Indianola Avenue.
Ewing Park Trails
Ewing Park has a variety of paved and dirt trails. Experience mountain biking or hiking through the woods throughout the park!
Harry Piper Parkway Trail
The paved trail through the park is the Harry Piper Parkway Trail. It’s about a half-mile path and connects to the longer Mark C. Ackelson Trail that loops around Easter Lake. And if you’re looking for more routes, hop on the Carl Voss Trail on the north side of Easter Lake. It extends northwest to the hub of trails in downtown Des Moines.
Parking is available at the disc golf course off of Indianola Avenue. More parking is on the north side, near the playground. It’s important to note that when the lilacs are in bloom in May, the road is often open to one-way traffic.
Ewing Park Dirt Trails
The nature trails at Ewing Park are a series of looped dirt trails west of the Harry Piper Parkway Trail. Over 4 miles of dirt trails wind through the woodlands on the park’s west and south side.
Central Iowa Trails Association maintains these trails for bikers, hikers, and runners. For information, check their map and descriptions of each trail segment. Visitors can park at the playground for access to most trails.
The Flow Trail trailhead is at the BMX track, off McKinley Avenue. It’s one of the most popular among mountain bikers, with one jump line and two flow lines.
Things To Do Nearby
Easter Lake Park is just across the street, northeast of Indianola Avenue. The two parks connect by trail, and it’s super easy to explore both parks in one day. Easter Lake is a 178-acre lake surrounded by miles of beautiful trails, picnic areas, and even a covered bridge!
Fort Des Moines Park is 3 miles southwest and features excellent fishing, modern picnic shelters, and some great trails.
If you’re hungry after a day at the park, head west on McKinley to SE 14th Street to find several restaurant options. Applebee’s, Culver’s, IHOP, and Tasty Tacos are just a few blocks away!
Make a day of it stop at Blank Park Zoo for a few hours to get entertained by the variety of zoo animals! This 22-acre zoo is a popular Des Moines destination just four miles west of Ewing Park.
Visit Ewing Park today!
Ewing Park is at 5300 Indianola Ave, Des Moines, IA 50320.
From I-235, take Exit 9 and head south on E. 14th Street (Hwy 69). Turn left onto Indianola Avenue (just past Buffalo Wild Wings), and follow it southeast. Ewing Park is on the right (west) side of Indianola Avenue, at McKinley Ave. & Indianola.
From Highway 5/U.S. 65, take Exit 70B and head north on SE 14th Street (Hwy 69). Turn right (north) on Indianola Avenue. Ewing Park will be on the left (west) side of Indianola Avenue, past E. Army Post Road, near McKinley Ave. & Indianola Ave.
Park hours are 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, daily.
Free parking is available at the disc golf course, both playgrounds, the BMX Track, and the dog park. Restrooms are available at the playground and the disc golf course.