The Carl Voss Trail is a 4.7-mile paved trail that extends southeast from downtown Des Moines all the way to Easter Lake! It has excellent views of the river and downtown. And it features one of the newest sections of the Central Iowa trails network!
The Carl Voss Trail
This trail was once the Des Moines River Trail. It was a 2.5-mile trail extending south of downtown, along the Des Moines River to the Cownie Baseball Complex.
In 2020, the trail expanded by another two miles, making it 4.7 miles long, stretching to Easter Lake! It now connects Des Moines’ southeast side to the central Iowa trail network.
The trail was renamed after local bicycling proponent Carl Voss when Des Moines added the trail’s new section.
Know Before You Go!
- At Easter Lake, you can hop on the 6-mile Mark C. Ackelson Trail around the beautiful lake.
- With the expansion of the trail, you can now use paved trails to go all the way from Easter Lake to Jefferson, Iowa (Raccoon River Valley Trail)!
- Mullet’s Restaurant is near the north trailhead at SE 1st St./Scott Avenue. They’re famous for their breakfasts and have a two-tiered patio with views of the river and downtown.
We recommend the Central Iowa Trails Interactive Map to help plan your route. Also, see the Greater Des Moines Regional Trails Map from the Des Moines Street Collective website.
The Carl Voss Trail starts at Meredith Trail near the SE 1st/Scott Avenue bridge in Des Moines. It’s adjacent to Mullet’s Restaurant on the bridge’s south side. Parking is available here.
You can also get on the trail at the James W. Cownie Baseball Complex, which is about a halfway point on the trail. From there you can head north to Des Moines or south to Easter Lake. The baseball complex is at 2050 SE 22nd St, Des Moines, Iowa 50320.
Easter Lake is the south endpoint of the trail. You can get on the trail from the Easter Lake Boat Rental parking area (2816 Shoreline Drive, Pleasant Hill, Iowa).
Though not right on the Carl Voss trail, you can park at Pete Crivaro Park in Des Moines. From there, get on the John Pat Dorrian Trail and take the SE 6th Street bridge across the river to get on the Carl Voss Trail.
The Carl Voss Trail connects to the Meredith Trail at SE 1st/Scott Avenue. The trails meet south of downtown Des Moines, where the Raccoon And Des Moines Rivers join. Meredith Trail runs north to downtown Des Moines and southwest to Gray’s Lake Park.
You can get to the John Pat Dorrian Trail via the bridges at SE 1st St/Scott Ave or SE 6th Street. This trail heads north to downtown and connects up the Neal Smith Trail north of the Botanical Center.
At Easter Lake Park, the trail connects to the Mark C. Ackelson Trail, a 4.1-mile paved trail surrounding Easter Lake. You can even rent a bike at Easter Lake Boat Rental.
Carl Voss Trail Facts
- Location: Downtown Des Moines to Easter Lake
- Distance: 4.7 miles
- Surface: Asphalt
- Difficulty: Easy
- Description: The trail starts at the SE 1st St./Scott Avenue bridge in Des Moines. It extends southeast to Easter Lake.
- Trailheads: Meredith Trail at SE 1st/Scott Ave, Cownie Baseball Complex, Easter Lake
- Connectors: Meredith Trail, John Pat Dorrian Trail, Mark C. Ackelson Trail