If you’re looking for great nature trails in the heart of Des Moines, head to Center and Denman’s Woods Trails!
The trails are near Greenwood-Ashworth park, which has much to offer visitors. From the Art Center to the rose garden to the lagoon, there’s no shortage of enjoyable things to do. But many people don’t know it’s also home to miles of terrific wooded hiking and mountain bike trails!
And with over 10 miles of wooded trails to explore, it’s a place you can go back to again and again.
*These trails get maintained by the Central Iowa Trail Association. CITA is a volunteer organization dedicated to singletrack trails throughout the area.
Center Trails and Denman’s Woods Trails
Center Trails and Denman’s Woods are dirt trails designed for mountain biking. But they’re used by hikers and runners too. The trails run through woodlands full of mature hardwood trees. Best of all, you can find them in the heart of the city!
All sections of trails are singletrack and range from easy to moderate skill levels. The levels apply to mountain bikers, but hikers and trail runners should heed the levels too. The moderate trail sections are often hilly.
One crucial thing to note is that weather conditions impact the trails. When it rains, freezes, or thaws, the paths can be muddy and hazardous. Please check the CITA website for up-to-date information on trail conditions and closures.
Center Trails Trailheads
The maze of trails around Greenwood Park makes up Center Trails. In this area, you’ll find Hillside, Poolside, Center Trails Loop, and Rollercoaster trails. Refer to the map to see where each section of the trail leads.
To get to the trailheads, drive through Greenwood-Ashworth Park on 45th St. You can park in the lot at the end of the road, past the pool. There you’ll see the trailhead for the Bill Riley paved trail. Just off of Bill Riley, you can access trailheads for Center Trails.
For access to the Rollercoaster section, it’s easier to park at the Rose Garden parking lot, west of the Art Center. You can also access it on the southwest side of the pond along 45th St.
Denman’s Woods Trailheads
To get to the Denman’s Woods trailhead, you can park on North Valley Dr. by Beaver Creek and access the trails off Levee Trail. Or, you can park at Ashworth Park. From there, get on the Bill Riley Trail, take a right to get on the Walnut Creek Trail, and get on the Levee Trail from there. (You can access the shorter J11 trail just south of the Walnut Creek Trail.)
- Refer to this interactive map to see each section of trail.
- For trail updates and an interactive map, click over to the CITA site.
- Plan your route with the Central Iowa Trails Interactive Map from Des Moines Area Metro Planning.
Visit Center Trails
Center Trails won’t disappoint. Whether you’re mountain biking, hiking, or trail running, it’s a great place to escape to the outdoors. And the trails offer something for everyone, from beginners to those seeking a challenge.
The official location for Center Trails is 100 45th St, Des Moines, IA 50312. There are no fees to access the trails. Restroom facilities are not available.