Meredith Trail is in the heart of Des Moines, extending from Gray’s Lake to downtown. It’s the perfect trail to experience everything Des Moines has to offer!
About Meredith Trail
There are many great things to see and do along this trail—from Gray’s Lake to the heart of the Court Avenue District. The trail is named after Ted Meredith, a conservation advocate and Chairman of the Meredith Corporation.
From the south side of Gray’s Lake, the trail follows the Raccoon River to its confluence with the Des Moines River. From there, it turns north and meets up with the Principal Riverwalk at Court Avenue.
Another short trail segment runs from the northwest corner of Gray’s Lake north along Fleur Drive. At Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, the trail connects to MLK Jr. Trail and runs east along the road.
Meredith Trail and MLK Trail form a loop. You could park at Gray’s Lake and loop around for a distance of a little over 4 miles (depending on your exact route).
Know Before You Go!
- It’s a multi-use trail for walking, biking, and running and gets plowed in the winter.
- Bike rentals are available at the BCycle locations downtown!
- Meredith Trail connects to hundreds of miles of paved trails that will take you in any direction!
- From the trail, you can get on the iconic Kruideneir Trail that encircles Gray’s Lake. It’s lovely at night, with the multi-colored lights of the Kruideneir Bridge and the city skyline.
- Just off the trail, you can access restaurants and bars on Court Avenue. You can also get to the East Village via the Principal Riverwalk (Meredith Trail connects to the Principal Riverwalk at Court Avenue).
Gray’s Lake Park. You can park in any of the parking lots at the park. It’s at 2101 Fleur Dr, Des Moines, IA 50315.
There is also parking near Mullet’s Restaurant off of SE 1st Street on the south side of the Des Moines River. Or park at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Center—head south on the Principal Riverwalk to access the Meredith Trail.
The trail connects to Bill Riley Trail on the south side of Gray’s Lake. Bill Riley Trail extends west into Water Works Park and joins Walnut Creek Trail on the north.
The Kruideneir Trail surrounds Gray’s Lake. This trail connects to Meredith Trail on the southeast and northwest corners of the lake.
MLK Jr. Trail connects to Meredith Trail east of Fleur Drive at Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. MLK Jr. trail runs east-west along MLK Jr. Parkway (and links to Meredith Trail again at the river).
The Principal Riverwalk picks up where the trail ends at Court Avenue in downtown Des Moines. It’s a looped trail with two pedestrian bridges that connect the east and west sides of the city. From here, you can access the Court Avenue District, East Village, Iowa Events Center, Brenton Skating Plaza, and much more!
The trail connects to the Carl Voss Trail, where the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers join (right by Mullet’s). From this point, Carl Voss Trail heads southeast for almost 5 miles to Easter Lake. There you can connect to the Mark C. Ackelson trail, an excellent paved trail around Easter Lake.
The McRae Park Trail connects the trail to McRae Park’s north side. The park is one of the oldest in Des Moines, known for its incredible views of downtown! The address is 1021 Davis Ave, Des Moines, IA 50315.
Meredith Trail Facts
- Location: Gray’s Lake to downtown Des Moines
- Distance: ~3 miles
- Surface: Asphalt
- Difficulty: Easy
- Description: The trail runs from Gray’s Lake Park northeast to the Principal Riverwalk at Court Avenue in downtown Des Moines. And via the MLK Jr. Trail, it forms a loop.
- Trailheads: Gray’s Lake Park, Court Avenue at the Principal Riverwalk (metered parking), SE 1st Street (by Mullet’s Restaurant)
- Connectors: Bill Riley Trail, Principal Riverwalk, Kruideneir Trail, MLK Jr. Trail, Carl Voss Trail