You’ll soon forget you’re in the city on Sycamore Trails. They take you deep into the woods and over 6 miles of dirt trails along the Des Moines River!
Sycamore Trails are on the north side of Des Moines, on a floodplain filled with mature forest. Mountain bikers, hikers, and runners alike enjoy spotting wildlife and exploring a piece of Iowa wilderness!
*These trails get maintained by the Central Iowa Trail Association. CITA is a volunteer organization dedicated to singletrack trails throughout the area.
There are two sections of Sycamore Trails. The north and south segments get divided by Interstate 80.* Both segments wind through the woodlands and along the west side of the Des Moines River.
Sycamore Trails are singletrack dirt trails designed for mountain biking. But hikers, runners, and snowshoers enjoy the trail too! Most trail sections are mostly flat and are relatively easy.
For more information on each section of the trail and an interactive map, go to the CITA website.
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.
*The Trestle to Trestle Trail is a paved trail between the north and south sections—but the trail bridge is out right now. In 2019, the Johnston Trestle Bridge suffered damage from an ice jam. The trail is currently closed at the I-35/80 underpass. Work on the bridge is to begin in 2022.
Sycamore North Trailheads
Access Sycamore North via a paved trail that runs along NW 66th Avenue in Johnston. Paved parking is on the east side of the NW 66th Avenue bridge over the Des Moines River, on the south side of the road. For direct access to the trail, use a small gravel parking area west of the river off NW 66th Avenue. You’ll find it south of the road on the west side of the bridge.
Sycamore South Trailheads
Park at Polk County River Place at 2339 Euclid Ave, Des Moines, IA 50310. There is a parking lot along the paved Trestle to Trestle Trail. From the parking lot, head east toward the river, a (very) short distance to access Sycamore South Trail (you’ll see trail signs).
Also, check out CITA’s interactive map!
Other Things To Do Nearby
The Trestle to Trestle Trail is a paved trail joining Des Moines to Johnston. It extends between both trail segments (except now, while the Beaver Creek bridge is out). It’s a 3.75-mile paved trail connecting two trestle bridges. And it has a varied landscape, passing by the river, woodlands, and prairie.
The Neal Smith Trail is just across the Des Moines River from Sycamore Trails. It’s a 25-mile paved trail, extending south to Des Moines and north to beautiful Saylorville Lake! It’s one of the best-known trails in the area, offering hills and curves not found on many local trails.
Speaking of Saylorville Lake—make a day of it! Head north just a few miles to stroll the butterfly garden, hit the beach, or have a picnic! There’s no shortage of things to do at this 26,000-acre recreational area.
South of Sycamore Trails, you can spend the rest of the day at Gray’s Lake or Des Moines Water Works Park. Both parks are south of downtown Des Moines. Rent a kayak, go fishing, or have a picnic at one of these two terrific parks!
Visit Sycamore Trails Today!
You’ll love the escape to nature on the Sycamore Trails! Whether you’re hiking, biking, or trail running, it’s the perfect way to get away from it all.