Places We Run

These are some locations around Altoona and the Des Moines area where we like to run. Hopefully this will be helpful to people looking for new locations to run. Let us know if you have any other favorite place to hit up and we’ll add them.

You can check out Central Iowa Trail Association website for more up to date information on specific trails or the individual Facebook pages for each trail.

Gay Lea Wilson Trail

Location Address: 851 17th Ave SW, Altoona, IA 50009

Link to Routes:

The Gay Lea Wilson Trail goes between Pleasant Hill and Altoona.  It is a paved bike path with both flat and rolling hill sections the closer you are to Pleasant Hill. It offers a decent place to get protection from the wind and sun.  ARC will typically meet at the dog park in Altoona and run to Pleasant Hill.

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

Location Address: 8700 NE 126 Ave. Maxwell, IA 50161

Link to Routes:

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt is a county park in central Iowa.  

Ewing Park

Location Address: 1651 E McKinley Ave, Des Moines, IA 50320

Link to Routes:

Ewing Park trails are a winding singletrack through the woods of Ewing Park.  There is a trail head near the playground at Ewing Park.

Sycamore Trails

Location Address: 4640 NW 66th Ave, Johnston, IA 50131

Link to Routes:

Sycamore Trails is a series of trails along the Des Moines River near Johnston and Des Moines Iowa.  It is a fast, fairly flat trail system that is maintained by the Central Iowa Trail Association.  There are both Sycamore North and Sycamore South trail sections.

Jester Park

Location Address: 11171 NW 103rd Ct, Granger, IA 50109

Link to Routes:

Jester Park trail system is on the west side of Saylorville Lake.  It is a combination of flat river bottoms and wide rolling hill wooded trails.  Most trails are covered with medium size rock or wood chips.  There are several routes out at jester including the main route for the Stuffed Turkey Endurance Races 10 mile loop.

Center Trails

Location Address: 100 45th St, Des Moines, Iowa 05312

Link to Routes:

Center Trails is a trail system maintained by the Central Iowa Trail Association in Des Moines.It is a hilly single track trail with a 3+ mile loop.

Brightside ARC group run 6 mile loop

Location Address: 480 Center Pl, Altoona, IA 50009

Link to Routes:

First 2 miles are the same as the 3 mile route, then we proceed east on bike path and then turn towards Sam Wise baseball fields.  Go accross 8th and slight left turn back to back path. Follow path for a block then left turn again to bike path.  Follow bike path all the way to Spring Creek Soccer fields.  Then through the south side on the bike path again across the street and follow sidewalk back to 1st.  Follow first down to Enabling Gardens and then around the south side of the pond.  Finish at Brightside.

Brightside ARC group run 3 mile loop

Location Address: 480 Center Pl, Altoona, IA 50009

Link to Routes:

Normal 3 mile loop.  Starts at Brightside and heads toward the Library, Campus, over the bridge, past Lions Park ball fields, through the tunnel, up the hill towards 1st.  Then right up 1st to the Enabling Garden, finally finish up by going around the south side of the pond back to Brightside.

Thomas Mitchell Park

Location Address: 4590 NE 108th St. Mitchellville, Iowa 50169

Link to Routes:

Local park with a nice trail system.  Easy to get 3 - 4 mile routes here.  One big hill on the back side otherwise fairly tame trails.

Southeast Polk High School Cross Country Course

Location Address: 7755 Meacham Dr, Pleasant Hill, IA 50327

Link to Routes:

The Southeast Polk High School Cross Country Course is on the south side of the high school property and is a 3.1 mile course.  It is a hilly, challenging course and ARC runs here quite often.  There are spots on the course that do stay wet most of the year so try and avoid those.

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