Spring – and Des Moines’ bike trails beckon! But this spring, like many others, is tricky for riders (and walkers), thanks to flooding and construction. On our first ride of the season, yesterday — a gorgeous spring Easter Sunday — D and I set out on the Inter-urban Trail north of our house in Beaverdale and rode east toward the Neal Smith/Dorrian trail along the Des Moines River. Within minutes, we encountered flooding and closures. Nevertheless, we persisted.
Crossing the trestle bridge over the river, we ended up going straight on a new dirt trail spur that led us toward McHenry Park (we think) and then back onto the Smith/Dorrian trail briefly. As we figured, the portion of the trail hugging the river north of Birdland Marina was flooded but we didn’t expect the road paralleling the trail to be torn up (apparently under construction). Instead of navigating dirt and gravel, we ended up walking our bikes up a grassy embankment and taking what turned out to be another detour, in an industrial area near North High. We ended up just south of Union Park and Birdland Marina, where we again encountered torn up trail so we walked our bikes up the hill past Captain Roy’s, a popular riverside bar and restaurant. (Braver souls rode on the street.) From there we had smooth sailing past the Botanical Center into the East Village, past Principal Park and west along the Raccoon River to Gray’s Lake where we encountered more construction but it was easily navigated, in part because the road around the lake is closed to cars so it’s wide open for bikers and walkers.
More smooth sailing in Waterworks Park, even along the river where there is often flooding. And no issues — except my out-of-shape body (this was my first ride in nine months, since breaking my arm in July 2018 in Norway) — as we chugged up the road past Ashworth Pool, Greenwood Park, The Des Moines Art Center and along Polk Boulevard and Roosevelt High school home to Forestdale. Oh happy day!