Tag Archives: gray’s lake

Views from on high – at Des Moines’ MacRae Park

There’s a very cool new protruding ramp known as “the EMC overlook” at MacRae Park on Des Moines’s south side offering dazzling views of downtown. We also took in some new views from the new Chris Coleman bridge in Gray’s Lake Park. Looking good Des Moines.

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Filed under Des Moines, DESTINATIONS - Iowa

Ames/Wheatsfield Co-op and DSM/new Bill Riley bike trail leg and acrobatic yoga

Victoria campaigning!

We drove to Ames last Saturday to help our friend Victoria Szopinski launch her campaign for mayor (Run Victoria Run!) and ended up taking a drive around downtown and campus since I haven’t been there in years. So long in fact that I last visited the Wheatsfield Co-op when in a little downtown brick shopfront (as I recall). It’s now in a bigger freestanding building on west edge of downtown – nice place, although not quite as amazing as Iowa City’s Co-op.

One Sunday, it was suddenly spring again (the last we saw spring was, oddly, in February) so we rode bikes through Water Works Park  along the Bill Riley and Great Western Trails toward Cumming. On the return at Park Ave. near Orlondo’s, we took a new spur of the Bill Riley Trail paralleling George Flagg Parkway that was handy (given there was construction on the regular trail and Flagg Pkway) through the woods along packed dirt (at least it wasn’t gravel) to meet up with the paved stretch of the trail leading to Gray’s Lake Park, where we picnicked and watched a group of very limber and fearless young people doing what we learned is called Acrobatic Yoga. (Imagine the old airplane rides you give little kids, where their tummy rest on your extended legs – and then imagine the kids, actually in this case, limber and fearless young person starts doing all kinds of twists and turns and what appeared to be handstands while atop your extended legs. Crazy)


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Spring construction report from the bike trail in downtown Des Moines

Grays Lake

Gray’s Lake (above)….For fantastic “zoomable”  Des Moines area trail maps see: http://www.dsmbikecollective.org/mapcentral!

We really haven’t gotten that perfect spring weather for biking yet (except for last Monday, when temps rose to the 70s, but then plummeted a day later and it got rainy). But last Saturday under overcast skies and with a cold wind, we did our first ride of the spring on our favorite loop through Beaverdale/Drake neighborhood to South of Grand to downtown Des Moines and back to Beaverdale/Drake, which includes bits of several officially-named trails (Walnut Creek, Bill Riley, Meredith, John Pat Dorian and the Inter-urban).

Each spring, we’re braced for various construction projects that may hamper our journey but the three c0nstruction projects we came upon all had handy detours that takeyou around the bridge construction at 63rd and Grand);  past the closed footbridge west of I-Cubs Stadium; ); and around the construction at the Botanical Center.  It also was nice to see that last year’s construction on the west side of the Riverwalk by Court Avenue appears to be done (or at least done enough that you can now ride along this stretch of the trail by the river.)

A more detailed look at our favorite 18-mile loop: We ride from our Drake/Beaverdale neighborhood house south from the Franklin Library to 56th Street, then south through the woodsy trail around there to 63rd street and Grand; then east along another wooded trail  to Waterworks Park and Gray’s Lake, past I-Cubs stadium and the East Village downtown;, then back north along the river along the Dorrian trail (which I always confuse with the Neal Smith trail further north) to the trestle bridge that leads west to MLKing Blvd;and then uphill on the Urbandale trail and over to 38th Street (or so) and south to our house. Our ride was about 18 miles.


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Filed under bike trails, biking, Des Moines