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.