Sunday, August 17, 2014

Biking Des Moines' Gay Lea Wilson Trail

Gay Lea Wilson is a local trails advocate who spearheaded the planning and construction of local trails, and for whom this trail network was named.  For over two decades, her passions have been conservation, parks, and recreation - namely multi-use trails.  About 15 miles of a planned 35 mile long trail are completed, all concrete or asphalt, and eventual plans call for connections to the planned 110 mile bike loop through Iowa. (Central Iowa Trail Network.)  The trail now connects East Des Moines with Arkeny to the north and Pleasant Hill and Altoona to the northeast.

Pleasant Hill is the hub, and we began at Copper Creek Lake Park on University Avenue. This section, formerly the Four Mile Creek Greenway, took us to Altoona, and these photos are from that section.

For information on the entire trail, go to the excellent Rails-to-Trails website.

Trail parking:

In Pleasant Hill, parking can be found at the hub at Copper Creek Lake Park on E. University Avenue.

In Altoona, the main trailhead is located near the Greater Altoona Community Service Campus, with parking available at the dog park on 17th Avenue SW. Additional parking in Altoona can be found at Lions Park on 13th Avenue SW; at a large parking lot where the trail intersects 5th Avenue SW; and at Greenway Park off Adventureland Drive across from 9th Avenue NW.

In East Des Moines, park off E. Oakwood Drive just north of Scott Avenue or at the main Des Moines trailhead at the Robert L. Scott Four Mile Community Center on Easton Boulevard.

In Ankeny, parking is available for the Gay Lea Wilson Trail at the lot for Carney Marsh on SE 54th Street. Alternatively, consider parking in Glenbrooke Park at the southwestern corner of Ankeny. From there, take the Oralabor Gateway Trail east until it meets the Gay Lea Wilson Trail between Ankeny Boulevard/US 69 and Delaware Avenue.

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