A water trail is a route along a river, creek, lake or other body of water. Water trails can be used for travel or recreational purposes.

Boating, fishing and paddling are available along the water trails. You can also hike, view wildlife, camp, bike, wade and more. Eventually, ICON Water Trails will feature activities like downtown surfing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing and ziplining at the Center Street Dam.

Water trails are primarily accessed through launch ramps and stairs to the shoreline. Once fully complete, ICON Water Trails will feature improvements throughout the Greater Des Moines region.

You’ll find water trails across Central Iowa. Explore our water trails map and their improvements.

ICON Water Trails are open throughout the year; however, jurisdictional guidelines apply. For information regarding water levels or water quality that may impact your trip plans, visit the Iowa DNR for more details.

This will depend on what you plan to do! After all, preparing for a fishing trip is very different from birdwatching. Make sure you have appropriate clothing, a first aid kit and life jackets.

Outfitters can be found near many of the water trails. Please refer to specific locations for rental availability, hours of operation and other useful information

Camping is restricted to designated campsites. Please do not camp on nearby private property.

Pets are welcome at many of ICON’s parks and waterways, but in most cases should remain leashed. Refer to specific park rules and signage, and make sure pets have life jackets!

ICON Water Trails was formed by a diverse group of citizens, business leaders and public officials. The Greater Des Moines Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan will shape its development over the years. ICON is a major project that will be completed over time. Learn more about the project and its progress.

Its $125 million cost will be supported by public-private partnerships. More important, it will be funded by icons like you. Donate today and help secure a legacy for generations to come.

Support ICON Water Trails  

ICON is more than creating a water trails system. It’s also a lasting commitment to conservation, natural heritage and water safety. Make a difference today and for future generations by donating now. 


Rooted in the Past

Our rivers were the reason we settled here in the first place. This ambitious undertaking will be the reason we continue to thrive — as cities, communities and individuals.