August 14, 2023

Summer’s swan song is approaching faster than any of us would like, but that doesn’t mean that we must close the books on outdoor adventures. In fact, the next month or two are some of our favorite times to get out on the water, when the weather is not too hot, not too cold, but just right. If your summer has been jam-packed with festivals, fairs, other summer revelry, now is the time to reset, decompress and make it out to the ICON water trails, where both adventure and peace of mind await.

Raccoon River Water Trail

Visit the Raccoon River with access points in Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines or Walnut Woods State Park. The Raccoon River Park access offers paddling access, as well as fishing and a swimming beach. Just 10 miles west of Des Moines you’ll be amid 31 acres of wildlife refuge where you’ll find the Puckerbrush Boat Ramp. This is a popular fishing are with an access point for scenic canoe and kayak floats along the North Raccoon River Water Trail. For a quick half-day adventure, drop your kayaks at Puckerbrush and enjoy a leisurely trip to Booneville, about 8 miles downstream. If you want to rent from the same area, try Raccoon River Rentals.

Stock up on all your boating needs and grab a bite to eat at any one of the many shops and restaurants just two miles away in West Des Moines.

South Skunk River Water Trail

Paddle down the South Skunk River from the access points at the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Trail. It’s also a great spot to cast a line and catch some fish. Located near Bondurant, this is a great location to grab a brew from Reclaimed Rails and one of the best tenderloins around from Brick Street Market.

Beaver Creek Water Trail

Located just north of Johnston, Beaver Creek is a great location for those that may be new to paddling or being out on the water trails. The access point located at 86th and 70th Streets is a prime spot to launch out for paddling and fishing. Chow down on some wings and tater tot nachos from Jethro’s BBQ n’ Pork Chop Grill after your day of paddling.

Just south of that is another access point at Lew Clarkson Park. This spot is ideal for families and those that want some peace and quiet. You can easily reach Beaver Creek and spend some time fishing and exploring nature. Stop by Backpocket Pin and Pixel and grab some to-go beer (and maybe a quick round of duck pin bowling) to keep you company while enjoying the outdoors.

Quarry Springs Outfitters
• Rent one- and two-person kayaks
• Perfect location to access the Des Moines River from access point site 51
• Fuel up at Captain Roy’s before or after your trip.

No matter what water trail you choose to explore, you are sure to make some memories before the summer comes to a close.

About the Author: Catch Des Moines is the go to spot for tourists and locals to keep up on events, new places to dine, and plan your mid-west travel itinerary. Check out their site to keep up on all things Des Moines.