Raccoon River Access Points

We all need a way to recharge and refocus. Access points along the Raccoon River will improve boating, paddling, hiking, birdwatching and more. Find your own way to unwind by learning more about these access points.


Site 88

On the Raccoon River

This site is within Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines. It offers:

• Paddling access to Blue Heron Lake

• An extensive trail network

• A fishing pier, swimming beach and nature lodge

• Soccer and softball complexes, an archery facility and an ice rink

• A dog park, picnic shelters and playground

• Improved fish habitats

• Restrooms

• Portage access from Raccoon River to Blue Heron Lake

Site 91

On the Raccoon River

This site is within Walnut Woods State Park, which offers:

  • Primitive and modern campsites
  • A motorized boat ramp
  • A bird observation and feeding station
  • A playground, picnic shelter and an indoor lodge that can be rented
  • Soft trails
  • Restrooms and parking lots


Improvements will benefit park visitors, birdwatchers and trail users by adding:

  • Soft trail spurs and seating at several locations overlooking the river
  • Soft trail loops and educational signs in various locations throughout the park

Future Sites

This project isn't quite done yet, but we're hard at work preparing this water trail for public use. These improvements will ensure a safe, enjoyable experience for all users while providing the necessary protection for this important environment. Be sure to check back periodically for updates on this water trail, and in the meantime, feel free to explore our other amazing amenities in and along our waterways.

Future Site

Site 73 Raccoon River

This access point is within the Raccoon River East Greenway. It includes:

  • Mature trees
  • Birdwatching
  • Soft trails

Improvements benefit paddlers, anglers, boaters, trail users and birdwatchers.


  • Paved boat ramp
  • Parking area with ADA access
  • Bik racks and repair station
  • Native plantings
  • Wayfinding signage
  • Respite and viewing benches
Future Site

Site 95 Raccoon River

This site is within the Purple Martin Lake Water Resource Area. It offers:

  • A purple martin viewing area
  • Soft trails
  • Parking area

Improvements benefit paddlers, anglers, picnickers, trail users and birdwatchers.


  • Carry-down access
  • Cast-in-place launch
  • Angler seating
  • Picnic shelter
  • Educational signs
  • Paved parking lot
  • Restrooms
  • Additional paved trails
Future Site

Site 79 Raccoon River

This site is within Brown’s Woods Forest Preserve. It has a soft trail network through the woods near the Raccoon River.

Improvements benefit paddlers, trail users, birdwatchers and anglers offer.


  • A trail spur to the river
  • Stone stair access at two locations along the trails

Find Your Activity with ICON

Whether you love to spend your weekend under the stars or paddling the Des Moines River, there’s something for everyone on ICON water trails. Learn more about the activities awaiting you.


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