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Type: Nature Trail

Length: 26 miles

Surface: Paved

Sycamore Access North has been re-paved in 2010 and is smooth although some linear cracks are starting to appear in the center of the trail. Des Moines to Sycamore Access is rough is certain areas and scheduled for a re-pave 2014/2015.


Condition

Above Average

Grade - Rolling Mild Hills


Amenities


Description

Enjoy the natural scenic beauty of this 26 mile multipurpose trail that extends from Des Moines through the Saylorville Lake area to Big Creek State Park. Names after former U.S. Congressman Neal Smith from Iowa, the Neal Smith Trail is a designated National Recreational Trail that allows for year round outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, running, roller blading, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing.

In addition to the recreational opportunities, the trail showcases mature forest, rolling prairie, oak savannas, and panoramic views of Saylorville Lake.

PDF Map of Trail by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Thirteen miles of this trail are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the remaining miles managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the City of Des Moines.

The trail that the City of Des Moines maintains is plowed when it snows. The rest of the trail is unplowed when there is snowfall.

This is one of BIKEIOWA's favorite trails to ride. We like the rolling hills, swoopy turns and great views.


 If the river is above 13 feet (flood stage) parts of the trail will be underwater. You can check the river height here: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?site_no=05481650


Location - Where is this Trail?

The trail starts in Des Moines, and goes on the East end of Sayloville Lake to Big Creek State Park Central Iowa.


Trailheads

There are at least 13 trail heads offer trail access and have room for parking.


Sites & Attractions

Mature forest, rolling prairie, oak savannas, and panoramic views of Saylorville Lake

The Saylorville Lake Marina is a great place to stop for food & drink, or stop at the Caseys in Polk City or venture into Polk City for more eating and drinking establishments

Big Creek State Park offers a beach, and food & drink (in season only)

Des Moines offers all sorts of amenities from lodging to food & drink and night-life activities.

You can venture on-road East from Big Creek State Park approx. 3 miles to connect with the High Trestle Trail

History of the Trail


Future Plans

Planned Mileage: 0 miles -


Contributors

The following members have contributed to the above Trail content.


This trail was last edited by thskadow on Apr 26, 2019.

Upcoming Events

RAGBRAI Roadshow - Neal Smith Trail

17 Saturday Oct 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Other
  •    193

 

Past Events

Friends of Des Moines Parks Bike Ride

18 Friday Sep 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    179

Tour de Recho - Virtual

30 Sunday Aug 2020
  • Polk City, IA
  • Other
  •    241

Bike Neal Smith Trail to new location of Des Moines Renaissance Faire

7 Friday Aug 2020 - 9 Sunday Aug 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    1,050

Bicycle Night - Pork Chop Dinner @ Triangle Tap

1 Wednesday Jul 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    410

Bicycle Night - Pork Chop Dinner @ Triangle Tap

24 Wednesday Jun 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    346

Bicycle Night - Pork Chop Dinner @ Triangle Tap

17 Wednesday Jun 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    349

Bicycle Night - Pork Chop Dinner @ Triangle Tap

10 Wednesday Jun 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    290

Bicycle Night - Pork Chop Dinner @ Triangle Tap

3 Wednesday Jun 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    443

Break The Stigma Ride

30 Saturday May 2020
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    918

Bicycle Night - Pork Chop Dinner @ Triangle Tap

27 Wednesday May 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    359

Bicycle Night - Pork Chop Dinner @ Triangle Tap

20 Wednesday May 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    372

Firetrucker Dan's Memorial Bridges Ride - Day 1 **POSTPONED **

16 Saturday May 2020
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    1,347

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Friday Fives Ep. 19 Sept 25th 2020

  • bikeiowa
  • Sun September 27 2020
  •   18
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RynoVelo joins as a new BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Mon August 31 2020
  •   217
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FRIDAY FIVES - EP.14 - August 21st 2020

  • bikeiowa
  • Fri August 28 2020
  •   253
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Tour de Recho - Disaster Relief and Virtual Ride

  • bikeiowa
  • Fri August 21 2020
  •   248
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FRIDAY FIVES - EP.1 - May 22 2020

  • bikeiowa
  • Sat May 30 2020
  •   312
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The Pig n Pedal joins as a Premier BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Mon February 24 2020
  •   935
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Sponsor Spotlight - Enjoy your Ride with Fenders Brewing

  • bikeiowa
  • Tue June 18 2019
  •   2,415
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12 Patios Worth the Pedaling

  • Jess Rundlett
  • Wed July 18 2018
  •   11,530
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Lake Country Cyclists join as BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Wed July 4 2018
  •   7,332
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Fenders Brewing joins as BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Mon March 5 2018
  •   9,630

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Members of the BIKEIOWA Community can update Trail information. We figure that YOU may know more about the Trail than WE do.

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Iowa By Trail

As of approximately 7:15am this morning there was a fallen tree blocking the path between the I-35 underpass and Morningstar Drive access. The tree isn't big enough to keep most from climbing over with their bike, but too big to move off the path alone.

#1 - twodog posted Jul 19, 2016


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