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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.

Upcoming Events

Kyle's Bikes Wednesday Night Ride

22 Wednesday May 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    62

Polk City's Annual Big Creek Bike Ride

22 Saturday Jun 2019
  • Polk City, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    1,231

Follow Your Folly - Cruiser 100

29 Saturday Jun 2019
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    1,465

 

Past Events

Firetrucker Urban Brewery Assault Ride (FUBAR)

18 Saturday May 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Party Ride
  •    1,158

Kyle's Bikes Ride to the Ride of Silence

15 Wednesday May 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    236

Kyle's Bikes Wednesday Night Ride

8 Wednesday May 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    172

MayDay All Bike Swap Meet

4 Saturday May 2019
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Expo/Sales/Swap
  •    1,163

Kyle's Bikes Wednesday Night Ride

1 Wednesday May 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    321

Kyle's Bikes Wednesday Night Ride

24 Wednesday Apr 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    330

Des Moines Mayor's Annual Ride and Run for Trails

20 Saturday Apr 2019
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    2,250

Kyle's Bikes Wednesday Night Ride

17 Wednesday Apr 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    338

Kyle's Bikes Wednesday Night Ride

10 Wednesday Apr 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    378

Kyle's Bikes Wednesday Night Ride

3 Wednesday Apr 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    445

Kyle's Bikes Wednesday Night Ride

27 Wednesday Mar 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    422

Kyle's Bikes Wednesday Night Ride

20 Wednesday Mar 2019
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Trail Ride
  •    338

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  • Wed July 18 2018
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Lake Country Cyclists join as BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Wed July 4 2018
  •   2,557
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Fenders Brewing joins as BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Mon March 5 2018
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Captain Roy's joins as a BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Tue April 11 2017
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The Iowa Taproom joins as a BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Wed June 29 2016
  •   7,090
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Ferinheit Wood Oven Pizza joins as a BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Fri April 8 2016
  •   9,589
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Des Moines' Bicycle Friendly Community Feedback Report

  • bikeiowa
  • Sun July 12 2015
  •   381,373
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Neal Smith Trail Planned Detour and Improvements

  • bikeiowa
  • Wed June 17 2015
  •   6,869
Blog Features Image

Is Des Moines ready for a Bicycle-Friendly designation upgrade?

  • bikeiowa
  • Tue March 31 2015
  •   7,385

Edit Trail

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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