Having Fun in the Easter Lake Watershed

We’ve learned first hand one of the best ways to promote conservation is by getting people outside. In the Easter Lake Watershed there is always something to enjoy in the great outdoors and we want to make sure you aren’t missing out! Whether you’re looking for mountain biking trails, fishing, picnic locations, dog parks, playgrounds – you name it, parks throughout the Easter Lake Watershed have great resources to offer.  Read more below to learn about parks, resources, and events taking place in the Easter Lake Watershed.

Easter Lake Park

IMG_6200 editedSince its creation, Easter Lake Park has served as a great recreational resource for the City of the Des Moines and all visitors. With a 172-acre lake, the park offers fishing, boating, canoeing, and swimming. Within the park, visitors can use one of the many park shelters for events and picnics, or can enjoy a game of sand volleyball and some time on the swings at the playgrounds. The park even offers geocaching. Throughout the park, paved and non-paved trails offer a peaceful escape from the city. Take a walk around the lake and discover the historic covered bridge or adventure into the wooded areas of the park. Easter Lake Park is managed by Polk County Conservation.

Please visit Polk County Conservation’s website   or My County Parks website for more information. We have highlighted information from these sites below.

Easter Lake Boat Rental

Beginning summer 2019, Easter Lake Boat Rental got off the ground running. Located at the beach on the north side of the lake, multiple watercraft are available to rent. Listed prices reflect summer 2019 rates.

  • Stand up Paddle Board: $13/hour
  • Canoe/Kayak: $13/hour
  • Double Kayak: $18/hour
  • Fishing Boat: $25/hour or $79/day
  • Craig Cat: $25/hour or $79/day
  • Bike: $8/hour or $35/day
  • E-bike: $13/hour or $70/day

Contact the Easter Lake Boat Rental at (515) 418-0837 or visit them on Facebook “Easter Lake Boat Rental” for more information.

Easter Lake Park Trails

  • Wymore Trail:  1.4 miles  l  difficulty: moderate
  • Songbird Trail: 0.1 miles  l  difficulty: easy
  • Apple Orchard Trail: 0.2 miles  l  difficulty: easy
  • Mark C. Ackelson Trail: 4.2 miles  l  difficulty: moderate
  • Park Trail Map

Park Shelters

Please visit My County Parks for information on available park shelters, amenities, reservations, and for more information. Find more information here.

Ewing Park

Did you know that the City of Des Moines’ largest park is located in the Easter Lake Watershed? Ewing Park located off of Indianola Ave. and SE McKinley Ave. offers a wide variety of activities for all users. Looking for trails, mountain biking, disc golf, a dog park, BMX track, playgrounds, picnic areas and more – Check out Ewing Park!   Please visit the City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation website for more information.

Lilac Arboretum

Since 1947, the public has been able to enjoy the Lilac Arboretum. At its height, the arboretum had over 1500 shrubs of 500 varieties. Today you can still enjoy these lilacs in full bloom. Learn more about the history of the Lilac Arboretum  here.

Ewing Dog Park

At the Ewing Dog Park, your favorite furry friend can enjoy 8.5 acres of play space. Even the smallest dogs (under 20 1bs.) have been thought of here with a special fenced off 1 acre area just for them. Learn more about the dog park here.

Ewing Park Trails

  • Harry Piper Parkway Trail: paved and connects to Easter Lake Park
  • Soap Box Loop: 1.0 miles  l  includes advanced mountain biking features
  • Nature Trails: 4.0 miles  l  broken up into Trails A,B,C and Trails 1-4
  • Ewing Park Trail Map

Over 4 miles of nature trails located within Ewing Park are built and maintained by the Central Iowa Trail Association (CITA). These nature trails are great for walking, running, hiking, and biking. Check the CITA website for trail status updates and how to get involved in their work.  

Children’s Forest

At Ewing Park, take your kids and explore the Children’s Forest. Through the years, over 4,000 trees have been planted across this 33 acre forest.

Ashley Oakland Playground

Ashely Oakland Playground isn’t your everyday playground. This 9,335 square foot play space is the first all-inclusive playground in Des Moines. Offering over 50 different play elements for all ages and abilities it has been designed with everyone in mind. The playground was specifically built to address the development needs of children by providing opportunities for physical, cognitive, communicative, social and emotional, and sensory development. The playground caters to special needs while encouraging play for all abilities.