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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

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Past Events

Southern Tier Cross Country Tour Program & Social Hour

17 Tuesday Jan 2023
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Other
  •    336

23rd Annual Turkey Day Ride

24 Thursday Nov 2022
  • Polk City, IA
  • Fat Bike
  •    441

Vinyl Bingo Wednesday with BIKEIOWA at Captain Roy's

16 Wednesday Nov 2022
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    489

Pork Chop Night @ the Triangle Tap

26 Wednesday Oct 2022
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    809

FFFing Ride

23 Sunday Oct 2022
  • Polk City, IA
  • Party Ride
  •    1,638

Pork Chop Night @ the Triangle Tap

19 Wednesday Oct 2022
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    1,122

FFFing Ride

16 Sunday Oct 2022
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Party Ride
  •    897

Pork Chop Night @ the Triangle Tap

12 Wednesday Oct 2022
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    859

FFFing Ride

9 Sunday Oct 2022
  • Ankeny, IA
  • Party Ride
  •    888

FFFing Ride

9 Sunday Oct 2022
  • Polk City, IA
  • Party Ride
  •    1,750

Pork Chop Night @ the Triangle Tap

5 Wednesday Oct 2022
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Destination
  •    1,005

Biketober Fest

1 Saturday Oct 2022
  • Polk City, IA
  • Party Ride
  •    1,406

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The Pig n Pedal joins as a Premier BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Mon February 24 2020
  •   2,983
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Sponsor Spotlight - Enjoy your Ride with Fenders Brewing

  • bikeiowa
  • Tue June 18 2019
  •   5,500
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12 Patios Worth the Pedaling

  • Jess Rundlett
  • Wed July 18 2018
  •   18,328
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Lake Country Cyclists join as BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Wed July 4 2018
  •   12,548
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Fenders Brewing joins as BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Mon March 5 2018
  •   14,541
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Captain Roy's joins as a BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Tue April 11 2017
  •   14,088
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The Iowa Taproom joins as a BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Wed June 29 2016
  •   18,943
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Ferinheit Wood Oven Pizza joins as a BIKEIOWA Sponsor

  • bikeiowa
  • Fri April 8 2016
  •   22,522
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Des Moines' Bicycle Friendly Community Feedback Report

  • bikeiowa
  • Sun July 12 2015
  •   471,415

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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Latest Neal Smith Trail News

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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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