This trail system is an urban gem — tight trails twisting through lush woodland in the heart of the city. This 10-plus-mile system of singletrack is named for its location in the center of the Des Moines metro and its proximity to the Des Moines Art Center and the former Science Center of Iowa.
Hillside is a web of climbs and descents, switchbacks, log-overs, and bridges. Roller coaster rides just like its namesake but with wooden bridges in the valleys to test your nerves as you try to carry speed for the next uphill. J-11 is a friendly little trail to enjoy when riding between the northern trails and the southern trails. Denmans Woods is has the features: log piles, ramps, roots, tight trees, roots and tight trees together, a 30 ft skinny 4 ft high above a ravine, and even an upended tractor tire. Though not designed for beginners, it is a favorite among beginners because of the b-lines around the major features and the relatively flat terrain. Squirrel’s Nest and Rhythm offer two more loops similar to Denmans south of the railroad track.
The entire area is small enough that you don’t have to worry about getting lost. Each trail eventually comes out to a paved trail which will lead you back to the main parking lot.