Park Visit: Grandview Park in Des Moines, Iowa

We’ve driven past Grandview Park a few times, usually on the way over to the Iowa State Fairgrounds and trying to avoid traffic, but never stopped in. We took advantage of my birthday and a warm snap to go explore the trails. I have to say, this park had an unprecedented amount of trash (I try to always pick up trash/recyclables when we hike, but usually don’t completely fill the bag!). On top of the normal garbage, there was a ton of broken glass along the trails in addition to a few seriously gag-worthy personal items covered in bodily fluids. Trash can happen anywhere – but based on this particular trip, I wouldn’t recommend bringing dogs, for fear of cut paws, or little kids who still put everything in their mouth unless they are up in a carrier.

You can see more specific details on the Grandview Park page below or check out its location on the interactive map.

Grandview Park and Sprayground – Des Moines, Iowa


The park pops up out of nowhere; there are two entrances and then the road loops around the park with a drive bisecting the circle.


There is a disc golf course in the park; we didn’t bump into any other hikers but we did see several disc golfers.


There is a large playground, with relatively tall structures and some big kid swings.


You can see the shelter in the background; there is also an enclosed bathroom about the same distance away, with a porta-potty right next to the playground.


The sprayground wasn’t running, obviously, but you can see the cute tree and honeypot!


It looks like the water runs off into a fun little waterfall, similar to McHenry’s run-off stream; we will have to come check this out when the weather is warmer.


Next up, we hit the trails. There are several clear trail maps along the road/by the parking, which was helpful. The trails were all dirt and wound through the trees- the section that we walked could still see a decent amount of traffic from the road. I’m not sure if it would feel more secluded during spring when all the leaves are on the trees, but we definitely didn’t feel like we were 100% in nature.


A few fun things we spotted and talked about; beautiful fungi along a branch, bright red berries, and a cool mushroom.grandview-park-des-moines-iowa-4

We spotted a TON of cool woodpecker holes, as well as a few of the woodpeckers themselves.


You can see how full my trash and recycling bags are! grandview-park-des-moines-iowa-6

Lots of hollowed out logs to explore, I was surprised there weren’t more geocaches in the area.grandview-park-des-moines-iowa-9

There were several bridges, which are always a hit to stomp over.grandview-park-des-moines-iowa-10

Last but not least, we found this fun little trove of logs. I’m assuming they cut up a tree and just stacked them to the side; after we had already let the kids merrily push the top row down the hell, it occurred to us that it might be there for a reason. Sorry, trail volunteers, if we dismantled a purposeful structure!

I know this park is popular with mountain bikers; I don’t anticipate visiting again any time soon. It would be a great spot for a group volunteering gig, pick up trash though!

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