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“Great picnic” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Gray's Lake Park

Gray's Lake Park
2100 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, IA
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Ranked #6 of 94 things to do in Des Moines
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Kansas City, Missouri
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Great picnic”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2014

This is a great park, however in terms of privacy it's not too special because it's well known! So get there early and sit in a shady spot first and it's magical. However show up after it's been open for a while on a nice day and your unlikely to find parking or a decent picnic spot!

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80 reviews from our community

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English first
Des Moines, Iowa
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Would be 5 star if not for the crowds”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2014

I love Gray's Lake Park near downtown Des Moines. The only reason I gave 4 stars instead of 5 is because it is so nice that it becomes extremely crowded in nice weather, and the crowds of families walking with kids and strollers and not paying attention to the fact that there are others around can be very frustrating. This crowding can also make it difficult to find parking.

Having introduced that caveat, I still love it. I believe the paved trail is just shy of 2 miles - 1.9 I believe, but it also has extensions that take you along the river to link up with the riverfront trails downtown, and also to Water Works park across Fleur Drive. The Gray's Lake trail is part of several running events, including the Leprechaun Chase and the Des Moines Marathon, and the lake itself has been used in the past for the swim portion of the Hy-Vee Triathlon.

The path is well done and beautiful, with a lovely walking bridge that has a nice colored light effect at night, and there is a point on the trail where you have a fantastic view of the downtown skyline across the water. There are plenty of spots to stop and sit on a park bench, and you can rent boats if you want to get on the water. There is also a beach if you want to swim. I've seen people paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, canoeing, biking, walking, blading, running…there is something for most everyone here. There are decent bathroom facilities positioned along the trail, so you aren't squatting in bushes or dealing with port-a-potties. There is a concession area open during the warmer months, and they occasionally have outdoor movie nights.

In recent years, they have also started hosting Yoga In The Park, which draws a good crowd and is a beautiful way to begin a Saturday morning.

I definitely recommend Gray's Lake Park for the person looking to enjoy the outdoors, especially if you are looking for a good running route that makes it easy to keep track of mileage, just be advised that on the nicest days, you will need to brace yourself for crowds of people who don't really pay attention to the people around them.

Visited October 2013
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West Des Moines, Iowa, United States
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Nice walking Trail”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2013

The paved walking trail is 2.2 miles, and is a manageable walk in 45 minutes. Always enjoy the scenic view and is a pleasant way to get some exercise.

Visited October 2013
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Boone, Iowa
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Fun for a Walk”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

Great path around the lake for a walk, good photo opportunities this time of year (spring/fall) as well. Many people take their dogs.

Visited May 2013
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Noida, India
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Nice Walk”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2013

What a beautiful lake! Clean & tranquil. It has a nice walking trail. The bridge is colorfully lit at night. Beach area is also there to swim. Boat/Bicycle rentals are also available.

Visited September 2013
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