Connect with Nature, History, and Family at Yellow Banks

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Connect with Nature, History, and Family at Yellow Banks

Named from the yellow-colored bluff that borders this nearly 576-acre park, it is the perfect spot to spend a day in the beautiful outdoors. So slather on your sunscreen, pack some lunch, and buckle your kids in the car. It’s time to head to Yellow Banks Park.

 From baseball fields, fishing, and even a Native American burial mound, Yellow Banks provides plenty of outdoor recreation for the whole family. Take a look at how to spend a day here at this beautiful park!

Yellow Banks Park, Polk County Conservation, Des Moines, Iowa, parks, des moines outdoors

9 a.m. Fishing at the Pier

Grab your fishing poles and reel in some bluegill, crappie, bass, and channel fish. Yellow Banks Pond located at the southeast end of the park has two fishing docks, a shaded area for seating, and a few entries to some soft trails. Don’t forget your camera, this beautiful pond is perfect for that Instagram-able moment. Yellow Banks also features a ramp and sandbar to access Iowa’s largest interior river, the Des Moines River.

10 a.m. Play Catch at the Ballfield

After spending some time by the water, hop in the car with your little ones or take the half-mile trail north to the baseball fields. These fields are perfect for practicing your pitch or playing catch. The fields are available to rent on Facilities – or on a first-come, first-served basis. Don’t forget to reapply that sunscreen while out in the wide-open diamonds ranging from 200 feet deep to 315 feet deep. There is plenty of space to run around with the kids.

Noon Picnic and Playground

After working up an appetite at the ballfield, take a quick jaunt west over to the playground. Here you can enjoy lunch under the shade provided by the pine trees. When you are done, send your kids to enjoy swinging on the monkey bars or down the slides on the playground. You can also help them collect pine cones for a craft or see what bugs you can find hiding in the grass.

2 p.m. Native American Mound

Before leaving don’t forget to stop and visit the Native American Burial Mound discovered here at Yellow Banks. Polk County Conservation took over the park in 1980 and surveyed the area. Only one mound remains in the area as many were removed when the Red Rock Reservoir was formed. Ancestral Native American Indian mounds are protected by law and are not to be disturbed, because of this, more deliberate care has gone into managing this area when projects are planned out. This quick .1-mile trail to the mound is the perfect little walk.

Pro tip: Apply a little bug spray before hitting the wooded trail. The area has a thriving ecosystem of native plants, animals, and insects!

If you couldn’t get enough of Yellow Banks in one day, camping is also available here. For more information on how to reserve a spot go to Facilities – or learn about Yellow Banks at Yellow Banks Park – Polk County Iowa.


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