Things to Do at Gray’s Lake Park in Des Moines
One of my family’s favorite places to spend the day is Gray’s Lake Park in the city of Des Moines. Gray’s Lake has a lot to offer. This urban park has plenty of room to play a game of catch with the kids or spread out a blanket for a picnic. And of course, your kids will also enjoy spending time climbing on the playground! With beautiful views of the city skyline, you can enjoy walking, a popular fishing spot, biking, boating, and much more at this local lake. Take a look at this breakdown of all the things to do at Gray’s Lake Park a beautiful park in the heart of Des Moines.
Gray’s Lake Park is located just a couple miles south of downtown Des Moines at 2101 Fleur Drive.
Basic Park Details
Type: Places to get wet, places to take a walk, places to play
Trails: Yes, paved
Water: Yes, lake/beach
Official Website: https://www.dsm.city/business_detail_T6_R58.php
- Accessible Playground
- Beach – on the north shore of the lake
- Boat Rental
- Boat Ramp
- Walking Path/Bike Trail
- Parking Lots
- Open Space
Biking and Walking
My personal favorite part of Grays Lake Park is the walking and biking trail. The 1.9-mile loop Kruidenier Trail circles the perimeter of the lake and includes a beautiful pedestrian bridge, called the Chris and Marcie Coleman Bridge. It’s also well-lit at night with multi-colored lights and glass panels for a beautiful, safe, evening experience. A common walking spot for the local community, walking the trail is known as “doing the loop” and is a fun date night idea! You can connect to several other trail systems at this park.
- The Great Western Trail ends at Water Works Park located right next door.
- The Meredith Trail connects from downtown Des Moines west to Gray’s Lake Park.
- The Bill Riley Trail connects Gray’s Lake Trails, the Great Western Trail, and Walnut Creek Trail.
Gray’s Lake Rentals
Starting in mid-April, bicycles are available to rent for both kids and adults if you don’t feel like hauling your own with you. It is a great place to try something new on the water. Gray’s Lake boat rentals are also an option on the south shore. They offer canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and pedal boats. Life jackets are required and available to rent. If you have your own canoe or kayak, there is a boat launch near the northwest parking lot.
Special Activities and Events
Gray’s Lake Des Moines also offers bird-watching classes, yoga in the park, and other special activities and events throughout the summer. There is no shortage of outdoor recreation fun. The Des Moines Parks and Recreation even offer some off-season events like the Jingle Bell Stroll, where families can visit with Santa, see live reindeer, listen to holiday music, and sip on hot chocolate as they wander around the loop.
Not Too Far From the Park
Gray’s Lake is so centrally located that there are a ton of things to see and do nearby and because of the easy access to all the trail systems it does not take long to get explore somewhere new.
- Raccoon River Park – hop on the trail and head west to this popular West Des Moines Park
- Rose Garden – Located at the Des Moines Art Center this is a beautiful place to walk through.
- Confluence Brewing Company – Support a local brewery!
- Water Works Park
- Reichardt Family Natural Play Area
- Jasper Winery – Summer Concert Series