Gay Lea Wilson Trail

Length 12 miles
Surface asphalt
Hours year-round, dawn to dusk; all hours in Des Moines and Altoona
Fees none
Counties Polk
Cities Des Moines, Altoona, Pleasant Hill
About this trail

The Gay Lea Wilson Trail brings nature to an urban setting. The trail has two completed sections. One follows Four-Mile Creek through parts of Des Moines. The second section links Pleasant Hill with Altoona along a former railroad corridor.

The trail has a variety of urban and natural features, including scenic views of Four Mile Creek, Copper Creek Lake, Strasser Woods (a 40-acre State Preserve and former INHF project) and Sargent Park.  The Altoona trailhead is near the Greater Altoona Community Service Campus, the Pleasant Hill trailhead is at Copper Creek Lake Park, while the Des Moines trailhead is near Four-Mile Community Center, each of which supports several public facilities.

When finished, this trail will stretch 35 miles from Ankeny to Yellow Banks County Park and east to the Chichaqua Valley Trail. It is part of the proposed 110-mile trail loop in central Iowa.


Gay Lea Wilson Trail
Trail Managers
City of Altoona - 515-967-5136 - e-mail
Local Tourism Info
Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau - 515-286-4960 or 800-451-2625 - e-mail
Resources From Other Sites
Polk County Conservation Board
Gives a description and map of the trail. However, the link to enlarge the trail map is not working and consequently very hard to see.
Trail Resources
Gives a brief description and some details about trail. Trail setting, length, surface, most popular use, services and amenities are listed. Also offers trail books and maps to purchase, but the site itself provides no map.