Easter Lake Park

Park Sign
Park Sign
Easter Lake
Rain Garden

The centerpiece of this beautiful park on the southside of Des Moines is its 178-acre lake. Five picnic shelters and three children's playgrounds overlook the lake. A boat ramp provides access for anglers trying to catch the walleye, bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish stocked by the Conservation Board into the lake every year. During the summer, enjoy the swimming beach, paddle boat, canoe and kayak rentals which provide wonderful ways to enjoy the lake. 

The park opened in 1967 on the site of Polk County's last operating coal mine. After the strip mine shut down in 1959, the area was considered as a possible landfill site. However, neighborhood leaders joined together to form the South Town Lake and Development Society and promote the use of the site as a park.

The Owens Covered Bridge is the only covered bridge in Polk County. It was originally built in 1878 over the old North River channel on a road from Martin’s Ferry to Winterset. In 1939, the road and the North River channel were relocated north of the covered bridge site leaving the old bridge without a road and river. In 1968, Polk County Conservation Board promised to restore and move the bridge, board by board, nearly eight miles to Easter Lake Park. The bridge is located on the southern lake shore near Shelter #1. The Mark C. Ackelson Trail, which travels through this historic bridge and includes a loop around the lake, is approximately 6.2 miles of paved trail. The portion which encircles the lake is approximately 4 miles in length.


Southeast corner of Des Moines - east of SE 14th St. and north of Army Post Rd.

Easter Lake Park

2830 Easter Lake Drive
Des Moines, IA 50320 


  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Geocaching
  • Hiking
  • Historic bridge
  • Picnicking
  • Playgrounds
  • Shelters
  • Swimming
  • Volleyball courts
  • Multipurpose recreation trail
  • Soccer and ballfield

Operating Hours & Seasons

Summer Hours:  6:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.  (April 1 - October 31);Shelter #5, located on the south side of the lake and the beach entrance, located on the north side of the lake closes at sunset 

Winter Hours:  Sunrise to Sunset  (November 1 - March 31)


Polk County Land and Legacy Park Improvements 

Many exciting park and trail improvements are happening in Polk County thanks in part to the Polk County Water and Land Legacy bond referendum that was supported by voters in November of 2012. This may result in closed recreation areas due to construction. We encourage the public to stay involved and updated on these improvements by regularly visiting our website at the following link: Bond Project Updates or the project Facebook page: Easter-Lake-Watershed-Project