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Admission into Jester Park
& the Nature Center is FREE

Cross-Country Ski & Snowshoe Rentals

Cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals are available at the Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center, adjacent from the nature center. Snowshoes, cross-country skis, boots and poles are also available to rent. 

  • Cross-country skis are sized mainly for adults.
  • Snowshoes are sized for kids and adults, with a weight range of 40-250 pounds.  

Skis and snowshoes will only be rented if there is at least 6 inches of snow on the ground.

View the Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center hours here.

No ski rental Jan. 25, 2020 from 10am-12pm due to our Cross-Country Ski class. 




Cross-Country Skis




  For more information, call: (515)-323-5330

Where to Cross-Country Ski

Groomed cross-country ski trails can be found in Jester Park and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt as well as at Big Creek State Park. Trails will be groomed after a snowfall over six inches. A groomed trail is maintained with a groomer and tracksetter pulled by a snowmobile. **Walkers, runners, and bicyclists are asked not to recreate on groomed trails.

At Jester Park (ski trail map) there are almost five miles of trails. Shelter # 2 and the campground registration area will serve as trailheads. Due to drifting, the majority of trails on the golf course have been closed. Trails will lead skiers through the woods, near Saylorville Lake and along the edge of the golf course. Skiers may break their own trail in the park but must remain on the groomed portions if skiing the golf course. 

Flat trails can be found at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt (ski trail map - blue routes) in northeastern Polk County. Trails will wind through the woodlands, following the old Skunk River channel. Many different loops will be groomed, all beginning from the campground. You may see deer, fox, and otter tracks along the trail.

There are many other places to cross-country ski in Polk County parks that do not have groomed trails. Beginning skiers will enjoy skiing along the Chichaqua Valley Trail and Great Western Trail, two recreational trails through the countryside on abandoned railroad lines.

A scenic route beginning at the covered bridge at Easter Lake Park leads skiiers along the shoreline of this beautiful lake on the Southside of Des Moines. Brown's Woods and Thomas Mitchell Park also offer trails for more advanced skiers.

The Gay Lea Wilson Trail extends for approximately 35 miles throughout the eastern and northern parts of Polk County.


Where to Snowshoe

Snowshoeing can be enjoyed by anyone just about anywhere in Polk County. The only places to avoid snowshoeing are on groomed cross-country ski trails found at Jester Park, Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt and golf courses.

Recommended Trails

Brown’s WoodsFront and back loop
Yellow Banks ParkSavanna Trail 
Easter Lake Park: Wymore Trail
Fort Des Moines Park: Nature Trail (trail starts off the SW corner of the dam)
Jester Park: Hickory Ridge Trail