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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, ski boots and ski poles are also available to rent.

  • Cross-country skis are sized mainly for adults. Height, weight, and European shoe size required for each reservation.
  • 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. 



Trail conditions can be found on the Des Moines Nordic Club's Facebook page


View the Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center hours here. We are open on Sunday, January 21, 2024 from 10am-4pm.




Cross-Country Skis - Click here to reserve!

$15/half day (10am-12:30pm or 1-3:30pm)

Snowshoes - Click here to reserve!

$10/half day (10am-12:30pm or 1-3:30pm)

Where to Cross-Country Ski

Groomed cross-country ski trails can be found in Jester Park and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt. Trails will be groomed after a snowfall over six inches. A groomed trail is maintained with a groomer which packs the snow and tracksetter to lay classic tracks. **Walkers, runners, and cyclists are asked to stay off groomed trails.

At Jester Park (ski trail map) there are 6.1 miles of trails. The Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center and the campground registration area will serve as trailheads. 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) 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. 

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