Parks & Park Land
All About Gray's Lake

About Gray's Lake

With its many opportunities for walking, biking and other activities, Gray’s Lake Park is the “Place to Meet” in the Des Moines Metro area. The centerpiece of the park’s renewal plan is the 1.9-mile trail encircling the lake. This trail is lit and provides a beautiful, clean and safe outdoor experience. 
The 167-acre Gray's Lake Park is located in the heart of the City of Des Moines, at the site of a former gravel and sand excavation operation.  The park is located on the southwestern edge of downtown Des Moines with entrances located on the east side of the major north/south arterial corridor of the City at 2101 Fleur Drive.  Water for the park's 100-acre namesake lake is supplied by the adjacent Raccoon River back-up waters and storm water runoff from the City's southwest side.


Park Hours
Fall and Winter   
November through March: 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Beach restroom closed

Spring and Summer  

April through October: 5:00 AM to 12:00 Midnight


Concession Stand Hours
May 1: 4 PM - 8 PM on weekdays; 10 AM - 8 PM on weekends through the Friday of Memorial Day


Beginning the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend: 10 AM - 8 PM daily through August 12th 
Starting August 13th through Labor Day: 4 PM - 8 PM on weekdays; 10 AM - 8 PM on weekends
Boat Rentals: 10 AM – 7 PM daily
Sailboat and Bike Rentals: 10 AM – 6:30 PM daily
For questions regarding watercraft rentals please call 515-242-2855


Do More than the Loop at Gray's Lake

Venture off of the Kruidenier Trail at Gray’s Lake Park and try out some of the wonderful activities and lessons that the Parks and Recreation staff plans throughout the year.  

Gray's Lake hosts an unusual combination of fish - those typically found in rivers as well as those found in lakes.  According to the Iowa DNR, Gray's Lake is one of the best cat fishing spots in central Iowa. The lake offers many good fishing access points from shore for the fishing enthusiast who does not have a boat. Fishing is permitted in all areas except on the pedestrian bridge and boat rental dock when it is open for rentals. The major species of fish include channel catfish, crapies and largemouth bass.

Sailing and Canoeing
Bring your sail boat or canoe to beautiful Gray's Lake for a day-long or early evening outing. Visit Gray's Lake concessions for boat rentals from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM and bike and sailboat rentals from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM. 

Swimming is allowed in the designated beach area only. No lifeguard is on duty, but a limited number of life jackets are provided free of charge at the swimming beach. Glass containers, dogs and smoking are not allowed at the beach. Consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages is not allowed.

items of interest

Gray's Lake Links

Gray's Lake Park Rules

Map of Gray's Lake

Gray's Lake Trail Distance Map

History of Gray's Lake

Watercraft Rental Information

Bicycle Rental Program

EZ Launch


Gray's Lake Park Bridge Plaque Program Suspended

Due to tremendous support from the community, we have run out of room for plaques on the pedestrian bridge railing. We are no longer accepting donations for plaques at the bridge location. You are nevertheless encouraged to consider a contribution to the Gray's Lake Park and Meredith Trail Fund, C/O Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, 1915 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309. Plans are underway to provide similar appropriate Gray's Lake Park recognition plaques.