Road Trippin' Boone County: float and ride the Des Moines River Valley

Floaters drift down the Des Moines River. (Photo: Courtesy 7 Oaks Recreation.)

the Des Moines River valley is a popular spot in the summer to get active or relax.

Arguably the best way to see a river is riding through it and the outfitters at Seven Oaks Recreation have made it their specialty.

“The bread and butter of our business is canoe, kayak and river tube during the summertime,” says Joel Bryan, General Manager at Seven Oaks.

Their buses boats and floats make riding the river a walk in the park, dropping you off and picking you up so all you need to worry about is having fun.

“Our most popular float is a 7 mile 2-4 hour float depending on how much you stop at sandbars and how much you paddle,” says Bryan.

Whether you paddle or play the valley’s beauty helps make your getaway complete.

“It's a lot of wooded bluffs, a lot of wildlife, some bald eagle nests along the way,” Bryan says.

Spending time on the water or the sand means fun that that fits with family friends or both.

“There's sandbars beautiful sandbars up and down the river which gave plenty of opportunities for people to stop throwing a football around, a frisbee around, have a picnic lunch and have a few drinks,” adds Bryan.

If you looking to make a weekend of it, they also offer paintball and primitive camping tent camping sites.

if you’re up for a ride after the river, break out your bike or put on those running shoes for a trip on top of the High Trestle Trail.

The 25 mile paved trail runs from Woodward to Ankeny and it brings in people from a wide area.

Mark Mack of Marshalltown says he comes to the trail to ride every summer, on this day he was joined by his wife and grandson.

They enjoy the trail because it’s easy for people of all abilities and there are plenty of stops to make the journey as long or short as you want.

“It's easy to get here and there's places to stop for a drink or food in each end so that's kind of nice,” says Mack.

While you’re busy getting your exercise you can’t help but break to take in the spectacular scenery from the High Trestle Trail Bridge.

“Oh that's it's just quite a sight you know? You're up so high and you can see forever it seems like and just a really pretty picture with the river and the valley,” says Mack.

The beautiful bridge just outside the town of Madrid stands 13 stories above the valley floor providing plenty of observations areas and information along the way.

Whether floating through or riding over there are plenty of ways to play in Boone County.

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