Go Snowshoeing or Cross-Country Skiing with Kids in Des Moines

Go Snowshoeing or Cross-Country Skiing with Kids in Des Moines

Find the 2020 winter sports guide here.

Fun, easy and inexpensive, snowshoeing and cross country skiing are great ways to slip some fitness into your winter days. And they’re both a great way to wear out the kids!  Here’s a few places where you can rent equipment and attend classes, so you can give snow shoeing or cross country skiing a try with your kids in Des Moines this winter. 

Active Endeavors

Active Endeavors is a local retail store that specializes in outdoor apparel and accessories.  They are located at 4520 University Avenue in West Des Moines near Barnes and Noble.  2016 pricing for snowshoe rental is $15 for one day and $25 for two days while cross country skis, boots, and poles are $17 for one day and $28 for two days.  Both require a $100 deposit. Call (515) 226-9345 for additional information.

Dallas County Conservation Board

On select weekends or holidays during the winter, if there is four or more inches of snow on the ground, a Dallas County Conservation naturalist will host a cross-country skiing program. Boots and skis are available for people with shoe sizes ranging from youth 12 – 1 on up to adult sizes 10.5. You can call (515) 465-3577 or email conservation@dallascountyiowa.gov to put your name on a contact list, look for updates on their website and Facebook page or contact them on a Friday before a weekend that looks promising to ski. Cost is $3.00 per person for those who need ski equipment.

Des Moines Parks & Recreation

Put on your cold weather gear and join the snowshoe fun in Des Moines this winter. Des Moines Parks and Recreation has several opportunities for you explore the outdoors. If there is no snow, the daytime events will be cancelled, but the full moon hike will be held as a walk. All require registration and most have a $5 fee that includes snowshoe rental, instructions and hot chocolate. To find out more details about these programs or to register, visit dmparks.org or contact Joel at 248-6369 or parksEE@dmgov.org.

  • Saturday, January 16, 2016, 10:00 am – 12:00 Noon, Greenwood Park (4500 Grand Avenue)
  • Tuesday, January 19,2016, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 pm, Lunchtime Stomp at John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park Part I (1416 Locust Street)
  • Sunday, January 24,2016, 6:00 pm -8:00 pm, Snow Moon Hike At Grandview Park (3230 Easton Boulevard)
  • Saturday, January 30, 2016, 10:00 am – 12:00 Noon, Full Tour of John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park (1418 Grand Avenue)
  • Monday, February 8, 2016, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 pm, Lunchtime Stomp at John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park Part II (1416 Locust Street)
  • Wednesday, February 10,2016, 3:00 – 4:30 pm, FREE Early Out Afterschool Stomp at Four Mile Community Center (3711 Easton Boulevard)

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge

The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge has many different things to see and do in any season, and winter is no exception! Bring your family and friends and do some snowshoe hiking. Snowshoes are available for visitors to use at no cost.  A Ranger also leads visitors of all ages on snowshoe hikes. When heavy snow falls, check their Facebook page or join their email list by contacting Brianna_Patrick@fws.gov to know if there is a hike.  Snowshoe rental is FREE and both child and adult sizes are available. Registration encouraged. Winter Visitor Center Hours, December 1 through February 28, 2016 are Monday to Saturday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm; CLOSED Sundays.

Polk County Conservation

If you’d like to try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing after a fresh snow, consider renting a pair from the Polk County Conservation Board.  They have 30 sets of snowshoes, cross-country skis, boots, and poles. The equipment is sized mainly for adults and can be reserved in advance by calling (515) 323-5339. Equipment must be picked up and dropped off at the Jester Park Administration Office during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Skis and snowshoes will only be rented if there is at least four inches of snow on the ground. Cross country skis, boots, poles rent for $10 a day and snowshoes cost $10 a day.


  • January 23, 2016 1:00 pm, Snowshoe Hike at Thomas Mitchell Park in Mitchelville, $5
  • Jan 30, 2016, 10:00 am, Cross-Country Ski Basics at Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge in West Des Moines, $12
  • February 13, 2016, 10:00 AM Snowshoe Hike Jester Park in Granger, $5
  • February 20, 2016, 10:00 AM Cross-Country Ski Basics at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Longhouse in Maxwell, $10

Rasmussen Bicycle Shop

Rasmussen Bicycle Shop rents out snowshoes and poles in men’s and women’s sizes during the winter months.  Snowshoe rental is $12 a day; pole rental is $8 a day or get a break by renting both for $18 a day.  They also offer a weekend Snowshoe/Pole Rental rate for $25.  Pick up your gear on Saturday and return it by close of business on Monday. The bike shop is located at 301 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines.  Check out their website or call (515) 277-2636 for details.

Warren County Conservation Board

Don’t let the winter weather keep you locked up indoors! Join Warren County Conservation to learn how easy and fun snowshoeing can be while experiencing the great outdoors. Snowshoes can be checked out for FREE at the Annett Nature Center in Indianola during business hours. They also have snowshoe hikes scheduled throughout the season in hopes of good snowshoeing weather. Classes will be cancelled if there’s not enough snow. Please register on their website or by calling (515) 961-6169.


    • January 16, 2016, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, Snowshoe Hike at Annett Nature Center in Indianola
    • January 24, 2016, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, Snowshoe Hike at Annett Nature Center in Indianola
    • February 7, 2016 1:00 – 2:30 pm, Snowshoe Hike at Pickard Park in Indianola
    • February 13, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 pm, Valentine’s Snowshoe Night Hike at Annett Nature Center in Indianola



Have you taken your kids snowshoeing or cross-country skiing? How’d it go?

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