CITA Mixtape #1: Music to shred to!

We’re railing into summer, the dirt is rippin’, and it’s time to party!

Every party needs some tunes. Whether it’s during or after a ride, run, or walk outside music adds to the experience.

We asked local race team Phoenix Syndicate to put together a mixtape/playlist to give you some dirt worthy vibes to shred to.

Who's Phoenix Syndicate? New year, new team, new ideas, more disciplines! We are trying to support racing in central Iowa and bring bigger and more diverse crowds. Iowa’s got a great cycling/racing culture and we want to see it grow and get more people involved!

You can see what they’re up to on Instagram:

Get out and enjoy the trails!

Music to shred to playlist:

Changes are in the works at Denman’s Woods!

I wanted to update everyone with the latest information surrounding levee access to Water Works Park trails.

Summary: A single trailhead on the south end is under development to preserve and promote access; it’s a privately-funded project expected to be complete next spring.

Denmans Map.jpg

Over the past year and more CITA, Water Works Park (and Foundation) and the City of Des Moines have been discussing access to Denman’s Woods.  Concern arose from the US Army Corps of Engineers around trail access via the levee and the risk of compromising the flood control it provides. Thankfully, nothing has been compromised and no urgent action has been taken.

That said, discussion on access has been going on for years.

Earlier this year, the Foundation developed a technical design that would provide “legitimate” access to Denman’s Woods without continued damage to the levee.

CITA was awarded a grant from local engineering firm Terracon (geotechnical engineers, via our own Zach Bonzer), and the balance of the project budget comes from the Water Works Park Foundation.  Both groups, of course, wanting to encourage and support continued access to this fantastic trail system right in the heart of the metro.

Where we’re at:
We met Wednesday with the City engineers who will shortly be submitting the proposed design for approvals by the Iowa DNR and the Corps.  Work will begin upon approvals, which we expect yet this fall.

What does legitimate access look like? What is the plan?
The bottom line is we need to eliminate access to the trails via the levee itself without some type of reinforced protection.  The plan is to build a graded, reinforced entrance on the south end of Denman’s Woods.  This would flow naturally into the “lower levee” (connector trail) and enable access into the trail system.  

Three changes would incur as part of that work: 1) the exit swoop on the south end (that flows over the drainage culvert) would be removed.  2) A CITA built bridge would connect the “lower levee” (where you normally enter/exit on the south side) to the actual trail.  3) the north entrance would be closed. The trail would be re-routed to accommodate.  Because Denman’s is already two-way, no significant trail changes would need to be made.

This will eliminate the Corp of Engineer’s concerns about risking damage to the levee and improve access to one of Des Moines’ most popular trail systems.

Although I’m speaking on behalf of CITA, this certainly wouldn’t be possible without the support from Water Works Park (the land manager) and the Water Works Foundation Board.  They really believe in maximizing use of their lands, and we as a user group greatly appreciate all they do to enable such a great playground in the middle of Des Moines.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via all the typical means. Email:, fb: Central Iowa Trails Association, et. al.

Central Iowa Trail Association (CITA) announces the completion of Des Moines’ Ewing Park Flow Trail


Contact: Aaron Vance

Des Moines: June 13, 2017: The Central Iowa Trail Association (CITA), a local chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is pleased to announce the completion of the Ewing Park flow trails Wednesday, June 21st. The new trails, located west of the Ashley Okland Star Playground, is the culmination of seven years of fundraising and planning. Construction was done by Singletrack Trails, Inc. from Fraser, Colorado. CITA partnered with City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation to realize the vision of a new purpose-built trail for mountain bikers of all skill levels.

Brian Sheesley, long-time trail steward at Ewing Park, and a former CITA Board President has been an advocate of this project over the years. When asked what a flow trail adds to Des Moines he said, “this project brings a unique riding experience to the central Iowa area. The public/private partnership that created the trail will hopefully serve as a model for similar projects in the future.”

A flow trail takes a mountain biker on a gravity-fed, rollercoaster-like ride, with little pedaling and braking needed. These trails feature banked turns or berms, rolling terrain, and various jumps. As a rider descends and rolls up and down and side to side, they “flow” down the trail. 

In addition, the new flow trails connect to the almost 5 miles of existing natural surface singletrack trails at Ewing Park. The existing trails are already enjoyed by mountain bikers, hikers, walkers, and trail runners.

This project was funded by grants from REI, Scheels, and Prairie Meadows. Rasmussen Bike Shop, Vanderpool Construction and 60 other individuals and organizations also sponsored the project.  CITA is donating the flow trail to the City of Des Moines as part of its ongoing partnership with Des Moines City Parks.

Come and join us at Ewing Park, 1701 E McKinley Ave, Des Moines, IA 50320 for the trail’s opening night (weather permitting) on Wednesday, June 21, 6:30pm - 9pm. Join us for a ride, meet the builders, other riders, and help us celebrate the completion of Des Moines’ newest mountain biking-focused trail.

Central Iowa Trail Association (CITA) is a non-profit chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) whose mission is to build and maintain dirt trails in Central Iowa. Formed in 1996, CITA works with local land managers to represent the mountain biking community for land access and building and maintaining trails. CITA builds and maintains single track trails, hosts group rides, skills development clinics & programs, and more.

Press Release PDF

Ewing Flow Trail Breaks Ground!

We're very excited to announce that the Ewing Flow Trail project will be breaking ground Saturday, June 3rd!

The Singletrack Trails team will be working over the next two weeks on the Ewing Flow trail which will add an exciting new dimension to the existing cross country dirt trails at Ewing Park.

As many of you know this has been in the works for a while and we appreciate the cooperation of the City of Des Moines Parks along with all the financial contributors that helped make this possible.

A special thank you to REI, Prairie Meadows, Scheels, and Rasmussen Bike Shop.  In addition 60 other individuals and organizations donated to make this happen - thank you!

We'll be keeping posting regular updates on the Flow Trail progress on the Ewing Park Trails Facebook Group and our CITA Instagram.

We're also working on an "opening night" event for everyone to come down and ride it - we're tentatively planning for the night of Friday, June 16th - more details to come. (This will be dependent on weather and progress the builders are able to make.)

Ewing Park Flow Trail - Moving Forward!

At last night's Des Moines City Council meeting CITA was given approval for the Ewing Park Flow Trail project!

We're working on final details for STI (Singletrack Trails Inc) to be boots on the ground as early as next week.

We want to thank Des Moines Parks and Recreation, City of Des Moines, STI, Brian Sheesley, John Millanes, and countless others who helped to make this a reality.

We also want to thank REI and Prairie Meadows for their generous grants, donations from Scheels and Rasmussen's Bike Shop, and the many individual donors who believe in this project and contributed to help make it happen - THANK YOU!

We'll keep everyone updated as the project progresses!

Read more about it in today's Des Moines Register article.

Also, highlighted in KCCI's Tuesday evening news.

Take Your Kid Mountain Biking Day 2016

Bring your self, your kids, their friends and join us for a fun morning of riding local trails.

When: 9am, Saturday, October 1st, 2016
Location: Grandview Park, 2300 E 32nd St, Des Moines, IA

We welcome young riders of any experience - if you've been looking for an opportunity to introduce your kids to mountain biking and want to be with a group of other parents, friends, and kids this will be for you.

They'll have an opportunity to do some skills development, we'll talk trail riding etiquette, how we can all help maintain them, and of course go out for a ride!  Depending on how many we have and skill levels we may break up into groups, so we'll adapt to the experience of the group.

We'll have free snacks and drinks.

Bring a bike that can handle some dirt trails, a helmet, and a smile.

RSVP and see event details on Facebook.

Help us select photos for the CITA trailer

We've had a (smaller) trailer on the north side of Des Moines for a few months.  We want to get it wrapped with some photos.

Ken Sherman (K&K Photography) has taken some great photos and we'd welcome you to vote on your favorites.

Thank you Ken and our trail volunteers for helping showcase Sycamore Trails so nicely.

Your vote can be cast starting today (Sunday evening) and will close Wednesday night.