Five friends and I went on our first group trip to celebrate a bachelor party. We put in at the 14th street bridge in Des Moines and paddled for about 3 to 4 hours until we found a nice little shoulder beach to camp on.
We found plenty of firewood, and limbs with which to build make-shift sun blockers and help stop the sun from beating us to death. The beach was on the big sweeping 'S' curves before you get to Carlisle, IA. You can get out there or keep paddling hard and constant to Red Rock if you want -- I advise to pack light if you do.
There are plenty of forks to get lost on, and plenty of low spots (depending the time of year) to get your feet wet.
We saw at least 4 bald eagles, lots of deer and any other wild life Iowa has to offer. It's a fun paddle for anyone -- just keep an eye out for debris and fallen trees. We didn't run into any electric fences or troublesome obstacles.
It was fun for all who went. We have been back once, and plan on going to do the upper Iowa this summer. I think everyone should experience the Des Moines River at least once. It was a blast!
plenty of sandy beaches to camp on.
Bring plenty of liquids for the day, and food for the night, because there are no places around for miles.
S.E. 14th St. bridge was our drop, and red rock is the pull out point for the long haul, or get out at the Carlisle dock