Since 1983 the Head of the Des Moines has been an annual event on the banks of the Des Moines. Over the years, athletes have attended this event from all over the United States to row our delightful course from the Botanical Garden up to Prospect Park. Regardless if this is your first time spectating or the latest in a string of years, we hope that you will find entertainment and learn something new about the sport of rowing.

If this is your first regatta, or you’d like to brush up on the sport, check out our Viewer’s Guide to Rowing. There you’ll learn all about the sport of rowing and be able to understand someone if they say, “Two seat, port, caught a crab, and was nearly ejected.”

There are many spots to view the regatta. Most of the activity will be near the finish at Prospect Park, but there are spots along the river that are ideal for watching the regatta. Notable spots include along the western banks of the river, across from the Des Moines Botanical Garden; along the low-lying bike trail near Birdland Marina; at the official viewing area in the gut of the river; and at the finish in Prospect Park.

What to bring

Viewing the regatta from shore can be enhanced with the following:

  • Lawn chair or blanket
  • Binoculars
  • Water and snacks (food and beverages can be purchased at Prospect Park)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat or Visor (keeps it easier to see)
  • Camera