2. Brown’s Woods
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Brown’s Woods Drive (West of SW 63rd St.),
West Des Moines, Iowa
Brown’s Woods, Iowa’s largest urban forest preserve, offers more than two miles of trails to explore. This 484-acre forest in West Des Moines features a canopy of oak and hickory trees stretching from Brown's Woods Drive to the Raccoon River. The rolling hills and small streams of Brown's Woods are a joy to explore at any season. This wildlife area is named after Tallmadge E. Brown, a successful Des Moines lawyer who acquired large tracts of land around Des Moines in the late 1800s. One of them was this beautiful forest acquired by the Conservation Board in 1972.
Visitors may collect nuts, fruit or edible mushrooms for non-commercial use if the plant is not harmed; however, removing plants, hunting, or trapping animals and cutting wood is illegal here.
Brown’s Woods can only be explored on foot or cross-country skis. The trails are sensitive to erosion and cannot withstand wear caused by horses, bicycles, or motorized vehicles.