Brown's Woods

Brown’s Woods
465 SE Brown's Woods Drive
West Des Moines, Iowa

During development of the Brown’s Woods Land Management Plan, it was determined that Brown’s Woods Forest Preserve should not be identified as a Preserve. Preserves are not managed in the same way as Brown’s Woods will be managed. Therefore, going forward, we will drop the woods ‘Forest Preserve’ from its title and just say Brown’s Woods. Those this more specific questions can contact Doug Sheeley. Signage will not be changed until it is needing to be replaced in the future.

Brown’s Woods, Iowa’s largest urban forest, offers more than four miles of trails to explore. This 486-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.

  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Dogs must be kept on a six-foot leash; please remember to pick up after your pets.

The trails are sensitive to erosion and cannot withstand wear caused by: 

  • No Horses
  • No Bicycles
  • No motorized vehicles

Visitors may collect the following for non-commercial use if the plant is not harmed:

  • Nuts
  • Fruit
  • Edible mushrooms

Removing plants, hunting, trapping animals, and cutting wood is illegal here.


Summer |6:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. | April 1 - October 31

Winter | Sunrise - Sunset | November 1 - March 31 

Unless Otherwise Posted 



Total Mileage: 4.4 Miles | Difficulty: Moderate

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Spanish Translation:

Park Map