Brown's Woods

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

Brown’s Woods, Iowa’s largest urban forest preserve, 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.


6:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.



Total Mileage: 4.4 Miles | Difficulty: Moderate

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