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Hiking

The Polk County Conservation Board offers over 37 miles of trails for you to explore. Whether you're looking for a challenging, easy, or a family hike we've got a trail for you.

Some Good Ideas
  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan on returning.
  • Check the weather forecast for the day and dress appropriately.
  • Staying on designated trails is extremely important. Venturing off trails can cause serious ecological damage to an area.
  • Learn to identify poison ivy. Remember, leaves of three, let it be. If you're not sure, don't touch it.
  • Some trails have multiple uses. Be sure to respect other visitors and their use of the trail.
  • Although you may not see them, our parks are home to many species of wildlife. Remember you are visiting their home.

 

Take a Hike!

Brown's Woods: Located just west of 63rd Street in West Des Moines
Explore the upland oak hickory woodland or take a longer hike to view the Raccoon River and towering cottonwood trees.

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt: Located northeast of Des Moines, 5 miles east of Elkhart
Keep an eye out for great blue herons, wood ducks, and river otters while exploring the tranquil trails that wind along the old ox-bows of the Skunk River.

Easter Lake Park: Located east of SE 14th Street on Easter Lake Drive in Des Moines
Choose the 4-mile paged trail that winds around the lanke and through the Owen's Covered Bridge or one of the peaceful woodland hiking trails.

Fort Des Moines Park: Located on southeast 5th Street, south of Army Post Road in Des Moines 
This park offers trails that meaner through a mature woodland, tall-grass prairie, and around the scenic lake. Spend an hour or half the day exploring these diverse habitats. 

Jester Park: Located 15 miles northwest of Des Moines near Granger
These diverse trails provide spectacular views of Saylorville Lake, a peaceful hike along Paw Creek through beautiful oak and hickory woodlands, or a quick stroll through prairie near the Jester Park Nature Center.  

Strasser Woods: Located north of University Avenue on East 36th St. in Des Moines
Enjoy the one-half mile trail as it winds through the upland woodland and connects to the paved Gay Lea Wilson Trail.

Thomas Mitchell: Located on NE 46 St. east of Altoona 
This ridge top trail is part of the old stagecoach trail that once passed through the area. These ridges now offer some of the best woodland wildflower viewing in the area. 

Yellow Banks: Located 10 miles southeast of Des Moines, south of Hwy. 163
From a short walk or a long hike around the pond, you are bound to discover something new on one of these trails. Views of the Des Moines River Valley, ancient Native American burial mounds or 250 year old oak trees lure hikers to explore.