Picnicking/Shelters/Lodge The park provides shaded picnic areas with fire grills and tables. Many are located close to the river for easy access to fishing. Lodge at Walnut Woods State Park The popular lodge is an outstanding feature of the park. It is a beautiful setting for weddings, family reunions, holiday parties and business meetings. The lodge was built in the 1930s of limestone brought in from an eastern Iowa quarry and rough-cut hand-filled lumber. The lodge is available for rental on a reservation basis. The lodge may reserved online through the park reservation system. Camping The shady campground is a popular place for a family "get-a-way." There are 22 campsites, including 8 with full hookups and 13 with electric hookup. The park has modern restrooms and an RV dump station. There are no shower facilities. The campsites are nestled among shade trees and have concrete pads, picnic tables and fireplaces. Advance campsite reservations can be booked through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Trails Walnut Woods is open year-round and is perfect for cross-country skiing. There are approximately two and one-half miles of trails. River Activities( boating, fishing) The park is located right along the Raccoon River which offers great fishing and canoeing opportunities. You can fish from the river bank or put your boat in the water at the boat ramp located on the west end of the park. Walnut Woods encompasses 260 acres of wooded bottomland along the Raccoon River. Within the park lies a large surviving natural stand of black walnut trees. More than 90 species of birds have been identified along the numerous foot and bridle trails throughout the park and along the river. The valley in which Walnut Woods is located was created by the meandering of the Raccoon River. Since the park elevation is not much higher than the normal river level, constant changes can be seen in its banks. The most dramatic is where the river channel runs against the western edge of the park. Constant churning and washing in the past removed tons of soil, sand and gravel. In the mid-1980s, the most vulnerable areas of the riverbank were protected by rock "riprap" and special jetties designed to minimize erosion. Located only minutes southwest of Des Moines, the park provides shaded picnic areas with fireplaces and tables and peaceful spots for river fishing. The park is open year-round and is perfect for cross-county skiing with 2 1/2 miles of ski trails. A pleasant equestrian trail is also located in the park. Nearby Towns Walnut Woods is located within the Des Moines metropolitan area at the southern edge of West Des Moines.
Easy trail along the river. Nice views of the river from multiple jetties and nice small sandy beach areas for kids to play in the sand. Trail is well maintained but can get muddy from rain. Horses are allowed on trail, so watch your step. Excellent easy 3 mile hike that feels in the woods with wonderful vistas of flowering Iowa native plants and old river trees towering above. Takes about 1-2 hours to hike the trail and circle back through the campground.