Stephens State Forest Area Trails is a 3.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Woodburn, IA that features a river. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking and camping.
(We hiked the Woodburn side of the park) Good park. Lots to do. Trails were poorly marked...
A great, secluded backpacking spot. Rarely saw anyone else on the trail and there was always a camping spot open. My only complaint is that the trail is undergoing some kind of maintenance and there are quite a few muddy deep tire tracks that have just mangled the trail. At some times it's difficult to even tell whether you are on a hiking trail or a bulldozer path of destruction. If they could clean up all the mangled trail bits this would be one of my favorite Iowa hiking spots.
I am writing this after a visit in Dec., and I'm hoping to get back out a few times in the summer. Anyway, this is public hunting land and is packed during deer season. My brother and I hunted the weekend of first shotgun season last year, camping out at one of the pack in campsites on Sat. night. I suggest wearing orange if you must hike during deer or turkey seasons.
Also, I will add that I was quite annoyed at all the ATV's that other hunters were illegally driving through the forest.
5 remote campsites accessible only on foot. Buckstop Camp located on top of a ridge near a row of pines was my favorite. Didn't see another soul there during my 3 day trip.
Nice trail. Gentle hills. Forested. Isolated hike-in camp sites.
However, be very careful indeed on this trail through trapping season (11/03/2012 - 01/31/2013). Recommend avoiding if walking with animals or children. Leg hold traps are on the trail path and around camping areas. High amounts of leaf cover on the floor make these impossible to spot. Dog caught in one on the trail on 11/03/2012.