Smith's Island Recreation Area

EASY 12 reviews

Smith's Island Recreation Area is a 3.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pleasant Valley, Iowa that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.2 miles
59 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly




nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



old growth

This is a unique, easy trail that is perfect for families. The hike is flat, and well-maintained. The nature trail itself is just one mile long, but the walk to and from the trail adds an additional mile or more (along a paved path). You will park in a large gravel lot next to the Mississippi River. This is a popular spot for birdwatchers, photographers, and people fishing. In the winter you will see eagles and for parts of the year the pelicans are plentiful. In the morning and evening hours you may encounter a Great Blue Heron or a Belted Kingfisher. You will walk along the river and will cross a pedestrian pathway that is part of the minor lock system (this smaller lock is used for recreational boats). On the other side of the lock you will follow the paved road for about a quarter of a mile until you reach the narrow land bridge that takes you towards the island. After crossing a small footbridge you will continue a few yards until you see the sign for the nature trail (see photos). The nature trail is a loop of about a mile. On the southern half of the loop you will have views of the marsh and its wildlife. At the eastern end of the loop stands the remains of the old house. The northern side of the loop shows the healthy populations of oak, maple, and walnut trees. For more information on Smith's Island, visit the Army Corps of Engineers Website and search for Smith's Island.

27 days ago

This little Island is a real beauty for our area with different things to see and explore. Wonderful nature habitat but I doubt you would see any deer. It's great for all kinds of ages and you can't get lost. The history is interesting and with the boats and Lock and Dam, there's plenty to see. One of my favorite places to go for solitude and getting back to nature.

4 months ago

It was shorter than first listed. And only squirrels existed for animals to view.

4 months ago

Trail is closed until end of March. They’ve sprayed the trail and the sign at the little walking bridge says it’s closed till about April 1st.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

There was an insane amount of poison ivy!! Nice little trail, though. Kiddos had fun.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Easy level hike on a beautiful spring day.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

This is an easy but unique trail. Nestled among the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers work site sits this little gem of nature. We visit here often because it is near our home. The trail is perfect for a nice walk. It takes us less than an hour. We routinely see many types of birds, but rarely see any other wildlife. This is a fun trail for all seasons.

3 months ago

5 months ago

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Sunday, June 19, 2016