Explore the most popular horseback riding trails in Iowa with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great run off trails good views of DSM and West Des Moines from the Dam, just wish it was a loop. Highway miles at the end to complete.

hiking
20 days ago

Great set of trails off the beaten path. If you are looking for a longer trail away from most of the public... you will love this location. Several times I have hiked the 10+ mile trails and never passed a single person.

Awesome trails for everyone.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is a little hard to follow in a few locations. Just remember, the trail essentially goes around the lake, so if you don't know which way to go, it turns out that taking the option nearest the lake is usually (but not always) going to be the correct way. I got on the wrong trail 2 times during my hike, but within 10 minutes realized I wasn't on the correct trail so quickly backtracked and was okay. Its not that the trail is hard to follow, its that at some intersections there simply are no signs so you don't know which trail to take.

The trail itself is so-so. I liked it because it is hard to find a (hiking) trail longer than, say, 7 miles, in Iowa. The trail itself is just okay in my opinion. My dog got a bloody paw by the end of the hike. Nearly the entire trail is gravel, I think that was why it was tough on her paws. This trail is shared with equestrians, which seems to be very popular at this location judging by the many horses I saw at the part where you need to walk through the equestrian campground. On trail, however, I only saw 5 horses, 1 group of 3 and 1 couple. The vast majority of this hiking trail I was alone, except when I came across areas near parking lots, where many fisherman can be found.

Although this is a loop around the lake, you actually do not see the lake very often. That was okay by me, as it was jam packed with fishing boats anyhow. I did enjoy the hike, but nothing all that special really popped out. I will absolutely be going back to explore some of the other hiking trails at Brushy Creek, and maybe redo this hike as well.

Note: the maps from the Recreation Area itself refers to this trail as the Lake Trail. However, while on the trails, this name is only used in the southern portion south of the dam. For the rest of the trail, the labels/directionals on the trail refer to it as the "All Weather Trail"

Tick Count: 7 on the dog, 3 on me... that was found

Im recently looking for hiking trails in the area, and while this one is great, Ive found the mountain bike trails that are seemingly unmapped through the park to be much longer and better. They offer great views too, just dont get lost and keep an eye out for bikes coming through!

Relatively flat and wide so not very interesting for hiking, but it's quiet and the trail is long so there's plenty of time for reflection in nature.

Had a great time doing this with my teen daughter and her friend in early-early spring. We literally didn't see another person the entire time we were in the forest. The western part of this loop is fantastic - it feels wild, it's not super easy, the terrain is somewhat rugged. I think they could do a better job of keep the trail off roads on the eastern and northern parts though, as it ruins the ambience to walk along a road. Still, this was better than we expected, and it was fun to get in some good snow-free backpacking while Minnesota is still covered in snow and ice.

We stayed at the Brown's Hollow camp, which was quite a lot less primitive than I expected, given that it's a filter and cathole camp area - there are big, proper fire grates and benches in predefined camping areas. Given the iffy weather, that was an unexpected perk. I'd certainly do this again.

hiking
4 months ago

Short easy walking path. Peaceful prairie surround most of the well maintained cement path. Various signs with interesting facts about the area history and wildlife. I would like to see this path during the spring bloom season.

trail running
6 months ago

Love this spot. Loving running along the trail and watching the sunrise and coming back and see it set :)

mountain biking
8 months ago

There are new single track trails ranging from easy to more difficult
Lots of jumps, burms, stacked logs to ride over, Very scenic as well

hiking
8 months ago

Leaves are starting to turn - lots of yellows around the lake. Trails are VERY WELL maintained. Easy to get around. Trail is well marked but the distance on the signs is deceiving because I'm not sure exactly where it starts from. The whole loop is 6.2 miles. When you get to the campground on the south side of the lake you can use the paved road or there is grass/dirt trail along the lake.

hiking
10 months ago

Nice kept trail!

Nice wooded trail. Saw four deer and some people paddle boarding and canoeing on river. Lots of poison ivy on narrow trails. Trails were not labeled well at all. Very confusing to get around.

trail running
10 months ago

Enjoyed a great, short run down beautiful forested trails. Lots of options though minimal trail maintenance creates a few adventures in trail negotiation. Saw lots of deer.

Great trail for an easy walk. Travel the loop counter clockwise and camp at the last camp. It's an awesome little open grass field with great shade trees and a good creek for collecting water. I did this trail in a few hours with my 14 year old son...so needless to say it's a pretty easy walk. Very enjoyable and I would do it again.

on High Trestle Trail

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

great ride. great bars along trail. great food also. well maintained trail

on High Trestle Trail

Monday, June 19, 2017

nice Scenic well-maintained concrete trail with nice bars and places to eat along the way

hiking
Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hiked the accessible path on a sunny, hot morning. The trail is well maintained and clean. It is great for a wheelchair, if you are in good shape to push the chair up steep inclines. The elevation change here is more than we expected. The path is well maintained and was exceptionally free of litter.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

trail wasnt too difficult but I'd rate it a moderate over an easy. It was steeper and slicker in areas than I expected. the trail map is not accurate. it's possible the trail is overgrown in areas, so I would also rate it as lightly trafficked. Poison ivy was growing in the narrow footpath in multiple areas. it takes a minute to find the trail head, just hug the right side of the clearing with the shelter to find it.

had potential for some great views of the river but it's mostly hidden by trees. trail is difficult to do with toddlers but doable. wildlife spotted: snails, centipedes, deer, birds. we lost the trail and ended up walking back along the road. Overall nice park, fun trail, just not quite what we expected.

It was a moderate trail with logs that you have to walk over but pretty

Sunday, May 07, 2017

My usual trail, started riding last summer, always have a great ride on this trail

hiking
Sunday, May 07, 2017

A very fun and exhilarating hike. Many different types of surfaces from, dirt, grass, sand and short jaunt on a dead end road. Initial mile has a good size hill that is easy going down but at the end of the hike is a bear to go up. there are numerous creek's feeding into the river a few hundred feet away and cross the trail with no bridges. Most are step overs but one or two take some balance as you cross on the rocks...could be difficult after a heavy rain. some great views of the Des Moines River and the tree ridge on the other side. ...take a hammock and a light lunch and relax and enjoy the views.... a great moderate hike with a little something for everyone

walking
Sunday, April 30, 2017

easy trail with a cool bridge to see at night

hiking
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Multiple short out-and-back trails to different overlooks. Canyon is pretty, good views, partial timber partial prairie

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Amazing

hiking
Thursday, April 06, 2017

Love coming out here during the summer. This is probably one of my favorite places to camp close to Madison and I love the trails. When your up on the bluffs you have great views of the campsite and creek below. The "bluff trail" being my favorite as you can find delicious chanterelles up there (and angry wasps too haha) if you know what your looking for... They pop up all long the trail. Just save some for me please! Speaking of, this area is a hot bed for fungi hunters, found a nice chicken of the woods and a few other random edibles while out. Lots of good memories out here with my dog and my girlfriend hiking the bluffs.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

I have hiked this trail system many times. Lots of variations and usually encounter 1-2 others while hiking. Many deer sightings and other wildlife.
Used these trails to train for the Appalachian trail in 2016 and it served me well.

hiking
Saturday, March 04, 2017

The scenic overlook was so beautiful but it was confusing to find the trails. The sign looks like you should go right, but you need to go straight. The view is worth it. Could someone please tell me how to get to the caves? Also I see pictures of people kayaking here. Where do they get the boats into the creek?

hiking
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Had a great weekend at yellow river. We hiked about 15 mi Saturday and only saw one other person out trail running the whole time and the weather was fantastic. We did see a few horse riders. The trails are very easy most are set up for horses. The Bluff view trail had gret views of the river and big paint camp ground. There was alot of water in the streams we forded the river twice in almost knee deep fast moving water which was fun. Camp ground was nice and well kept. Primitive toilets and no running water, not a problem for us but thought other might want to know.

Load More