Explore the most popular snowshoeing 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.

trail running
1 day ago

Hard to find trails like this in Iowa. Beautifully maintained, low traffic, and decent elevation.

I went last weekend. the pond is drained and there is a significant amount of work being done around the trail. the paths are mostly closed as of 9/2018. I'm sure they will be open and great in the future but it was a disappointment for now.

Crushed gravel trails. Have your map on you. Trail splits at cross roads and the trail head are not always visible.

I've hiked this trail hundreds of times (once lived nearby). It's a great park for year-round hiking, the season changes keep it interesting. Great for fall color, spring wildflowers, and snowshoeing in winter. Most trips I have encountered wildlife, although less likely on a busy weekend. Normal sightings include deer, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, many bird species, and occasionally bald eagles soaring over the Des Moines River. From mid-June to mid-September, strong bug spray is recommended

road biking
1 month ago

road biking
1 month ago

I really love this trail as it is very open to walking as well as biking and offers beautiful scenery along every mile you take.

Fun trail! I took my kiddos and dog, and we had a blast. We enjoyed the shady hike, and got a good workout. It was lightly raining, but we barely felt any drops because the tree canopy was so thick. We will w going back for sure. Beautiful flora to look at. I can’t wait to hike it in the fall.

hiking
2 months 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.

off road driving
3 months ago

Drive through some grass trails that I believe were for hiking. Oh well! The lake is dry due to reconstruction.

hiking
3 months ago

As of June 2018, much of the park is under construction.

Love it did 6 miles

hiking
4 months 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

walking
5 months ago

It’s quiet minus the traffic nearby but loads of birds and a good distance with no real inclines/declines for need an even level path.

I used to come fishing here quite a bit.. sad to see the lake is gone. There are some other smaller ponds around the trails I noticed. In terms of hiking, the trails are pretty and variable, though can be tricky to spot at times off the gravel paths / roadways.

lovely park-very clean and a great path! Made a lot of memories today creek stomping with my wee one before she heads off to college-she's majoring in Forrestry and Park Management

trail running
9 months ago

My favorite trail to run in Ames!

great trail for a half day trip or so!

Starr's Cave is beautiful, with limestone bluffs shadowing Flint Creek that runs through the park. During the winter you can rent cross country skis to explore either the creek or trails. The trail system starts at the nature center and has several areas where it veers off into other trails. If you stay on the main trail the entire loop will take you back around to the backside of the nature center for just under 3 miles of distance covered. It's an easy trail with only a couple good hills toward the end of the trail. Several bridges to cross along the way. The main cave that's across the long bridge toward the beginning of the trail is closed off, but you can still walk up to the entrance and look around. The view off the bridge is breathtaking, especially during fall colors peak season in October. There are 2 other smaller caves you can take the trails and either climb up to get inside, or climb down - depending on which trail you take to get to it. It's small, but big enough to stand up inside and go in to the back of it and check it out. I didn't get to the other cave, but I'm pretty sure it's on a trail across Flint Creek. There's a trailhead for that one out on Irish Ridge Road. I love hiking out there to explore nature as well as running the trails for a good workout.

hiking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

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
Saturday, September 02, 2017

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.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

No lake there, which was sad. Otherwise, super pretty field and tons of flat trail to hike.

hiking
Monday, July 17, 2017

Great small walk. Worth a stop. Bring a dog to enjoy the stream.

horseback riding
Friday, July 07, 2017

This is an equestrian trail. The lake is pretty, but equestrian trails do not make good hiking trails.

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

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

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?

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