1 Mile Semi-Loop Trail at Walnut Woods State Park

trail for kids at walnut wood state park des moines iowa

Walnut Woods State Park is a gem, and one of our favorite parks when my kids were younger. There are several trails, but we like this one so much we haven’t ever explored further! This is a loop-ish trail; the trail itself is a U and then it’s an easy walk through the open grass to get back to the beginning. My kids love this trail because the way we hike it, there is a playground at the end! It makes for a great motivator. It’s also a great place to see fall leaves, earning it a spot on this list!

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1 Mile Loop Trail at Kuehn Conservation Area

1 mile loop trail kuehn

We recently camped at the Kuehn Conservation hike-in campsite and had so much fun; I decided to properly map out a trail route we took while we were there (you can find a 2 mile loop we have hiked in the past, in this post). It is mainly in the forest, and goes down over a stream into what I call true “Fern Gully” style woods. So lush, green, and quiet. While you can continue to go deeper into the forest past the tree that I climbed, we turned and went back to the prairie and then back up past the upper campground to form a 1 mile loop.

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2 Mile Loop Hike at Kuehn Conservation Area

trail at kuehn conservation area

For Father’s Day, we took advantage of the cooler temperatures and returned to one of our favorites, Kuehn Conservation Area out in Earlham, Iowa! A short drive from the metro, this park feels like it is on the edge of civilization and we love it. Even on a weekend, we practically had the whole place to ourselves. Last Fall we went East and down into the more wooded area, where we saw a creek (pictures on the main Kuehn page) so today we went west, checking out the primitive camping areas, the river beach, and the prairie.

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Starting Summer at Ledges State Park

ledges state park boone iowa (1)

Ledges State Park is super popular and well worth the (short) drive from the Des Moines metro – we kicked off summer with a visit to splash and explore! I had read reports of the canyon road being closed due to damage (picture and article here), so I thought I’d scope out options for parking in an effort to make it easier to visit. This is such a fun place to come and spend the day hiking and splashing, the shallow water makes it perfect for babies and toddlers (as well as older kids, adults, and dogs of course!). Lots of folks bring water toys, nets, and beach balls but we usually have the most fun looking for animals and playing with sticks.

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Memorial Day Weekend Explorations

hiking trails in des moines iowa

We took advantage of the beautiful weather last weekend and spent most of it outside. Friday night we splashed around in the creek at Centennial Park, with plans to hike Saturday morning. I prefer going to farther out destinations when my husband can join us, for fear of getting totally lost and ending up hauling 60+ pounds of kid over my shoulders, so we headed out to Warren County and started exploring.

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