Arie Den Boer Arboretum at Water Works Park

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I heard that the crabapples were blooming at Waterworks Park, so we set out to check them out! I went to Drake University and while nearby Gray’s Lake was a popular destination, the only time I’ve spent in Waterworks Park was for the Jolly Holiday Lights display at Christmas time. We scouted the popular hanging swing to play for a bit and then drove back up to the front so we could check out the colorful trees. I didn’t see any specific hiking trails, but there were paved paths and shared paved roads alongside lots of open green space for exploring.

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Goeldner Woods – Spring Wildflower Hike

goeldner woods hiking earlham des moines iowa

Hello, Spring! We took off on a whim to check out Goeldner Woods down in Earlham, and were rewarded with the most gorgeous wildflower flanked trails I’ve ever seen. The drive down went from boring and flat to wooded and gorgeous at the end, landing us in what felt like the middle of nowhere.

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Yellow Banks Park – Spring Hike

yellow banks park des moines iowa

Last summer, a friend and I tried to check out Yellow Banks Park on the Savanna trail and were absolutely swarmed by mosquitoes. Despite a light rain, they were horrendous and it was hard to admire the 250-year-old trees when we were dizzy with swatting! This spring, I was determined to get back out and planned to try out the Backpacker trail. My family and I started off in a different direction by accident, ending up on a super interesting path I confirmed with a park ranger that where we ended up is going to be a new trail and it is totally walkable as is, so I’m sharing it!

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McColl Park – Park Visit

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Mccoll Park in Woodward, Iowa is a quaint, small town park that we stopped by after spending the morning at Big Creek State Park and then checking out Swede Point Park! We had initially planned on killing time at this park until it was dark enough to see the High Trestle Trail Bridge all lit-up, but the temperature kept dropping and we gave up on that idea. My son had a marvelous time on the old-school merry-go-round and teeter-totter; all the open space was great for running around.

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Hiking Sycamore Trail in Des Moines, Iowa

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It took some extra work to finally find Sycamore Trail when I was working on the Polk County geocache challenge last summer, but it ended up being one of my favorites! I think this might have been the most wildlife-filled hike I’ve ever taken, which is one of my favorite parts about being outdoors.

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