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Trail Routes

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 Trail Route at Margo Frankel State Park

1 mile hike at margo frankel state park

Time to share another trail route! Margo Frankel Woods State Park is a little mysterious, with very little internet presence. Conveniently located close to I-35, the trail can be hard to find from the parking lot but you quickly feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere once you’re on it! There is a main gravel trail and then lots of dirt “deer trails”; we have explored both but now I’m sharing a simple 1 mile trail route. It isn’t a loop, but I’ll give you the landmark to look for and turn around.

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Trail Routes

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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Trail Routes Visit Recaps

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.