fall destinations in iowa

Remarkable Short Hiking Trails In Iowa For Anyone To Walk

‍Iowa, the heartland of the United States, is renowned for its rolling prairies, serene rivers, and picturesque landscapes. It’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering numerous trails that are perfect for a quick escape into nature without demanding too much of your time or energy. This article highlights twelve unforgettable hiking trails in Iowa, all of which are less than five miles long.

Hitchcock Nature Center: Honey Creek

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: 27792 Ski Hill Loop, Honey Creek, IA 51542, USA

This nature center in Honey Creek boasts an expanse of just under three miles, offering hikers a scenic journey through Iowa’s enchanting landscapes. The trail is suitable for all skill levels and presents a myriad of activities to engage in, such as bird watching and picnic spots.

Wildcat Den State Park: Muscatine

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: 1884 Wildcat Den Rd, Muscatine, IA 52761, USA

The longest trail on our list, Wildcat Den State Park, offers nearly five miles of picturesque walkways. Distinguished by its stunning rock formations and preserved habitat, this park provides a genuine experience for Iowan hikers and visitors alike.

Squirrel’s Nest: Waterworks Park

Location: 200 W 1st St, Grimes, IA 50111, USA

Ideal for both novice and experienced hikers, Squirrel’s Nest at Waterworks Park offers a refreshing stroll through the woods. Its secluded nature adds a touch of authenticity, making it one of the best trails in Iowa.

Ledges State Park: Boone

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: 1515 P Avenue, Madrid, IA, USA

Ledges State Park’s terrain is unusual for Iowa. The diverse geography offers hikers astonishing viewpoints and surrounds them with unforgettable scenery. With wide trails that accommodate all sorts of visitors, this park is a must-visit location in Iowa.

Horseshoe Bluff Nature Trail: Dubuque

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: 11346 Mines of Spain Rd, Dubuque, IA 52003, USA

Horseshoe Bluff Nature Trail, with less than a mile of rolling hills and beautiful bluffs, offers hikers grand landscapes along the Mississippi. This hidden gem is slightly more challenging than most hikes on this list but offers splendid vistas that make it worth the effort.

GreenBelt Lake Loop: Waterloo

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: 900 Martin Rd, Waterloo, IA 50701, USA

Arguably the easiest hike on the list, Greenbelt Lake Loop takes visitors along the waterfront for a pleasant stroll. The water is clean, the land is hearty, and there is never a day that wouldn’t be a bit more wholesome without taking a hike such as this.

Woodpecker Trail: Coralville

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: Woodpecker Nature Trail, Iowa City, IA 52240, USA

This 4.7-mile trail is perfect for those who don’t mind breaking a sweat. The trail is also near Coralville Reservoir, so visitors may fish or swim if they choose to.

Browns Woods: West Des Moines

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: South 9th Lane, S 9th Ln, West Des Moines, IA 50265, USA

Browns Woods, a popular trail for hiking and running, is a 2-mile trail with wide paths that allow for large groups to traverse it with ease. Whether you’re with family, friends, or enjoying the scenery solo, you’re sure to have a truly pure experience.

Whitewater Canyon: Bernard

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: 29912 9th Ave, Bernard, IA 52032, USA

Whitewater Canyon features cliffs as high as 200 feet, packing several gorgeous views into its short 2.5-mile looped trail. This unique Iowan landmark is a must-visit for all hiking enthusiasts.

Boyson Park Trail: Marion

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: 901 Boyson Rd, Marion, IA 52302, USA

The Boyson Park Trail in Marion offers a beautiful, tree-lined 3.4-mile hike along Indian Creek and Dry Creek. The trail connects several parks, making it an ideal spot for a family day out.

Wapsi Nature Trail: Central City

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: Wapsi River Trail, Iowa 52214, USA

This paved trail in Central City follows the banks of the Wapsipinicon River. The two-mile hike connects downtown Central City to Pinicon Ridge Park, offering a scenic and enjoyable walk.

Copper Creek Trail: Preston

Short Hiking Trails In Iowa

Location: Copper Creek Trail, Preston, IA, USA

This short .75-mile trail starts in Preston and heads northeast along Copper Creek. More seasoned hikers can hook up with the longer Jackson County Recreation Trail, but those looking for a shorter hike can stop and enjoy the gazebo where the two trails meet.


These  hikes in Iowa, all under five miles, offer a chance to explore the diverse natural beauty of the state. So, put on your hiking boots, pack your bag, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors of Iowa.

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