Are you an adventurous person or do you think you might like to become one?
Do you like to explore new places?
Do you love to be outdoors, to climb hills and trees and trails?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then hiking may be the perfect recreational activity for you!
Hiking can be lots of fun with a group of friends or with your family!
Hiking isn’t really all that different from walking. Sometimes it’s on a dirt trail, and sometimes it winds up and down hills. You may have to climb over big roots or jump over little streams. And it takes a lot of energy. But it is great fun!
Fall is the perfect time to start hiking. The weather is cool, so you don’t usually have to worry about overheating or freezing. In fact, it’s good to wear jeans or long pants and long sleeves to protect yourself from branches and bugs.
You don’t have to go too far from home to hike. There is a lot of great hiking right here in Central Iowa. Check out our three recommendations for beginning trails right here in Des Moines:
Raccoon River Park
A nice easy gravel trail 3.3 miles long goes around the lake and through the woods. Lots of people use the trail and you can even take your dog; be sure your dog is on a leash, and clean up after him! It’s a very nice, clean, scenic trail.
Brown’s Woods Forest Preserve
With more than two miles of trails to explore, this forest in West Des Moines has thick trees, a big hill, and small streams. Being there makes it feel like you are miles away from civilization. Be sure you use bug spray here!
Center Trail Loop
Greenwood and Ashworth Parks are right in the middle of Des Moines. There is a beautiful 5.8 mile trail that connects the parks. It takes you up and down steep hills and through the woods. If it has rained, this dirt trail can be muddy.
Stuff you may need for hiking
Water so you can stay hydrated
Compass so you can see where you’ve gone … and where you’re headed! (It’s fun to learn how to use a compass!)
Some kind of backpack or knapsack to carry your compass and water
Map of the trail you’re following
Comfortable shoes or boots (tennis shoes work well when you are just starting out)