Find a list of 2018 hikes here.
Getting out for a walk or hike (even a short one) with the kids in tow can seem a bit daunting. That’s why we’ve rounded up 11 fall hikes that are led and organized by local naturalists. All you have to do is show up! These awesome hikes will get your little city slickers some fresh air and remind you that outdoor adventures are still possible.
11 Fall Hikes 4 Kids and Families in Des Moines
Birds and Butterfly Walk
Join a Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge naturalist for a walk along the 1/2-mile Oak Savanna Trail to look for and learn to identify butterflies and migrating songbirds. This is a FREE event, but registration is required.
Family Night Hike
Join Brenton Arboretum naturalists for an extra-dark night hike under a nearly-new moon. This family-friendly night hike will take walkers of all ages on an educational sensory adventure you won’t soon forget! Wear sturdy shoes. You may also want to bring a flashlight. $10 registration fee.
Prairie Discovery Walk
Join a Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge naturalist for a guided nature walk along the 1/2-mile Overlook Trail and learn about wildlife, wildflowers and management of the refuge. See the prairie in bloom, watch for birds and butterflies, and learn about the bison and elk herds. This is a FREE event, but registration is required.
Fall Founder’s Walk
Celebrate the Brenton Arboretum’s 20th Anniversary year and hear about how it all came to be, along with fascinating insights and plans for the future, all from the founder himself, Buz Brenton. This popular annual walk will be offered in three seasons this year, register for one or all! $10 registration fee.
Fall Colors Hike
Enjoy a nature hike through the woods in Thomas Mitchell Park with a Polk County naturalist as they explain the brilliance of fall colors. FREE. No registration required.
Fall Colors on the Square
Take a fall walk around the Indianola town square to learn about why trees change color in the fall, how to identify trees, and fun facts. If time allows you will stroll down to Buxton Park for a colorful walk. This FREE event is a partnership with Indianola Parks & Recreation. Please register by September 17th.
Walk for Wildlife
Enjoy a family walk through the park or extend your trip with a 5 or 10-kilometer Volkssport walk. You can also try geocaching along your walk, GPS units will be available. It’s almost Halloween; wear a costume that allows you to walk. Meet at the Chichaqua Longhouse. Walkers can start anytime between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. Co-sponsored by Polk County Conservation and the Greater Des Moines Volkssport Association. $2 registration fee payable at the event. Pets on a 6-foot leash are welcome.
Fall Hike on the Oak Savanna Trail
Take a guided hike through the 1/2 mile Oak Savanna Trail to learn about the wildlife, plants and management of the area. Enjoy being outside during the fall season while learning more about your local natural areas. This is a FREE event, but registration is required.
Join Warren County Conservation for their annual Halloween Hike! Trek down the jack o’ lantern lit trail and meet several characters along the way. Afterwards, you will enjoy a craft and a snack in the nature center. The event is $2 for children and $3 for adults. Please pre-register for a time slot, hikes leave at 6:30, 6:40, 6:50, 7:00, 7:10, 7:20,and 7:30.
After a brief discussion, around the campfire, about these flying predators of the night, you’ll go for a hike in Yellow Banks Park and learn how to call three different species of owls. FREE. No registration required.
Enjoy a 3-mile hike through beautiful Brown’s Woods, Iowa’s largest urban forest preserve. You’ll talk about turkeys and how animals are preparing for winter all while burning some calories. FREE. No registration required.
What do you think? Are you ready to take a hike with your little outdoor adventurers this fall in Des Moines?