Activities

 
Biking Biking at Great Western Trail
This 16.5 mile journey can be a step back into time as travelers witness a few remaining prairie and wetland remnants. The recently paved trail, managed jointly by the Warren and Polk County Conservation Boards, preserves some of Iowa’s endangered plants, those plants that had been wiped out in other parts of the state as land-use changes were made.  Hop on your bike and enjoy the trail.
Biking Biking at Summerset Trail
Stretching eleven miles from Carlisle to Indianola, the Summerset Trail passes through rolling hills and wetland river bottom as it winds from town to town. In the middle sits the village of Summerset on the south bank of the Middle River. Restroom facilities with running water are available at the Indianola trail head and pit toilets are available at the Carlisle trail head and at Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park at the trail’s half-way point. Parking is available at all three points.
Camping Camping at Hickory Hills Park
This area features a primitive camping area with 7 sites. Registration is required, but camping is provided at no cost. Reservations are not allowed.
Camping Camping at Otter Creek Park
There are 5 primitive campsites along the park road. Following the trail on the west side of the park, you will quickly discover the secluded, primitive walk-in campsites that overlook Otter Creek. Registration is required, but camping is provided at no cost. Reservations are not allowed.
Camping Camping at Grant Park
Camping at Grant Park was added in 2018. There are 10 primitive campsites. Registration is required, but camping is provided at no cost. Reservations are not allowed.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Bank Swallow Bend Wildlife Area
The wetland areas on site and the South River that run through the area are great for exploring by canoe or kayak.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Annett Nature Center and Park
Both Lester Pond and the wetland on site are great for canoeing and kayaking.  Together there is over 18 acres of water to explore!
Education Education at Annett Nature Center and Park
Education at the Annett Nature Center
The Annett Nature Center serves as the hub for Warren County Conservation Board activities. It provides a one-of-a-kiind learning experience to thousands of people.  Hundreds of acres surrounding the Center are rich in a variety of resources, featuring miles of trails, 30' observation tower, Osprey Reintroduction site, fishing, prairie plantings, a butterfly garden, a bird blind and wetland.  The Center serves as the focal point for many school field trips and the WCCB Day Camps.  Highlights of the Center include displays on two levels, and a  small bird viewing room. The Center has a full time education staff of 2 naturalists.
Education Education at Hickory Hills Park
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county.
Education Education at Otter Creek Park
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county.
Education Education at Summerset Trail
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county.
Education Education at Great Western Trail
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county.
Education Education at Woodland Mounds Preserve
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county.
Education Education at Zo-El Annett Woods
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county.
Education Education at Bank Swallow Bend Wildlife Area
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county
Education Education at Rolling Thunder Prairie
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county.
Education Education at Lundy Acres
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county.
Education Education at Blue Flag Marsh
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county.
Education Education at Grant Park
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide education programs for every age group, school, civic organization or scout group. Call 515-961-6169 to schedule a program or find out about upcoming programs in the county
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Grant Park
The shelter is very popular for family reunions and scout outings.  Call 515-961-6169 to get your event scheduled today!
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Great Western Trail
The shelter houses are very popular for family reunions, scout outings and birthday parties. There are also 2 playgrounds and a restroom facility.  Call 515-961-6169 to get your event scheduled today!
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Otter Creek Park
The shelter is very popular for family reunions and scout outings.  Call 515-961-6169 to get your event scheduled today!
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Hickory Hills Park
The barn and shelter are very popular for family reunions, scout outings and weddings. Call 515-961-6169 to get your event scheduled today!
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Annett Nature Center and Park
The Annett Nature Center s available for private use as the WCCB schedule allows.  The rental includes a full kitchen with serving window into a 25' x 41' open room, a 16' x 16' lobby, coat room and restroom facilities indoors, a 48' x 40' desk off of the open room, and spacious grounds surrounding the building.  Parking for at least 43 vehicles is available and the facility is fully accessible to the handicapped.  Display areas may be abailable for rental under certain conditions.  Pleas ask for details.   Room capacities for fire code purposes is: 146 for main room and 37 for the lobby. The WCCB also has two smaill grills ($15 each) and one very large grill ($45) available for rent.  Ask for details. Details are available from the WCCB office.
Fishing Fishing at Annett Nature Center and Park
Lester Pond provides great year round fishing opportunities for anglers. The pond is known for good large mouth bass fishing, as well as decent populations of pan fish and catfish.

Please abide by DNR fishing regulations and local length and limits as they pertain to certain species. For additional information, please visit the IOWA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES website.
Fishing Fishing at Hickory Hills Park
Enjoy a quiet afternoon of fishing at this small 1 acre pond.  Bass, blue gill, and catfish may be found here.
Fishing Fishing at Grant Park
Enjoy a quiet afternoon of fishing at this small 1 acre pond.  Bass, blue gill, and catfish may be found here.
Fishing Fishing at Bank Swallow Bend Wildlife Area
Enjoy a quiet afternoon of fishing at the wetland.  Walleye, bass, blue gill, and catfish may be found here.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Rolling Thunder Prairie
Immerse yourself in what Iowa used to look like.  A rolling area with a wooded creek, that area consists mainly of grasses and forbs. It is used extensively by a variety of upland and woodland species. This prairie is the largest track of native prairie in the county.  The two hundred acres on the west side of 80th Avenue have never been plowed and contain high quality native prairie vegetation.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Hickory Hills Park
A group of Native American Indians known as the Woodland Indians once called this area home.Over 200 years ago they lived along the banks of the Squaw Creek. they shaped tools from chert, molded pottery from clay mixed with grit, hunted the abundant game and gathered food from the land. There is a large conical-shaped burial mound located toward the north end of the park. It is believed that when people of high status in the tribal unit died, their bodies were placed on ridge tops above the riverside campsites and large earthen mounds were constructed over them. While the bones have long since decayed, the mound still tells us that the spot was recognized as a sacred place many years ago.

In the early 1900’s, the area that is now the picnic grounds was then an active farmstead. The old wooden barn that housed the family’s livestock still stands and helps us explain the farming practices of yesteryear. There are three sections to the foundation of the home that once stood. One part was stone, another brick and yet another poured concrete telling us there were three additions to the house. There is also a root cellar that served as the family’s storm shelter and food storage area. Just west of the farmstead is the remnants of the old stagecoach road that once connected Osceola to Indianola. It angled right past the house and barn. The Warren County Conservation Board purchased Hickory Hills in December of 1976 and has maintained it ever since.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Great Western Trail
Your trip along the Great Western Trail is a journey into history. It will take you through the site of Lida, past the munitions train derailment and fire near North River and across the Churchville Prairie. In 1914 no point in Iowa was more than 12 miles from a railroad. They served many small-town elevators and coal yards. The track was opened in 1899 by the Chicago, St. Paul and Kansas City Railroad. The Chicago & Northwestern was the last train company to use the rail line which originally ran from Des Moines to St. Joseph, Missouri. A few concrete mile markers giving the distance between the marker location and Kansas City can still be found standing as sentinels from the past. The trail is full of adventure for the nature enthusiast, the history buff, and for those who simply wish to leave the noise and congestion of the city. Put on your hiking boots or hop on your bike and enjoy the trail.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Woodland Mounds Preserve
A group of Native American Indians known as the Woodland Indians once called this area home.Over 200 years ago they lived along the banks of the South River. they shaped tools from chert, molded pottery from clay mixed with grit, hunted the abundant game and gathered food from the land. There are many conical-shaped burial mounds located ton the trail. It is believed that when people of high status in the tribal unit died, their bodies were placed on ridge tops above the riverside campsites and large earthen mounds were constructed over them. While the bones have long since decayed, the mounds still tell us that this spot was recognized as a sacred place many years ago.
Hunting Hunting at Woodland Mounds Preserve
Woodland Mounds Preserve contains 185 acres of timber that provides habitat for many types of woodland wildlife. If is part of one of the largest continuous stands of timber remaining in the county. The area was purchased in by the Warren County Conservation Board in 1981 with assistance from a grant from the Wildlife Habitat Stamp Fund, a pool of money available to on a competitive basis to county conservation boards funded through the of Wildlife Habitat Fee, a fee required with the purchase of an Iowa hunting license. Warren County has been fortunate to use this very competitive grant program to purchase four tracts of land. An additional 140 acres have been leased, bringing the total acreage open to the public on this area to 325.
The area is used for school field trips in the spring and early fall, has an extensive trail system and is open to hunting within the rules and regulations set forth by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Hunting Hunting at Rolling Thunder Prairie
Rolling Thunder Prairie is a 282 acre wildlife management area full of hunting possibilities.  Deer, turkey and pheasant are among the most popular game.
Hunting Hunting at Blue Flag Marsh
The plentiful game and diverse songbird populations make the 138-acres of Blue Flag Marsh a popular destination for hunting and wildlife observation. Many game species including deer, squirrels, raccoons, pheasant, quail, waterfowl, and many furbearing animals are found here.
Hunting Hunting at Bank Swallow Bend Wildlife Area
The plentiful game and diverse songbird populations make the 542-acres of Bank Swallow Bend a popular destination for hunting and wildlife observation. Many game species including deer, squirrels, raccoons, pheasant, quail, waterfowl, and many furbearing animals are found here.
Other Activities Other Activities at Bank Swallow Bend Wildlife Area
The plentiful game and diverse songbird populations make the 542-acres at Bank Swallow Bend a popular destination for wildlife observation. Bitterns, Bank Swallows, resident Bald Eagles, Snowy Egrets and more bird species await. Many game species including deer, squirrels, raccoons, pheasant, quail, waterfowl, and many furbearing animals are also found here. Don't forget your camera!
Other Activities Other Activities at Rolling Thunder Prairie
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment Geocaching is a great way to see Rolling Thunder.  The cache is located at N 41° 12.040 W 093° 39.484.
Other Activities Other Activities at Lundy Acres

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment Geocaching is a great way to see Lundy Acres. 

Visit www.geocaching.com to get started today.

Other Activities Other Activities at Grant Park

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment Geocaching is a great way to see Grants.  

 

Visit www.geocaching.com to get started today.

Other Activities Other Activities at Blue Flag Marsh
The plentiful game and diverse songbird populations make the 138-acres at Blue Flag Marsh a popular destination for wildlife observation. Many game species including deer, squirrels, raccoons, pheasant, quail, waterfowl, and many furbearing animals are found here.
Other Activities Other Activities at Zo-El Annett Woods
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment Geocaching is a great way to see Zo-El.  The cache is located at N 41° 23.719 W 093° 41.900
Other Activities Other Activities at Great Western Trail
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment Geocaching is a great way to see the Great Western Trail.  Visit geocaching.com to get started. 
Other Activities Other Activities at Hickory Hills Park

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment Geocaching is a great way to see Hickory Hills. 

Visit www.geocaching.com to get started today.

Other Activities Other Activities at Woodland Mounds Preserve
Visiting an EarthCache site is a great way to learn more about our wonderful world. It can take you to many places that you would not normally visit, and teach you about why those places are special or unique. EarthCache sites can also teach you and your family important skills such as navigation and map reading. What better way to learn than to have fun exploring on this wonderful planet we call Earth! Log on to geocaching.com to find this earthcache!
Other Activities Other Activities at Summerset Trail
Stretching eleven miles from Carlisle to Indianola, the Summerset Trail passes through rolling hills and wetland river bottom as it winds from town to town. In the middle sits the village of Summerset on the south bank of the Middle River. With this varied landscape, it is a birders and wildlife watchers paradise. 
Other Activities Other Activities at Annett Nature Center and Park
Visiting an EarthCache site is a great way to learn more about our wonderful world. It can take you to many places that you would not normally visit, and teach you about why those places are special or unique. EarthCache sites can also teach you and your family important skills such as navigation and map reading. What better way to learn than to have fun exploring on this wonderful planet we call Earth! Log on to geocaching.com to find two earthcaches here!
Other Activities Other Activities at Otter Creek Park
No hike at Otter Creek is complete without a visit to the pond.  Although it is small and contains no fish, it attracts a large number of animals.  The waters are crowded with aquatic insects and frogs.  The large tadpole population makes it a great attraction for children, whose access to the water has been made safe by the installation of a boardwalk along the pond’s edge.
Picnicking Picnicking at Otter Creek Park
The shelter is available by reservation or on a first-come basis. Picnic areas are scattered throughout the park complete with tables and grill boxes.
Picnicking Picnicking at Hickory Hills Park
The barn and picnic shelter are available by reservation or on a first-come basis. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park.
Picnicking Picnicking at Annett Nature Center and Park
Several areas are available for picnicking at the Annett Nature Center.  There are picnic tables scattered along the lawn with beautiful views of the prairie and park.  There is also a shaded picnic area by the wetland.
Picnicking Picnicking at Great Western Trail
The shelter houses are available by reservation or on a first-come basis. Picnic areas are scattered throughout the trail.
Picnicking Picnicking at Zo-El Annett Woods
There is a picnic area with a large fire pit here perfect for a family afternoon at the park
Picnicking Picnicking at Woodland Mounds Preserve
Woodland Mounds offers a beautiful shaded picnic area near the parking lot of the park. There is a  pedestal cooking grill and great fire ring.
Picnicking Picnicking at Lundy Acres
Lundy Acres offers a beautiful shaded picnic area. There is a  pedestal cooking grill and great fire ring.
Picnicking Picnicking at Grant Park
The shelter is available by reservation or on a first-come basis. There are also picnic areas with grills throughout the park available on a first-come basis.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Grant Park
Grants features a winding trail that climbs to the back of the park  then descends back to the trail head, affording the hiker a beautiful stroll through a lovely woodland park.  No hike would be complete without taking a walk back to the pond.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Blue Flag Marsh
There are no designated trails at Blue Flag, but it is a great area to explore off trail.  You are sure to see many songbirds, waterfowl and even some deer.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Lundy Acres
Lundy is home to a short, pleasant meandering trail.  Come explore the lowland woods and Middle River.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Rolling Thunder Prairie
Explore Rolling Thunder the way Early Iowans did...off trail.  There is not a trail system in the park which leaves the exploring completely up to you.  Blaze a new path and see what wonder await!
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Bank Swallow Bend Wildlife Area
There are miles of mowed fire breaks that act as trails for people to explore this vast wetland area.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Woodland Mounds Preserve
There is a special sense of timelessness in the timber at Woodland Mounds Preserve. The unique qualities of this beautiful wooded ridge above South River have been recognized by inhabitants of this county for thousands of years. The park features a winding trail meanders the back of the park, passing by the Woodland Indian mounds and then loops back. The loop is approximately 3.0 miles round trip.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Zo-El Annett Woods
Zo-El features a winding trail that climbs to the back of the park, crosses a long suspension bridge and then descends back to the trail head, affording the hiker a beautiful stroll through a lovely woodland park.  No hike would be complete without taking advantage of the picnic area.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Great Western Trail
This 16.5 mile journey can be a step back into time as travelers witness a few remaining prairie and wetland remnants. The paved trail, managed jointly by the Warren and Polk County Conservation Boards, preserves some of Iowa’s endangered plants, those plants that had been wiped out in other parts of the state as land-use changes were made.  Put on your hiking boots and enjoy the trail.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Summerset Trail
This eleven mile journey from Carlisle to Indianola takes you through rolling hills and wetland river bottom as it winds from town to town. In the middle sits the village of Summerset on the south bank of the Middle River. Put on your hiking boots and enjoy the trail.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Otter Creek Park
There are approximately three miles of trails through Otter Creek Park. They cut through the oak and shagbark hickory forest, which typify the native vegetation of Warren County’s ridges.  Following the trail on the west side of the park, you will quickly discover the secluded campsites that overlook Otter Creek.  These are primitive campsites that can only be reached on foot. No hike at Otter Creek is complete without a visit to the pond.  Although it is small and contains no fish, it attracts a large number of animals.  The waters are crowded with aquatic insects and frogs.  The large tadpole population makes it a great attraction for children, whose access to the water has been made safe by the installation of a boardwalk along the pond’s edge.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Annett Nature Center and Park
This 160-acre park sports nearly 7 miles of diverse hiking trails through rolling hills of prairie, woodland stream valleys and lake and wetland loops. and stream valleys. The trails are interconnected to provide a network of trail throughout the park.  
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Hickory Hills Park
Explore over 3 miles of trails through this unique park. This 160 acres of rolling timber and open fields reveal the secrets of its past through clues that are still visible today. Take a journey through the woodlands and transport yourself back in time by visiting the Indian burial mounds. Another trail takes you past the old barn and down to the pond.
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Hickory Hills Park
Hickory Hills can be enjoyed in the winter as well.  Explore the trails by cross-country skis, snowshoe or your own two feet.  The small pond is also great for ice-fishing.
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Otter Creek Park
Otter Creek can be enjoyed in the winter as well.  Explore the trails by cross-country skis, snowshoe or your own two feet. 
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Annett Nature Center and Park
With necessary winter conditions (sufficient snow, cold temperatures, etc.) the Annett Nature Center is a winter playground of sorts! Our miles of trails are great for exploring by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.  Lester Pond for ice-fishing and nature center rentals also make for great outdoor winter fun and recreational opportunities.
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Summerset Trail
The Summerset Trail can be enjoyed in the winter as well.  Explore the trail by cross-country skis, snowshoe or your own two feet. 
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Great Western Trail
The Great Western Trail can be enjoyed in the winter as well.  Explore the trail by cross-country skis, snowshoe or your own two feet. 
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Bank Swallow Bend Wildlife Area
With necessary winter conditions (sufficient snow, cold temperatures, etc.) Bank Swallow Bend is a winter playground of sorts! Our miles of trails are great for exploring by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.  Stop at the wetland for ice-fishing fun too. All of these activities make for great outdoor winter fun and recreational opportunities.