Brown's Woods

Park Trailhead
Family Hiking

Brown's Woods, Iowa's largest urban forest preserve, offers more than 2 miles of trails to explore. This 484-acre forest in West Des Moines features a canopy of oak and hickory trees stretching from Brown's Woods Drive to the Raccoon River. The rolling hills and small streams of Brown's Woods are a joy to explore at any season. This wildlife area is named after Tallmadge E. Brown, a successful Des Moines lawyer who acquired large tracts of land around Des Moines in the late 1800s. One of them was this beautiful forest acquired by the Conservation Board in 1972.

Visitors may collect nuts, fruit or edible mushrooms for non-commercial use if the plant is not harmed; however, removing plants, hunting, or trapping animals and cutting wood is illegal here.


Entrance located off of Brown's Woods Drive (West of SW 63rd St.), West Des Moines, Iowa

Brown's Woods, 195 SE Brown's Woods Ct., West Des Moines, IA 50265 Google Maps location


  • Geocaching
  • Hiking

Operating Hours & Seasons

During day light savings time 6:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. 
Sunrise to sunset the rest of the year.


Polk County Water and Land Legacy Park Improvements 

Many exciting park and trail improvements are happening in Polk County thanks in part to the Polk County Water and Land Legacy bond referendum that was supported by voters in November of 2012. This may result in closed recreation areas due to construction. We encourage the public to stay involved and updated on these improvements by regularly visiting our website at