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PARK CLOSURE: The park has been closed since Thursday, June 25th due to flooding. For any questions regarding the park closure you may contact Tim Gedler, Park Manager at 515 250-2048. The park will re-open on Friday, July 10th. (UPDATED 7/3/2015)
Water on for camping facilities: Campground Restrooms, dump station, and full hookup facilities are opened for the 2015 camping season. Walnut Woods does not have shower facilities.

Walnut Woods State Park, IA

Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
Max reservation window: Sun Oct 04 2015   Later Dates


Welcome to Walnut Woods State Park. Iowans and visitors from across the U.S. can find a quality outdoor recreation experience in the forested natural setting at Walnut Woods. The park encompasses 260 acres of wooded bottomland along the Raccoon River. Whether you are here to fish or float the Raccoon River, camp, hike a trail or just relax, we hope you enjoy your stay.

Walnut Woods boasts the largest surviving natural stand of black walnut trees in North America. Many of these stately trees can be seen along the main park roadway. Visitors are not allowed to harvest or pick up walnuts in the park.


Bird watching is popular year-round, but especially in the spring and fall as the entire park is a great place to observe migrating warblers, flycatchers and a variety of other songbirds, hawks and owls. More than 90 species of birds have been identified along the numerous trails through the park and along the river. A bird observation and feeding station facility is located west of the park office building.

River Activities
The valley in which Walnut Woods is located was created by the meandering of the Raccoon River.Since the park elevation is not much higher than the normal river level, constant change can be seen in its banks. Depending on the river levels, fishing and canoe float trips are popular on the river. You can fish from the riverbank or launch your boat from the ramp located on the west end of the park. Most river canoeing requires pre-planned vehicle shuttling from access points up or down stream.

Whether you're just passing through or camping overnight take some time to hike the 2 to 3 miles of trails along the Raccoon River within the park. The trails are popular for cross-country skiing in the winter months. The Great Western multi-use trailhead is located approximately 3 miles from the park. This paved trail links Des Moines and Martensdale and is 16.5 miles long.


Picnicking / Lodge
The park provides shaded picnic areas with fire grills and tables located throughout the park along the main road.The popular limestone and timber day-use lodge was constructed in the 1930's and is an outstanding feature of the park. The lodge can be reserved for family reunions, weddings, graduations and other functions.

Walnut Woods is one of the only parks close to Des Moines with a designated campground. Its close proximity to Interstate 35 and the State Highway 5 Bypass make it a convenient place for visitors to meet friends and relatives or attend one of the many special events around the metro area. The campground has modern restrooms and a sanitary dump station but no showers. The shady campsites have concrete pads and electrical service or full hook-ups (electric, water, sewer) and can be reserved in advance.

Nearby Attractions:

The park is located within the Des Moines metropolitan area at the southern edge of West Des Moines, The bridges of Madison County are located near Winterset, less than an hours drive southwest. The world-renowned Iowa State Fair is held each August in Des Moines. The park is a short distance from the many attractions the Des Moines area has to offer, including Living History Farms, the State Historical Building, Botanical Center and Blank Park Zoo.

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Bird Watching
  • Boat Launch Ramp
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Dump Station
  • Firewood Sales
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Jogging/Running
  • Kayaking
  • Modern Restroom
  • Park Office
  • Parking
  • Playground
  • River
  • Skiing - Cross Country
  • Toilet, Pit/Vault
  • Trash Dumpster
  • Water Hydrants
  • Wildlife Viewing
Greater Than 1 Mile
  • Motel
Within 10 Miles
  • Fuel, Vehicles
  • Golfing
  • Hospital
  • Mall
  • Medical Clinic
Alerts and Important Information
No harvesting or picking up walnuts is allowed.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
41.54222, -93.74111
41°32'32"N, 93°44'28"W

From Iowa Hwy.5 take exit 102 and follow signs to Walnut Woods. From Interstate 35 take exit 68(IA Hwy 5) then exit 102 and follow signs to Walnut Woods.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Walnut Woods State Park
3155 Walnut Woods Drive
West Des Moines  IA  50265

Phone Number:

Project Office: (515) 285 - 4502