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Get Moving: 4 Must-Hike Parks in Ames, IA

Burn calories while soaking in Story County's stunning scenery.

By Lindsey Hyde on May 26, 2021

Ames, Story County, IA
Arthur Davis/Story County Conservation

Looking for a few spots in Story County where you can enjoy some of Iowa’s beautiful scenery but also get a bit of a workout in? Here are four must-hikes parks to consider:

McFarland Park Loop

Keep your gaze up as you are hiking this 5-mile trail, because you are bound to see wildlife. Located in Ames, IA, residents can also surround themselves with views of a 6.5-acre lake, tallgrass and woodland as they are treading the trail.

Soper’s Mill

In addition to a great walk or run, residents can go birdwatching, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and hunting, among other things, at this 16-acre historic site in Ames on the Skunk River.

Ames, Story County, IA
Ames Chamber of Commerce

Peterson Park

In this 200-acre park on the Skunk River Greenbelt, Ames and Story County residents can frequent an old mining area for birdwatching, picnics, swimming, boating, hiking and other activities. If you are headed here for a walk, make sure to bring your fishing pole, too – you might just reel in a big catch.

O’Neil Prairie

O’Neil Prairie is just that – a beautiful prairie with 0.3 acres of wetland in Ames. While the area does not include trails, residents can be “one with nature,” hiking and exploring the nearly 5 acres of prairie. And catching a glimpse of a few birds during your time here is just an added benefit.


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