Nature May 31, 2021
The Easy 1-Mile Crow’s Nest Loop Trail Will Lead You Through The Iowa Forest
If you’re not familiar with Iowa, you may tend to associate the state’s landscape with flat farmland and not much else. The truth is, Iowa is graced with a diverse bounty of natural wonders, and the Crow’s Nest Loop in Ledges State Park provides succinct and decisive evidence to that fact. Although the trail spans only one mile, it contains an astounding number of diverse landscapes.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
The Crow's Nest provides breath-taking views of the Des Moines River.
Less than a quarter-mile into the hike, you will reach the Crow's Nest itself. From here, you can treat yourself to a gorgeous view of the Des Moines River nestled between the treetops. Be sure to visit during the colder months, after the leaves have fallen, for even better views of the river.
The first half of the trail is distinguished by an expanse of tranquil forest.
The path weaves along ledges offering glimpses of the park below.
The Hutton Memorial provides a fitting tribute for a conservation hero.
Just beyond the Crow's Nest, you will find a memorial dedicated to Murray Lee Hutton, who served as the first director of the Iowa State Conservation Commission until his death in 1941.
Once you clear the forest, the gorgeous and serene Peas Creek awaits you.
Consider bringing sandals for a peaceful walk along the creek's edge. Peas Creek also provides the opportunity to connect to the Reindeer Ridge and Old Indian trailheads, if you feel the urge to extend your hike.
A historical stone bridge spans the Peas Creek.
The best trails invite and reward exploration, and the Crow's Nest Loop is no exception. Take a brief detour along the edge of Peas Creek to find this iconic stone bridge built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal program that provided jobs for the unemployed while promoting conservation.
The Crow's Nest Loop seems to offer something new every step of the way.
The fact that such a plethora of natural sights are all packed within a one-mile hike is what makes the trail truly remarkable.
Visit during the winter for a contemplative and quiet experience.
After a fresh snowfall, the features of the Crow's Nest Trail take on a dazzling and stark beauty that is not to be missed.
You can find more information on the Crow’s Nest Loop and Ledges State Park by visiting the
Iowa Department of Natural resources website. Keep in mind campground reservations are required if you plan to stay overnight. Address: 1515 P Ave, Madrid, IA 50156, USA