Goeldner Woods – Spring Wildflower Hike

goeldner woods hiking earlham des moines iowa

Hello, Spring! We took off on a whim to check out Goeldner Woods down in Earlham, and were rewarded with the most gorgeous wildflower flanked trails I’ve ever seen. The drive down went from boring and flat to wooded and gorgeous at the end, landing us in what felt like the middle of nowhere.

You can see more specific details on the Goeldner Woods page or check out its location on the interactive map.

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This is the main sign you see first, then there is another sign once you keep driving. There’s only one way into the park.

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We took off on the first trailhead we saw, going down along the main trail for a little while and then turning around to finish the other side of the loop back towards the parking lot. I really like trail layouts like this for kids, loops are much more fun than turning back around!

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The trails were in good shape, with some decent, slow sloping hills.

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We came across one bridge, with a dry creek beneath.goeldner woods earlham des moines iowa (5)

I could not get enough of all the flowers! Apparently there is a good reason why there are so many: “One of the most unique aspects of Goeldner Woods is the annual spring woodland wildflower display. Due to cool north facing woodland slopes and rich virgin soils, this area explodes into pastel color tones as the forest floor literally is blanketed with millions of wildflower blooms. Over 60 species of woodland flowers have been identified.” – from the local newspaper.

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We had fun identifying them; I picked up several different folding, laminated guides at our last visit to Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge, but there is one online too*.

goeldner woods earlham iowa

Neat findings-a woodpecker loved tree, lots of pearly shells, a giant ant hotel, and the funniest little tree hidey-hole.

goeldner woods mushrooms

So many cool mushrooms! That red was stunning, but my favorite was the one on the left.

old trailer

We stumbled on this abandoned trailer off a deer trail near that bridge pictured above. It was so interesting to investigate; my son proclaimed he would go get his tools and turn it into a playground, ha! I asked around and someone suggested it might have been a coal cart and the wheels certainly look that way, what do you think?

goeldner woods wildflowers

I didn’t snap a picture of all the different wildflowers, but here are a few of my favorites! The left white are Dutchman’s breeches, top blue are Virginia Bluebells, top pink are Spring Beauty, bottom yellow are Bellwort, and bottom right are Blue violets.

The only drawback was all the broken glass and trash near the fire pits up at the front. The trails themselves were pristine but be careful if you have little ones wandering near the front!

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