Summerset Trail

Carlisle, Iowa

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This hike takes in the north end of the Summerset Trail, which winds roughly a dozen miles total and includes a nice spot to view herons as they swoop over the open fields. The hike also features numerous wildflowers as the path moves through open countryside outside the town of Carlisle, south of Des Moines. After crossing a bridge over the creek, you will begin to spot wildflowers on the trail’s edge. Keep an eye out for blue iris and blue chicory. White herons soar over the open land on your right, which may have been a buffalo wallow back when this land was all open prairie. Purple spiderwort and white Canadian anemone are other flora you may see, as are yellowish clumps of wild parsnip and the distinctive three leaves of poison ivy—use caution if you step off the path.

Summerset Trail Professional Review and Guide

"This hike takes in the north end of the Summerset Trail, which winds roughly a dozen miles total and includes a nice spot to view herons as they swoop over the open fields. The hike also features numerous wildflowers as the path moves through open countryside outside the town of Carlisle, south of Des Moines.

After crossing a bridge over the creek, you will begin to spot wildflowers on the trail’s edge. Keep an eye out for blue iris and blue chicory. White herons soar over the open land on your right, which may have been a buffalo wallow back when this land was all open prairie. Purple spiderwort and white Canadian anemone are other flora you may see, as are yellowish clumps of wild parsnip and the distinctive three leaves of poison ivy—use caution if you step off the path."

Activity Type: Cross-Country Skiing, Hiking
Nearby City: Carlisle
Distance: 6.8
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 to 3.5 hours
Season: Spring through Fall
Local Maps: USGS Hartford; trail map available from contact listed below
Driving Directions: Directions to Summerset Trail

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May 2018