“A sizeable loop through the forested archery range.”
— Kenny Slocum
Birding · Fall Colors
While rarely used, please go in the proper direction on the archery range, unless you are certain no one else is using it! The direction allows for practicing archers to see people approaching before they end up in the danger zone.
This trail can be accessed via the "farm road," north of the Osborne Pond area. The farm road ends at the trailhead for the archery range.
At the start, the trail continues at the width of an old roadbed, though the tread is grass. Observing the proper direction (to avoid possible archers), take the first left towards the sign for "targets 1-15."
This loop travels fairly steeply downhill past a variety of archery practice stations. While a little non-traditional for running, it is certainly a beautiful piece of forest and the stations themselves add an interesting character to the experience.
After roughly 0.2 miles, the trail turns west (right) and begins a gentle climb. Upon topping out, the route follows roughly the contour of the land in a northerly direction before turning back east (right) again. A short but steep climb brings runners nearly to the trail they came in on before making a hairpin turn back down the hill and toward Archery Range Trail West
. A small segment through a prairie connects to two ranges, but to finish this loop continue turning right and staying in the forest.
The trail ends following a firebreak separating the forest from the prairie, with a steady climb bringing runners back to the trailhead.
Numerous opportunities exist in the form of small connecting segments to allow runners to zig zag around this underappreciated piece of property. Spectacular views - by any standards, not just Iowa - exist alongside beautiful prairie habitat, some of the most exemplary in the area.
Flora & Fauna
Bluebirds abound as the farm road has several bluebird houses maintained by the county conservation board. The forest is prime for mushroom enthusiasts, with an exceptional diversity of trees harboring an even more exceptional diversity of fungi.