Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail In Iowa

Here is everything you need to know about the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Iowa
  • Length: 2.47 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://www.nps.gov/heho/index.htm

The Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail, located in West Branch, Iowa, holds significant historical importance. The trail is named after Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, who was born and raised in West Branch. The trail was established to commemorate Hoover’s legacy and to showcase the natural beauty of the area.

The history of the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail dates back to the early 20th century when Herbert Hoover’s family settled in West Branch. Hoover’s childhood home, a modest two-room cottage, still stands along the trail and has been preserved as a historic site. This humble dwelling provides visitors with a glimpse into the early life of the future president.

The trail itself was developed in the 1980s as a joint effort between the National Park Service and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. It stretches for approximately 2.5 miles and winds through the picturesque Iowa countryside. Along the trail, visitors can explore the tallgrass prairie, which was once a common sight in the region but has now become increasingly rare. The trail also features interpretive signs that provide historical context and information about the native flora and fauna.

Today, the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail serves as a popular destination for history enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a peaceful outdoor experience. It not only offers a chance to learn about the life and times of Herbert Hoover but also provides an opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of the Iowa landscape. The trail stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of a president and the importance of preserving both history and the environment.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Hoover Nature Trailhead – Located in Ely, Iowa, this trailhead is the starting point for the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail. It offers parking facilities and restrooms.

2. Solon Trailhead – Situated in Solon, Iowa, this access point provides parking facilities and is a popular starting point for hikers and bikers.

3. West Branch Trailhead – Located in West Branch, Iowa, this trailhead offers parking facilities and is a convenient access point for visitors exploring the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail.

4. Oasis Trailhead – Situated in Oasis, Iowa, this access point provides parking facilities and is a popular spot for trail users to start their journey.

5. Tiffin Trailhead – Located in Tiffin, Iowa, this trailhead offers parking facilities and is a convenient access point for visitors looking to explore the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail.

6. Coralville Trailhead – Situated in Coralville, Iowa, this access point provides parking facilities and is a popular starting point for hikers and bikers.

7. Iowa City Trailhead – Located in Iowa City, Iowa, this trailhead offers parking facilities and is a convenient access point for visitors exploring the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail.

8. Hills Access Point – Situated in Hills, Iowa, this access point provides parking facilities and is a popular spot for trail users to start their journey.

9. Riverside Trailhead – Located in Riverside, Iowa, this trailhead offers parking facilities and is a convenient access point for visitors looking to explore the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail.

10. Lone Tree Trailhead – Situated in Lone Tree, Iowa, this access point provides parking facilities and is a popular starting point for hikers and bikers.

Transportation Available

1. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service.
2. Lyft – Ride-hailing service connecting passengers with drivers.
3. Taxi – Traditional taxi service for convenient transportation.
4. Bus – Public transportation service with fixed routes and schedules.
5. Bike Rental – Rent bicycles for exploring the area.
6. Car Rental – Rent a car for personal transportation needs.
7. Shuttle Service – Shared transportation service to specific destinations.
8. Train Station – Access to regional train services for longer-distance travel.
9. Airport – Nearby airport for air travel connections.
10. Walking – Explore the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail on foot.


The Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail offers the following amenities:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas at various access points along the trail for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The trail does not have designated camping sites. However, there may be nearby campgrounds or parks where camping facilities are available.

4. Picnic Areas: There are picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack amidst the scenic surroundings.

5. Benches: The trail is equipped with benches at regular intervals, providing resting spots for visitors to take a break and enjoy the views.

6. Interpretive Signs: There may be interpretive signs along the trail, providing information about the local flora, fauna, and historical significance of the area.

7. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailhead, there may be additional amenities such as information boards, maps, and visitor centers providing more details about the trail and its surroundings.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Prairie Meadows Hotel & Casino – Casino hotel offering lodging and dining options.
2. AmericInn by Wyndham Ankeny – Comfortable hotel with complimentary breakfast and nearby dining options.
3. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Des Moines Ankeny – Modern hotel with free breakfast and close proximity to various restaurants.
4. Hampton Inn & Suites Ankeny – Cozy hotel with complimentary breakfast and easy access to dining options.
5. Courtyard by Marriott Des Moines Ankeny – Contemporary hotel with on-site dining and nearby restaurant choices.
6. Super 8 by Wyndham Ankeny/Des Moines Area – Budget-friendly hotel with complimentary breakfast and various dining options nearby.
7. Ankeny Diner – Casual eatery serving American comfort food.
8. Jethro’s BBQ – Popular BBQ joint offering a variety of smoked meats and classic sides.
9. B-Bop’s – Fast-food chain serving burgers, fries, and shakes.
10. Casey’s General Store – Convenience store with a deli offering quick food options and essentials.
11. UnityPoint Health – Iowa Lutheran Hospital – Nearby emergency medical services.

Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail Difficulty Notes

The Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans approximately 11 miles and features a variety of terrains, including open prairies, woodlands, and wetlands. While the trail is generally well-maintained and easy to follow, there are some sections that may require navigating through uneven terrain or crossing small streams. Additionally, the trail includes a few moderate inclines and descents, providing a moderate level of physical exertion. Overall, the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail offers a rewarding and enjoyable hiking experience for individuals of varying fitness levels.

Features And Attractions

The Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail is a scenic trail located in Iowa, USA. Here are some of the scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other attractions along the trail:

1. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site: This site includes the birthplace cottage and the gravesite of the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. It offers a glimpse into his early life and accomplishments.

2. Hoover Nature Trail: This section of the trail passes through beautiful natural landscapes, including woodlands, prairies, and wetlands. It offers opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.

3. Wapsipinicon State Park: Located near Anamosa, this state park offers stunning views of the Wapsipinicon River, hiking trails, camping facilities, and picnic areas.

4. Cedar Valley Nature Trail: This trail connects with the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail and offers scenic views of the Cedar River, rolling hills, and farmland. It is a popular spot for biking, walking, and running.

5. Coralville Lake: This reservoir offers breathtaking views of the lake surrounded by rolling hills and forests. It provides opportunities for boating, fishing, camping, and hiking.

6. Amana Colonies: Located near the trail, the Amana Colonies are a group of seven historic villages known for their German heritage. Visitors can explore the unique architecture, shops, restaurants, and museums.

7. Tiffin Historical Museum: This small museum showcases the history of Tiffin, Iowa, and the surrounding area. It features exhibits on local industries, agriculture, and the people who shaped the community.

8. Coralville Lake Dam: This impressive structure offers panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding area. It is a great spot for photography and enjoying the natural beauty of the region.

9. F.W. Kent Park: Situated near the trail, this park features a large lake, hiking trails, picnic areas, and a nature center. It is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and wildlife observation.

10. Sugar Bottom Recreation Area: Located on the shores of the Coralville Reservoir, this area offers scenic views, hiking trails, and a beach for swimming and sunbathing.

These are just a few of the many attractions and landmarks along the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail. Exploring the trail will provide visitors with a rich blend of history, nature, and scenic beauty.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles and horses are not allowed on the trail.
4. No motorized vehicles are permitted on the trail.
5. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed.
6. Fires and open flames are prohibited.
7. Hunting or trapping is strictly prohibited.
8. Do not disturb or remove any plants, animals, or natural features.
9. Stay on designated trails and do not create new paths.
10. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during nesting or breeding seasons.
11. Leave no trace – pack out all trash and litter.
12. Fishing is allowed in designated areas only, following state fishing regulations.
13. Swimming or wading in water bodies along the trail is not permitted.
14. Alcohol consumption is prohibited.
15. Observe and respect any additional signage or guidelines posted along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail, located in West Branch, Iowa, offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the area while learning about the life and legacy of President Herbert Hoover. While the trail is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are particularly ideal for a visit.

One of the best times to visit the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail is during the spring season, from April to June. During this time, the prairie comes alive with vibrant wildflowers, creating a picturesque landscape. The weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and occasional rainfall, making it perfect for hiking or biking along the trail. Visitors can also spot various bird species that migrate to the area during this time, adding to the overall experience.

Another great time to visit is in the fall, from September to November. As the summer heat subsides, the prairie transforms into a stunning display of autumn colors. The trail is surrounded by trees that turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating a breathtaking sight. The cooler temperatures make it comfortable for outdoor activities, and visitors can enjoy the peacefulness of the trail as they take in the beauty of the changing seasons.

It’s important to note that the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail does not have any seasonal closures. However, it’s always a good idea to check for any temporary closures or restrictions due to weather conditions or maintenance work. The trail is well-maintained throughout the year, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors. Whether you visit during the spring, fall, or any other time of the year, the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and learn about the history of President Herbert Hoover.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trail: The Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail is wheelchair accessible, allowing individuals with mobility challenges to enjoy the scenic beauty of the trail.
2. Paved Surface: The trail features a smooth, paved surface, ensuring a comfortable and accessible experience for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the trailhead, providing convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
4. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are located along the trail, equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways to accommodate wheelchair users.
5. Benches and Rest Areas: The trail offers benches and rest areas at regular intervals, providing opportunities for individuals with mobility limitations to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Signage and Wayfinding: Clear signage and wayfinding markers are installed along the trail, ensuring easy navigation for individuals with visual impairments or cognitive disabilities.
7. Assistance Animals: Service animals are welcome on the trail, providing support and assistance to individuals with disabilities.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: The trail features accessible picnic areas equipped with tables and seating designed to accommodate wheelchair users.
9. Accessible Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead area includes accessible facilities such as ramps, handrails, and curb cuts, ensuring easy access for individuals with mobility challenges.
10. Trail Accessibility Information: The trail provides comprehensive accessibility information, including maps, brochures, and online resources, to assist individuals in planning their visit and understanding the available accommodations.

Safety Information

When visiting the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths and avoid venturing off into unmarked areas. This will help prevent accidents and protect the fragile ecosystem of the prairie.

2. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear suitable for walking or hiking. Consider wearing long pants and sleeves to protect against ticks, insects, and potential contact with poisonous plants.

3. Carry water and snacks: It is essential to stay hydrated, especially during hot weather. Carry an adequate supply of water and pack some energy-boosting snacks to keep you fueled throughout your visit.

4. Be aware of wildlife: The Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail is home to various wildlife species. Respect their habitat and observe them from a safe distance. Do not approach or feed any animals you encounter.

5. Use insect repellent: Apply insect repellent to protect yourself from ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. Check for ticks after your visit and remove them promptly to reduce the risk of tick-borne illnesses.

6. Be cautious of weather conditions: Check the weather forecast before your visit and be prepared for changing conditions. Bring appropriate gear such as rain jackets or sun hats to protect yourself from extreme weather.

7. Inform someone about your plans: If you are visiting the trail alone, let a friend or family member know about your plans, including your expected return time. This ensures that someone is aware of your whereabouts in case of an emergency.

8. Carry a first aid kit: It is always wise to have a basic first aid kit with you. Include essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary personal medications.

9. Stay alert and aware: Keep an eye out for any potential hazards on the trail, such as uneven terrain, fallen branches, or slippery surfaces. Stay focused and avoid distractions like using your phone excessively.

10. Respect trail rules and regulations: Follow all posted signs and guidelines provided by the trail management. These rules are in place to ensure the safety and preservation of the area for everyone’s enjoyment.

Remember, safety should always be a priority when visiting any natural area. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience on the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail, located in Iowa, is considered to have a favorable conservation status. The trail traverses through a diverse range of habitats, including prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and riverside areas. These habitats support a rich variety of plant and animal species, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the region.

Efforts have been made to protect and conserve the natural resources along the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail. Conservation organizations and local authorities have implemented measures to maintain the integrity of the ecosystems and ensure the sustainability of the trail. These measures include regular monitoring of the trail and its surroundings, as well as the implementation of conservation practices such as erosion control and invasive species management.

The conservation status of the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail is further enhanced by the presence of educational programs and interpretive signage along the trail. These initiatives aim to raise awareness among trail users about the importance of conservation and the need to protect the natural environment. By promoting responsible trail use and encouraging visitors to appreciate and respect the ecosystems they encounter, the conservation status of the Herbert Hoover Prairie Trail is upheld and preserved for future generations to enjoy.

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