Trail Running Near Ames, IA
There are not many resources for trail running near Ames, so I created a list of my favorite trails and routes. When possible, I will include the driving time (from my house) for reference.
Very big combined map
Skunk River Greenbelt
  • Anderson Park Segment, 2.6 miles one-way.
    • Light hills in the middle and northern parts. A bit of prairie and dirt road.
    • I recommend starting at the south end, simply because the southern-most half mile is the most boring part of the trail.
  • Petersen Park Segment, 6+ miles loop/out-and-back.
    • West side has a lake and lots of parking. Very flat and walkable. Some parts are heavy forest, others are grass.
    • East side is denser, some hills, but also some 4x4 trails. Occasional access to backyards of development.
In-Town Parks
  • Inis Grove Park, 2.5+ miles
    • Mixed trails, woodchips, and asphalt.
    • Steep stairway and asphalt trail connects with Carr Park.
    • The most technical, least maintained trails I've seen.
  • ISU/YMCA Trails, 4+ miles
    • Very close to campus, there are two entrances: one accessible from the ISU Applied Science Center and another from the golf course.
    • Some wide open trails, but mostly is one 3-mile loop called "Peggy's Loop". Hilly!
  • Smith and Brookside Park Path
    • Asphalt path stretching from South 4th Street to University Village or Ames High.
    • Also an East entrance.
    • Some is pretty close to University Avenue, but other parts are in the woods.
  • Brookside Park Trails, <1 mile
    • A woodchip-laden almost-loop nestled in the forest north of Brookside Park.
    • Accessible from the asphalt path or from the baseball field parking lot.
    • Features posts designating certain natural features.
  • Medium Drives
    1. Ledges State Park
    2. Brushy Creek State Recreation Area 29+ miles of trail, 50min drive.
    3. Dolliver State Park
    Long Drives
    1. Waubonsie State Park

    Completionist Challenge
    To motivate my running, I am undertaking the following challenge: RUN ALL THE TRAILS!

    Here are some maps of my progress:
    Ames City TrailsSkunk River Greenbelt
    Ames and Skunk River