Ten acres doesn’t sound like much, but what Zo-El Annett Woods lacks in size, it makes up for with adventure! The great thing is, it’s just 15 miles south of Des Moines (between Norwalk and Martensdale).
A Brief History of Zo-El Annett Woods
The history of the woods is the explanation for its name! In the early 1980s, Ellis Annett donated 10 acres of land to Warren County Conservation. He gifted the woods in memory of his wife, Zona, and his mother.
Things to Do at Zo-El Annett Woods
Hike the trail.
Hiking is the thing to do here! There’s a pretty trail through the woods, with a bit of an adventure in the middle. And if you’re there at the right time, you’ll see wildflowers.
The short .36-mile trail gradually climbs up a slope through the dense forest. At the top, you come to a long cable suspension bridge. And after you cross the bridge, the trail takes you back down. Finally, you’ll cross a couple of footbridges.
Have a picnic.
After your hike, have a picnic in the beautiful countryside! A picnic area with tables and a grill are near the parking area. Benches also surround a fire pit, so take supplies for smores too!
Here’s a Google map of Zo-El Annett Woods.
Things to Do Nearby
The Great Western Trail is to the west, extending from Martensdale north to Des Moines. It’s a popular area trail, crossing remnants of prairie and wetland, and woodlands and farmland.
Banner Lakes at Summerset Park is a great place to visit, about 10 miles northeast of there. It’s a former coal mine turned recreation area with over 5 miles of dirt trails, plus fishing, paddling, and more. And while you’re there, hop on the Summerset Trail—it extends south to Indianola or north to Carlisle.
Visit Zo-El Annett Woods Today!
The address is 5689 Hempstead Pl, Prole, IA 50229. (It’s off of several miles of gravel roads.) There are no restrooms or water on site.