Killen Woods State Park
50200 860th St
Lakefield, MN 56150
About Killen Woods State Park
Explore the savannah oaks in Killen Woods State Park in Des Moines, Iowa, for a pleasant surprise. In winter, you can whizz down long steep hills and enjoy a quiet, relaxing time hiking the cool forest paths that wind along the tranquil Moines River. In summer, you will experience pleasant surprises when you explore the oak savannahs, oak forests and other natural features of the park.
Kilen Woods State Park is a state park in Des Moines, Iowa, north of Des Moines, IA. Oaks grow on the steep slopes of the river valley, and scattered bushes and oaks, oak forests and other natural features are to be found throughout the park.
The late summer lowlands are dominated by grey - heady - coneflower, and the late spring and early summer highlands by blueberry bushes. Look out for the glowing star - purple cone flowers in Kilen Woods State Park in the summer months.
More than 15,000 years ago, what is now southern Minnesota and Iowa was covered by a thick layer of ice known as Des Moines Lobe. As the ice receded, rolling hills remained and many small lakes and wetlands were drained for agricultural purposes.
The Des Moines River starts at Lake Shetek in Murray County and flows southeast through Minnesota and Iowa to the Mississippi. In Kilen Woods State Park, the river cuts through a so-called glacier current and flows through the park.
The park is filled with deer, squirrels and woodpeckers, and herons roamed the shallow reefs silently. Ingenious anglers caught walrus, northern light catfish and oxhead in river ponds with numerous hooks. The Des Moines River provides a habitat for beavers and muskrats, waterfowl, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
In late summer, swallowtail butterflies were on the move, and in late spring and early summer and early autumn, the Red Admiral butterflies can be seen, as can the Red-nosed Butterfly.
The Dakota are the last known indigenous peoples in the area and have lived here for over 6,000 years. These nomads lived and hunted here for thousands of years, hunting, fishing and fishing. It is believed that drawings and symbols were etched on the walls of their houses and on some trees and shrubs.
They hunted bison, elk and waterfowl while collecting roots and herbs that grew wild in the prairie. In 1830 Joseph Nicollet led an expedition to the Des Moines River Valley and they provided the first evidence of the Dakota's presence in the Great Plains in Iowa and North Dakota.
Nicollet noted that the area slowly rose several hundred feet above the surrounding open plain. Kilen Woods is located in a region called Coteau des Prairies, part of the Great Plains region of North Dakota and Iowa. The Cotesau - des - Prairie Prairie Highlands offer an area surrounded by prairies, rivers and lakes with a variety of bird species, animals, plants and wildlife.
The Treaty of Traverse - de - Sioux of 1851 opened the hilly prairie country to the first pioneer settlers and the introduction of railroads accelerated the development of the Coteau - des - Prairie Prairie Highlands in the Great Plains region of North Dakota and Iowa.
The settlers turned the prairies and islands into farm communities and some of them, the Dakota Indians, were involved in a conflict between the USA and Dakota in 1862.
Snowstorms, droughts, and locust storms plagued the early settlers in the river valleys for years, and over the years they were overrun by wolves, coyotes, bears, and other wildlife.
Then drive two miles east on County Road 24 into the park and then the three - and - half a mile east to County Rd. 24 and drive through the woods to Killen Woods State Park.