Ottumwa’s history, architecture, and culture are tied directly to the city’s location on the Des Moines River. Today, Ottumwans enjoy the river via the Ottumwa Trail System, 19 miles of hiking trails that follow the river through the city limits.
The trail system offers a diverse hike every day of the week. Tired of 9-5? Let’s take a working week worth of hikes on the trail system.
Monday: Hike south on Ottumwa’s north shore to Gray Eagle Wildlife Preserve. During spring and fall migrations, a high concentration and diversity of waterfowl, shorebirds, and migratory songbirds can be found here.
Tuesday: Take a bridge walk. Start downtown and walk south over the footbridge, a great place to see Bald Eagles in the winter. Walk past the Bridge View Center and return on the Market Street Bridge for spectacular vistas of Ottumwa’s historic buildings.
Wednesday: Hike South on Ottumwa’s south shore. There are several quiet places on the river bank to enjoy a picnic or throw a line in the water.
Thursday: Hike north on Ottumwa’s north shore past the dam to a historic railroad bridge. A haven for Red Wing Blackbirds.
Friday: Hike North along Ottumwa’s south shore and wander through the city’s extensive park system, ending up in a quiet river estuary…a great place to see Ottumwa’s White pelicans in late spring.
Image credit: Greater Ottumwa Convention & Visitors Bureau