Ada Hayden Heritage Park

You only have to drive a couple of minutes north of North Grand Mall in Ames to reach the 430-acre Ada Hayden Heritage Park, but it feels like a world away.

The park’s central feature is a large lake – actually made up of two lakes – with a walking bridge. Around the lake is a 2.8-mile paved bike trail (or 3.2 miles if you walk the path as a “figure 8.”)

In addition to the paved path, there’s a 1.2-mile “upland” hiking trail with a crushed-rock surface.

Ada Hayden is a great place to walk when the weather is nice. In bad weather, it’s best to stay away. The trail offers very little in the way of shade, so on a very hot, sunny summer day, this can be a miserable trail. Likewise, if it’s cold and windy, the lake just makes it feel colder and windier. But on a nice evening or a fall day, this is a great place to walk or ride your bike.

Boating and fishing are allowed on the lake, but not swimming. The lake’s surface is 125 acres.

Right now Ada Hayden Heritage Park is transitioning from summer to fall, so some of the summer wildflowers and bushes are looking a little tattered, but the fall colors are starting to come out. The sunflowers are brilliant.

I walked the trail today with my daughter’s dog, Charley. She isn’t used to long walks, and she has very short legs, so at about the two-thirds point around the lake, she headed for a grassy area to lie down. I carried her for awhile and then decided to take a shortcut back to the car. She was a pooped-out pup.


1 comment so far

  1. Kevin Kane on

    Really like your photo. I reblogged it at


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