Hickory Hill Park is located on the east side of Iowa City. We parked in the free lot on the corner of East Bloomington Street and East Davenport Street. Hiking, trail running, and dog walking (free waste bags provided) are the primary activities. Snow sledding is a popular winter activity. The was a porty-o-potty but water was not available. My cell phone service was strong in the park. The GPS tracks shown in the map below illustrate our summer hike through the northwest corner and our winter walk to the snow sledding hill.
We hiked a 1.6 mile clockwise loop through the northwestern half of the park and traversed a range in elevation of a 100 feet.
From the parking lot, we walked north on a wide gravel path.
At the first intersection, we stayed to the left and headed towards the Hickory lowland. On our next visit, we plan to turn right to do the eastern loop.
There are narrower side trails but we stayed on the wider main one. It was heavily shaded, peaceful, and felt very secluded, especially considering how close it is to downtown. Although it was hilly, our children ages six and three had fun.
When we reached the bridge seen in the next picture, we walked to the left and didn’t cross it. We crossed it when we completed the loop.
After the trail turned northward, we exited the forest and walked up to and through a picnic shelter, which had restrooms and water fountains. We stopped here and had a snack. This area is also known as the north entrance.
From the shelter, we walked east and then south. There was short segment where we relished an unobstructed view to the east.
It was a little confusing to figure out where to go next but we completed the northwest loop by carefully studying the paper map. The only segment of narrow trail was the last stretch before we reached the aforementioned bridge.
In sum, we enjoyed a peaceful hike on wide and well maintained trails that are only minutes from downtown Iowa City. Ryerson’s Woods Park and Macbride Nature Recreation Area have trails of similar length and difficulty. In the winter, we have visited to snow sled on the large hill in the center of the park.