Hickory Hill Park is a large natural area in northeast Iowa City consisting of forest, abandoned fields, reconstructed prairie, and wetlands centered on Ralston Creek. The park is a refuge for wildlife.

The city council recently voted to approve Nelson Construction’s plan to build 41 single-family homes and a senior living facility on 34 acres in the northeast part of town near Hickory Hill Park. Read on to find out more.

Hiking Trails

Hickory Hill Park is one of the biggest stretches of wild nature that Iowa City has access to. A series of trails take you past small ponds packed with wildlife and open fields lined with long rows of pines.

Unlike other local parks, there is a distinct sense of wilderness in the wooded areas of this park. However, the trails here have a lot of traffic with hikers, runners, dog walkers, and in winter people on sleds.

The bluffs along the Cedar River have stunning views and are great places to see a variety of waterfowl. The 39-acre Casey Lake is also a popular fishing spot in northeast Iowa.

Basketball Courts

The parks at Hickory Hill offer a variety of sports activities. Guests can play basketball, volleyball, or a game of disc golf. The park is also home to several walking trails and picnic areas.

The Friends of Hickory Hill Park nonprofit describes the park as a place that provides solitude, contemplation, and sanctuary. The group supports the city’s effort to preserve and maintain its natural areas.

While the area’s topography is unique, Hickory Hill Park’s expansion opportunities are limited. The Oakland Cemetery to the west and surrounding development limit potential park expansions, and gully erosion along some of the sloping trails threatens its wild character.

Disc Golf Course

This challenging course offers elevation, narrow and open fairways, mature trees, and challenging water hazards. The course starts in the woods just west of the large parking area (behind practice baskets to the left). Parking lot access is closed from 11 pm – 7 am; anyone in the park during this time is considered trespassing.

Disc golf courses are great for families and people of all skill levels. The grass is pretty rough so wear sturdy shoes.

Hickory Hill Park also features hiking trails, mountain biking, and horseback riding in the Casey’s Paha State Preserve section of the park. The park is a hunting spot during different seasons. This article is worth reading.

Picnicking Areas

There are a few picnic areas scattered throughout the park where you can relax and enjoy nature. The trails are great for jogging and hiking and you’ll see plenty of beautiful wildflowers and trees!

This park contains a diversity of natural features – wooded ravines, sloping pastures, and reconstructed prairies centered on Ralston Creek. In addition, the area includes a large herd of urban deer that provide significant wildlife benefits. Development around the park, including a new cemetery and the old Goosetown neighborhood to the west, threatens to spoil some of the abutting natural areas.


The park has restrooms available in the day-use area and campground from April 15th through November 1st.

This is a unique and scenic park on the east side of Iowa City that provides hiking, biking, jogging, and walking trails with prairie, wildflowers, many beautiful trees, and natural creeks. The Park Ranger is in residence year-round.

The park offers several types of camping including tent sites, primitive sites, and RV hookups. No alcoholic beverages are allowed on park property and all fires must be extinguished before leaving the campsite.


Hickory Hill Park is a secluded, beautiful spot for walking, hiking, or running. It has many trails through forests, prairie, and natural creeks.

The park’s main feature is Casey Lake, which is one of Northeast Iowa’s premier largemouth bass hot spots. The park is also a prime location for wildlife viewing.

The 185-acre park is home to a variety of recreational opportunities including camping, picnicking, basketball, disc golf, hiking, fishing, sand volleyball, and cross-country skiing.

Dog Park

Enjoy a variety of scenic surroundings on your dog walk, jog, or hike at this Iowa City park. With prairie, wetlands, and wooded trails, there’s something to see at every turn. Just remember that your pet must be leashed.

The park is a natural refuge for urban deer and has a dense network of trails—some officially developed and others created by repeated trampling. This has caused erosion along gullies, especially in the summer.

The Friends of Hickory Hill Park is a volunteer group that’s “dedicated to preserving the unique qualities of Hickory Hill Park as an urban natural area.” Their goals include promoting low-impact recreation, improving water quality, and educating residents about the park. Check Out This Info.



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