Jasper County: Ashton Wildwood Park


Ashton Wildwood Park in Jasper County has a nature trail, campground, playground and observatory.  We hiked the 1/2 mile nature trail, which has numbered sign posts that correspond to a trail guide.  

About 3/4 of the way around the nature trail loop, you'll see a sign for the campground.  We hiked the connector trail to the campground and our total mileage for the hike was 1.4 miles.

The campground has a playground and restroom (open year-round).  There's also a geocache hidden among the campsites, which was fun to find.  We added vinyl stickers, which we like because they're cute, cheap and lightweight.  It's easy to always have some along in my hiking backpack.

After exploring the campground, we headed back toward the nature trail loop.  The campground connector trail is narrow, but the nature trail has wide, dirt paths.

At the start/end of the nature trail is a shelter with picnic tables.  The parking lot is nearby and there's a restroom that's open year-round.

The telescopes at the Ashton Observatory are run by the Des Moines Astronomical Society.  They typically offer free programs on Saturday evenings from April through October starting at 8:00 pm, however their website notes "In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all 2022 events at Ashton Observatory are currently suspended, including Saturday Public Nights and private group events."