The Brown's Hollow Trail is part of the backpacking loop at Yellow River State Forest, and traverses a significant portion without any long stretches shared with vehicles OR horses.
From east to west, the trail can be accessed from Donahue Road
, Firetower Road, or the Forester's Trail
Starting from Donahue Road
, the trail is a wide grass path meandering along Paint Creek. The babbling stream and cool forest are sublime. As one of the more utilized trails, Brown's Hollow has a very nice tread.
At 0.5 miles, users encounter the Brown's Hollow camp, a large walk-in only camping site. 0.5 miles past that, the trail joins Firetower Road, a steep class B road running north/south that bisects the Paint Creek unit. After a short jaunt along the road, the trail veers off to the left, becoming singletrack and climbing more steeply into the forest.
0.6 miles from Firetower Road, the trail turns abruptly to the right - straight ahead just 0.1 miles takes users to Camp John Schultz, but the signage isn't always present to make the junction obvious.
From that junction, the trail descends, gradually becoming more steep until it comes to a T-intersection with the Forester's Trail
. Turn tight to descend to the area headquarters (and water, and bathrooms) or turn left to add the far end of the Forester's Trail
to the route.
Stop by the stream to spot trout at one of the best trout fishing spots in Iowa. Jump into said stream to scare the trout, and cool off on a hot day.