Take a Hike
into Our Great Outdoors

Take a
into the Outdoors

Get Back to Nature...

Iowa has many things to offer, and some the largest opportunities lie in the bounttiful outdoors!

With treasured state lands, wildlife refuges, state parks, fishing holes, and trails for everyone. Check out the many offerings in the sections below, with links to more in-depth information regarding our great land.

Loess Hills, Iowa

Hitchcock Badger Ridge Trail

Parks

The Loess Hills Missouri River Region was initially formed to celebrate Iowa’s state parks. In addition to Lake Manawa State Park and Wilson Island Recreation Area, our region is fortunate to have numerous state wildlife management areas and the Loess Hills State Forest, offering large tracts of public land in a state with relatively little public land. We even have a national wildlife refuge (Desoto NWR)! Additionally, the three county conservation board systems each offer unique parks and wildlife areas for many different outdoor enthusiasts. Parks include activities like hiking, hunting, fishing, birding, wildlife watching, mountain biking, camping, and more!

Trails

The three-county area has many miles of multi-use recreational trails. Council Bluffs, the largest city in the region, has many miles of paved trails. These trails connect across the river into Omaha’s trail system at the Bob Kerrey Bridge. The Wabash Trace Nature Trail is a crushed limestone trail connecting the city to rural nature opportunities through Pottawattamie and Mills County. Trail planning in all three counties is underway to create a premier trails system within and beyond the region.

Murray Hill

West Nish

Lakes & Rivers

Iowa is the land between two rivers. From the Mighty Missouri to the Mighty Mississippi, we also have countless rivers and creeks. We even have a few lakes and ponds, most of which offer fishing and paddling opportunities. Some public recreation areas and private businesses offer canoe and kayak rentals.  The West Nishnabotna Water Trail in Pottawattamie County starts in Avoca, and river access points are located further downstream into Mills County.

Hunting & Fishing

All of the streams and most of the lakes and ponds in the region have great fishing. Many of the parks and wildlife areas offer hunting opportunities for all kinds of wild game, including whitetail deer, waterfowl, turkeys, and pheasants. Be sure to check before going out, though, as not all parks allow hunting. Even some private lands are open to hunting through the Iowa Habitat & Access Program. For a list of all public hunting options, visit https://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Places-to-Hunt-Shoot.  Be sure to follow all DNR season and safety regulations and purchase your hunting or fishing license before heading out.

Willow Lake Pier

Willow Lake Recreation Area

Cabins & Camping

Camping means different things to different people, and the Loess Hills Missouri River Region has all kinds! Whether you’re looking for a cabin, full-hookup RV spot, or primitive backcountry sites, we’ve got you covered. Various state and county parks and wildlife areas, city parks and businesses offer varying levels of amenities.

FOLLOW US!

WanderLoess is coordinated by ​Golden Hills RC&D, a grassroots nonprofit based in Oakland, Iowa, as part of the Loess Hills Missouri River Region Parks to People plan. Funding for coordination is provided by Harrison, Pottawattamie, and Mills counties and Iowa West Foundation. With the help of our many partners making this destination dream a reality.

Our Partners

 
 

WanderLoess is coordinated by ​Golden Hills RC&D, a grassroots nonprofit based in Oakland, Iowa, as part of the Loess Hills Missouri River Region Parks to People plan. Funding for coordination is provided by Harrison, Pottawattamie, and Mills counties and Iowa West Foundation. With the help of our many partners making this destination dream a reality.

Our Partners

 
 

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