Scenic Views

Hitchcock Nature

Bob Kerry Bridge

Folsom Point

Check Out The View!

The Loess Hills are known for their breathtaking views – both from the ridgetops and from the base looking up at the bluffs.  If you’re looking to capture some of those iconic scenes but don’t have the time to explore the entire region, you’re in luck!  This “Top 10” list will guide you to some of the best views in Harrison, Mills and Pottawattamie Counties.  They are ordered from North to South! 

1. Murray Hill Overlook

Murray Hill:  Owned by the Harrison County Conservation Board, Murray Hill Scenic Overlook offers a hilltop view of the Missouri River Valley.  Yucca plants and other native flowers dominate the prairie landscape.  Don’t let the great view from the parking lot fool you – even more awaits if you hike up the hill.  Interpretive signs that explain the significance and history of the Loess Hills are located at the top of the overlook.  Murray Hill is the northern end of the recently designated Brent’s Trail, an 8 mile ridgetop hiking trail that connects Gleason-Hubel Wildlife Management Area with Harrison County Conservation Board’s Murray Hill via the Loess Hills State Forest.  It is located about 2 miles northeast of Little Sioux on F20, or 5 miles west of Pisgah on the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway Excursion Loop Fountainbleu Loop.  

2. Loess Hills Forest

Loess Hills State Forest (Little Sioux Unit):  The section around mile 4 of Brent’s Trail provides a great view of the Loess Hills State Forest, from both the top and bottom of the hills.  The entire forest is open to hunting, so please be aware of season openings and wear blaze orange clothing or avoid hiking in season. 

3. Harrison County Welcome Center

Harrison County Welcome Center overlookThe overlook at the top parking lot at the Harrison County Welcome Center provides a great view of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway, Loess Hills National Scenic Byway and Western Skies Scenic Byway, with a photo op featuring the iconic Lincoln Highway fence.  The Welcome Center not only has great information about the area and a gift shop, but also has an outdoor transportation play area, but the Harrison County Historical Village museum complex has an original log cabin, a general store and a school.

4. Hitchcock Nature Center

Hitchcock Nature Center  is a 1,268 acre nature center located just 5 miles north of Crescent.  The 45’ observation tower gives visitors a 360-degree view of the Loess Hills and is home to the Hitchcock HawkWatch, one of the top 25 Hawk Watch stations in North America.  The park also features a ½ mile elevated handicapped-accessible boardwalk.

5. L34 West of Underwood

L34 West of Underwood:  Driving on L34 will seem like you’re on top of the world…take the curves slow and enjoy the view.  There aren’t many places to pull over, so if you’re looking for a good spot to pull over and take a picture you may want to utilize the intersection of L34 and the Underwood road.

6. Bob Kerry Bridge

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge:  This stunning 3,000 foot lighted bridge is one of only a few foot bridges to connect two states.  The bridge, which opened in 2008, spans the Missouri River, connecting the Omaha Riverfront to the Council Bluffs River’s Edge Park.  A favorite photo op is to straddle the state line in the middle of the bridge, standing with one foot in Iowa and one in Nebraska.

7. Lewis & Clark Overlook

Lewis and Clark Monument and Scenic Overlook:  This site was dedicated in 1936 to honor the 1803 expedition of Lewis & Clark and their historic meeting with the Otoe and Missouria Indians.  The overlook features an expansive westward view, overlooking Council Bluffs, the Missouri River, and the Omaha skyline.

8. Green Hill Ranch

Green Hill Ranch  is a recent joint project by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.  This 506 acre property runs along nearly two miles of the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway and is located in both Mills and Pottawattamie Counties.  It contains oak savanna, remnant prairie, and grassland.  The property is also adjacent to The Nature Conservancy’s Folsom Point Preserve.

9. Pony Creek Park

Pony Creek Park: There are many hiking trails within the park with great scenery, but for a stunning place to relax and take it all in, stop at one of the scenic overlooks.  There is a scenic overlook platform on one of the hiking paths, as well as a large deck with tables on the west side of the new nature center.  In the autumn, a beautiful image is painted upon the canvas of treetops across the lake from the park. 

10. Mile Hill Lake

Mile Hill Lake:  This 39 acre park on the south side of Highway 34 west of Glenwood features a hardwood forest which is open to public hunting, 2 acres of restored prairie, and a 10 acre fishing lake with a boat dock and ramp.  There are various hiking trails within the park, including the most recent addition that leads through a marsh area, with a newly installed footbridge.  There is an interpretive panel discussing the prehistoric culture that lived in this region, and a handicapped accessible scenic overlook, which features another interpretive panel discussing the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway.

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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