With warmer weather (hopefully) here to stay and spring break is right around the corner for many. Ottumwa and Wapello County have many opportunities for everyone to get outdoors and enjoy some fun and relaxation.
The Pioneer Ridge Cabins are great place to get away for a few days and unplug from the busyness of life. With four cabins ranging from modern to rustic, guests can choose the experience they are looking for without being too far from the comforts of a city. Pioneer Ridge Nature Area holds opportunities for picnicking, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, disc golf, photography, interpretive displays, and environmental education programming. There is something for everyone at Pioneer Ridge Nature Area.
Eddyville Sand Dunes Prairie is a unique place and represents one of the most comprehensive prairie communities in the state. The windblown sand, wetlands, and woodlands are home to some of the rarest plants and animals in Iowa. The site includes a picnic shelter and tables, 1.4 mile rock hiking/interpretive trail, and ample opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography. The Eddyville Sand Dunes Prairie is a great place to explore with a camera and binoculars.
Garrison Rock Resource Management Unit The Garrison Rock Resource Management Unit has absolutely beautiful views overlooking the Des Moines River Valley. Not only is the rolling terrain great for wildlife viewing, hiking, photography, and picnicking, the Unit is also full of rich history. This area was once a Native American gathering site and one of the first places settled by Europeans in Wapello County. There is also a Pioneer Cemetery that stands on a bluff top overlooking the river.
Ottumwa is home to 19 city parks and 533 acres of green space. That equals 2.7 acres of park space per 100 residents. Ottumwa offers a Bark Park for dog owners; Ottumwa Park which is the largest park at 349 acres and offers camping, ponds, playgrounds, sand volleyball, fishing, tennis courts, bike paths and much more; Memorial Park has a disc golf course, a 4-mile mountain bike tail, and picnicking areas; and a Skate Park with mini ramps, rails, and quarter pipes for those who are adventurous on skates, trick bikes, or inline skates. Although this list is full of great ideas, it only touches the surface on the amazing outdoor recreation that Ottumwa and Wapello County has to offer. Visit Wapello County Conservation or Ottumwa City Parks for even more great opportunities. Get out and enjoy all of the beauty and outdoor recreation that Iowa has to offer this spring!
Photo provided by Billy Young