If you’re anything like me, beautiful fall days mean one thing: hiking trips.
When I was in Ames, my fall hiking trips normally consisted of a quick ride from Iowa State University over to Ledges State Park. The trails – though a workout – have beautiful views at the top, but nothing like the views I came across this year.
Now that I’m in Council Bluffs and can officially call myself a “westerner,” I ventured to Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek. Hitchcock is a 1,268-acre park nestled deep in the Loess Hills. Admission is a mere two dollars. (So worth it.) At the nature center itself, I learned about the local flora and fauna, some of which is found nowhere else in the world, and I had the chance to read up on the prairies in the area, which are some of the largest remaining in the state. Armed with that information, it was time to see it for myself.
After climbing to the top of the 45-foot-tall observation tower, I was speechless. Not just because I was out of breath from taking the stairs, but because I could see miles and miles of untouched nature. Everyone should experience Iowa’s peaceful and serene green spaces.
I enjoyed the view for a while, then took to the trails. Loess soil, though similar in consistency to sand, was surprisingly easy to hike. I took an easy trail first to get a sense of the area, and then switched to a difficult trail. Though it took a little more energy to hike the difficult trail, the views again, were picture perfect.
If you are looking for some of Iowa’s most beautiful views, the Loess Hills are number one on my list. This won’t be the last time those hills will be seeing me.
To learn more about the Loess Hills or to find other great hiking spots in Iowa, visit TravelIowa.com.