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Natural Areas

  • Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge, located in Kossuth County, Iowa, was established in 1938 to provide a refuge and breeding ground for waterfowl and other migratory birds...
  • Union Grove State Park is a fine place for a family cookout. A number of shaded picnic areas are present, all within sight of the lake. An open picnic shelter is available at the west boat ramp and ma...
  • Turin Loess Hills State Preserve is a 220-acre area featuring a rugged Loess Hills landscape with an abrupt west-facing ridge. It is located in the southern unit of the 3,000-acre Loess Hills Wildlife...
  • Gitchie Manitou is a 91-acre preserve best known for a natural outcropping of Sioux Quartzite. It is located in the extreme northwest corner of Iowa in Lyon County, just southeast of the suburbs of Si...
  • Sylvan Runkel State Preserve is a 330-acre preserve containing an outstanding example of Iowa’s Loess Hills landscape, with extensive native prairie covering steep hills. The tracts comprising the p...
  • Fallen Rock State Preserve is a 122-acre area of scenic forested bluffland with sandstone cliffs. It is located three miles north of Eldora, just south of the town of Steamboat Rock, and immediately w...
  • Strasser Woods State Preserve contains a 40-acre tract of forest within the city limits of Des Moines. Joseph and Elizabeth Strasser, who had owned the property since 1965, donated the woodland to the...
  • T. H. Steele Prairie is a 200-acre native tallgrass prairie, consisting of a 160-acre tract and a separate 40-acre tract. It is located 10.5 miles north of Cherokee in northern Cherokee County...
  • The Central State Park Bike Route is a 91 mile route which connects Springbrook State Park, Ledges State Park , and Big Creek State Park . It is relatively flat, with a few 'challenging' hills as you ...
  • The Central State Park Bike Route is a 91 mile route which connects Springbrook State Park, Ledges State Park , and Big Creek State Park . It is relatively flat, with a few 'challenging' hills as you ...
  • Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge is a United States National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Iowa, southwestern Wisconsin and northwestern Illinois. It is a non-contiguous collection of parcels...
  • Doolittle Prairie is a 26-acre remnant of native tallgrass prairie. This state preserve is located two miles south of Story City, in Story County. It is named after the Doolittle family, particularly ...
  • Derald W. Dinesen Prairie is a 20-acre remnant of native tallgrass prairie. It is located six miles northeast of Harlan in northeastern Shelby County. Derald Dinesen purchased the area in 1943, realiz...
  • DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, created in 1958, is located along the banks of the Missouri River in the U.S. states of Iowa and Nebraska. The 8,362-acre (33.83 km2) refuge (46% in Iowa, 54% in Nebra...
  • Silver Lake Fen is a 10-acre preserve containing a series of unusual spring-fed, boggy, hillside wetlands known as “fens.” It is located on the southwestern shore of Silver Lake in Dickinson Count...
  • Sheeder Prairie is a 25-acre tallgrass prairie. It is located five miles west of Guthrie Center in Guthrie County. The property was purchased in 1961 by the Iowa Conservation Commission from Oscar and...
  • The Saylorville Lake Project is 26,000 acres, which stretches for over 50 miles up the Des Moines River Valley. A wide variety of recreational activities are available including fishing, picnic areas ...
  • David Savage Memorial Woods is a 12-acre preserve featuring a small upland forest. It is located ten miles southwest of Mount Pleasant in western Henry County....
  • Rock Creek Island is a 30-acre wooded island in the Cedar River in Cedar County. It is located 0.5 mile upstream from the town of Rochester and has been owned by the state of Iowa since Iowa became a ...
  • Rock Creek is a popular picnic spot and the open picnic shelter may be reserved online through the park reservation system. A playground is located within the campground. A beautiful open shelter sits...
  • Roberts Creek State Preserve is a 13.5-acre area featuring a steep, wooded, north-facing slope with a large population of northern wild monkshood, a federally threatened plant species found mainly on ...
  • Cold Water Spring is the natural exit of an underground stream flowing through Cold Water Cave, the largest and most elaborate cavern system known in Iowa. It is located in northern Winneshiek County,...
  • Cold Water Spring is the natural exit of an underground stream flowing through Cold Water Cave, the largest and most elaborate cavern system known in Iowa....
  • Rice Lake is a 1200 acre lake that provides many activities for the outdoor enthusiast. Any size motor is allowed and boaters like to water ski, jet ski, and fish. The species of fish in Rice Lake inc...
  • Clear Lake State Park contains more than 10 acres of picnic grounds with tables and grills. The shady picnic areas provide a great place for a family cookout. An open picnic shelter, constructed throu...
  • Clay Prairie is a 3-acre preserve containing a small, unplowed portion of the historic Butler Center Cemetery. It is located fifteen miles north of Parkersburg in central Butler County....
  • 2,130 acres, 2/3 Shallow Lake-Marsh, 1/3 Upland,Timber 2 miles N of Superior on N16....
  • Red Haw State Park has an additional 229 acres south of the existing park designated for public hunting. This area offers upland opportunities and can be accessed by a county road south of the park....
  • Cheever Lake is a 367-acre preserve featuring a large, shallow glacial lake with abundant aquatic vegetation. It is located two miles southwest of Estherville in Emmet County....
  • 598 acres, Lake, Timber, Grassland, Marsh 1 mile W of Spirit Lake on Hwy 9, 0.5 mile W on 155th St, 0.5 mile S on 220th Ave....
  • 1,555 acres,1/4 Timber, 3/4 Grassland, Scattered wetlands 6 miles W of Muscatine on Hwy 22....
  • Cayler Prairie is a 160-acre native prairie on the western edge of the Des Moines Lobe landform region. It is located three miles west of West Okoboji Lake in Dickinson County....
  • Cayler Prairie is a 160-acre native prairie on the western edge of the Des Moines Lobe landform region. It is located three miles west of West Okoboji Lake in Dickinson County....
  • Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Mississippi River at the border of Illinois and Iowa. The refuge is east of Wapello, in Louisa County, Iowa and in Mercer County, Illinois....
  • 1,171 acres, 1/2 Timber, 1/4 Upland, 1/4 Marsh, Turkey River 1 mile NW of Ridgeway on Hwy 9, 3.5 miles W on Madison. ...
  • 495 acres, Timber, Canoe Creek & Upper Iowa River, 8 miles NE of Freeport on River Rd, 2 miles ESE on Ferris Mills Rd....
  • Cameron Woods is a 36-acre preserve containing an upland woods. It is located 1 mile west of Maysville and 8.5 miles northwest of Davenport in central Scott County. The area was purchased in 1977 by t...
  • 466 acres,1/4 Marsh, 3/4 Willow,Cottonwood Access only by Missouri River...
  • 40 acres, Timber 2 miles E of Vinton, across Cedar River from Hoefle-Dulin Park...
  • Pilot Knob State Park is one of the oldest units in the state park system. It was dedicated in 1923. Standing atop the tower on 'Pilot Knob', the second highest point in Iowa, visitors have a spectacu...
  • 47 acres, Lake 7 miles n of Armstrong on Hwy 15, 2 miles E on A16...
  • Pilot Knob State Park is one of the oldest units in the state park system. It was dedicated in 1923. Standing atop the tower on 'Pilot Knob', the second highest point in Iowa, visitors have a spectacu...
  • 777 acres, 1/4 Marsh, 1/2 Upland, 1/4 Timber,3 miles E of Wallingford on A34, 2 miles S on 430th Ave...
  • 857 acres, 2/5 Timber, 1/2 Grassland, River, Wetland,2.5 miles S of Ryan on Hwy 13, 4 miles W on 325th St...
  • 145 acres, 1/3 Wetland, 2/3 Grassland,2 miles S of Meservey on Hwy 107...
  • Frank Chapman Pellett Memorial Woods is a 20-acre preserve located 3.5 miles northeast of Atlantic in Cass County...
  • A relatively new recreational area, Brushy Creek did not have an easy beginning. In 1967, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources published a controversial proposal to flood Brushy Creek's forested c...
  • Pecan Grove State Preserve is a 23-acre remnant of bottomland forest noted for a grove of pecan trees, an uncommon species in Iowa. It is located five miles west of Muscatine in Muscatine County....
  • Brush Creek Canyon is a 217-acre preserve containing a rugged forested gorge along the Silurian Escarpment. Located two miles north of Arlington in Fayette County, it was dedicated as a biological and...
  • 1,158 acres,1/4 Timber, 1/2 Upland, 1/4 Marsh,2.25 miles W of I-29 Salix exit on Port Neal Rd...
  • Palisades-Dows State Preserve is a 330-acre, rugged forested area with cliffs (“palisades”) bordering the Cedar River. It is located across the Cedar River from Palisades-Kepler State Park in Linn...
  • 307 acres,Timber.3 miles N of Hopkinton on 270th Ave...
  • 125 acres, 3/4 Timber, 1/4 Upland,2 miles E of Gilmore City on Hwy 3, 3 miles N on Delaware, 0.5 mile W on C29 ...
  • 77 acres,Timber,Public access by Missouri River only...
  • 4,332 acres, 3/4 Timber, 1/4 Upland, River access 3 miles E of Lehigh on D46...
  • 79 acres,2 miles W of Story City on E15, 1 mile N on gravel rd, 0.5 mile W on 400th St...
  • Bluffton Fir Stand is a 94-acre preserve featuring a sheer limestone bluff up to 140 feet high that contains one of the largest populations of balsam fir in Iowa...
  • Old State Quarry is a historic quarry whose limestone was used to construct the old State Capitol building in Iowa City. This 8.5-acre preserve is located seven miles north of Iowa City in northern Jo...
  • Ocheyedan Mound (pronounced O-cheé-den) is a large glacial hill known as a “kame.” The 24-acre preserve containing a portion of this large landform is located one mile south of Ocheyedan in easte...
  • Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge (formerly Walnut Creek), located in Jasper County, Iowa, is a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the federal government....
  • Bixby State Park is a 184-acre preserve containing a rugged forested area along the Silurian Escarpment. It is located in southwestern Clayton County, just north of the town of Edgewood....
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  • Mount Talbot State Preserve is a 90-acre area featuring a rugged Loess Hills landscape with forested slopes and prairie-capped ridges. It is located in the northern part of Stone State Park, in Plymou...
  • Mossy Glen is an 80-acre preserve featuring a rugged forested area along the Silurian Escarpment. It is located 6 miles northwest of Edgewood and 6.5 miles northeast of Strawberry Point in Clayton Cou...
  • Fifteen campgrounds dot the shoreline along the upper Mississippi River Project. Facilities include campsites, boat ramps, picnic shelters, interpretive programs, hiking trails and eagle watching in t...
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  • Merritt Forest is a 20-acre “virgin” old-growth forest. It is located four miles south of Guttenberg in Clayton County. Several trees over 300 years old are scattered throughout the preserve...
  • Badger Creek is by far the most popular natural resource, and thus fishing is the most popular form of recreation. The lake comprises 276 acres. Largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish are the...
  • Mericle Woods State Preserve is a 132-acre area of mature oak forest. It is located three miles northwest of Toledo in southern Tama County....
  • located one-half mile northeast of Ashton in northwest Iowa. The 33-acre wildlife area was acquired in 1965 using Federal Aid Wildlife Restoration Program funds and is owned and managed by the Iowa De...
  • Anderson Prairie is a 200-acre preserve containing a native tallgrass prairie on the western edge of the Altamont moraine. It is located 4.5 miles northwest of Estherville in western Emmet County....
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  • Malanaphy Springs State Preserve is a 64-acre area featuring a rugged forest area with a large spring and waterfall. It is located along the Upper Iowa River two miles northwest of Decorah in Winneshi...
  • Lower Gar State Recreation Area is a great place for a family picnic. There are several picnic tables located throughout this nicely shaded area with a great view of Lower Gar Lake....
  • Kalsow Prairie is a 160-acre prairie with many small potholes once typical of the Des Moines Lobe landform region. This preserve is located 5.5 miles northwest of Manson in southern Pocahontas County....
  • Woodman Hollow State Preserve is a 63.5-acre area featuring a deep forested ravine. Formerly known as “Woodman’s Hollow,” this preserve is located 6.5 miles southeast of Fort Dodge in Webster Co...
  • White Pine Hollow is located in northwest Dubuque County, just northwest of the town of Luxemburg. This 944 acre area consists of a 712 acre state preserve, dedicated in 1968 and 232 acres of state fo...
  • Indian Bluffs is an 845-acre, privately owned preserve located southeast of Monticello in Jones County. The area was dedicated as a state preserve in 1981....
  • Hayden Prairie is the largest prairie in Iowa outside of the Loess Hills. This 240-acre preserve is located in northern Howard County, thirteen miles northeast of Riceville and four miles west of Lime...
  • The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is a 240,000-acre (970 km2).[1] 261 river mile long National Wildlife Refuge located in and along the Upper Mississippi River. It runs fro...
  • Hardin City Woodland is a 25-acre preserve containing an upland forest. Named for the nearby remains of Hardin City, an early settlement, it is located six miles north of Eldora in the Iowa River Gree...