Hitchcock Nature Center
Nature & Wildlife Areas • Parks
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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5.0
50 reviews
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43
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7
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Traveler918
West Des Moines, IA217 contributions
Oct 2020
We visited in late October 2020 as fall colors were a bit beyond peak but were SO impressed with this beautiful park and its trails! We spent 2-3 hours here hiking the Badger Ridge trail (the best of all) and several others. All the trails intersect and loop so you can create your own path. Very few other hikers on a Friday afternoon.

We visited Waubonsie State Park the next day and did a hike of similar length along a ridge, but honestly felt like the Hitchcock trail views were better, and also there were way fewer people at Hitchcock,

The nature center was closed due to COVID, but restrooms were open, and we were also able to access a tower with views. But come for the Loess Hills hiking, not the indoor experiences! Easily accessible from the interstate, too.
Written November 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

suzschon
omaha37 contributions
Aug 2022
Three day 2 night girls (sisters) camping trip. Stayed in Burr Oak cabin. Was beautiful and rustic and surprisingly quiet and private from the other two cabins. Could not believe how great the mattress was - slept like a baby! Great trails and unbelievable views! So close to Omaha. Stopped at Stanley's Snack Shack on the way there and had a really great lunch. I guess the only downer was on Monday they were weed wacking about 100 yards from our cabin and this went on all morning, but I guess it has to be done at some point, but it did ruin our quiet morning. Rest room was clean and within easy walking distance to cabin. Did not use showers since we were only there for a couple days. The lodge was nice and we got a sticker for the car and a t-shirt. View from the lodge was amazing and so was the observation tower. Overall, highly recommend!!
Written August 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ronsus
Ottawa, KS226 contributions
Mar 2015 • Family
Well maintained and marked trails.The visitors center was closed on the Monday we were there.We were able to climb to the top of tower and enjoyed the view from the top. Cost is $2.00 per vehicle.
Also one trail is on handicapped accessible board walk.
Written April 16, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brewbaker
Milwaukee, WI136 contributions
Jun 2013 • Solo
Hitchcock Nature Center might be my favorite place in the area. Iowa was once quite scenic, but 99.9% of it has been plowed under for corn and bean fields.

Hitchcock provides a rare opportunity for nature hikes in this area. The trails are great, and the visitor's center is well done.
Written July 29, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dave-JPII-fan
Papillion, Nebraska57 contributions
Jun 2012
Well marked trails. Photogenic views. Maps indicate easy, medium, and difficult trails and give mileage. Admission is $2 per car and a bargain. Best months May and October. Watch out on the days with heat over 95F -- bring plenty of water on those days
Written September 12, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SillyG2003
Des Moines135 contributions
Aug 2017 • Couples
The Hitchcock Nature Center is located in the Loess Hills north of Omaha/Council Bluffs. There are miles of trails to pick from ranging from easy to hard. The trail heads are marked with the difficulty level. There is even a boardwalk. The trails meander through trees, prairies, and the ridge lines. The trails are very natural, think dirt/grass so if its rained or is raining wear appropriate gear. There are a few different spots one can have a picnic at.
The nature center has a lot of hands on activities kids 10 and younger would enjoy. There are telescopes as well as an observation tower to climb. The nature center also has a small gift shop and really nice restrooms. There are lots of activities throughout the year so check ahead on their website to see if there is something you would like to attend.
There is also a small campground and archery (we saw the sign for archery but didn't go investigate)
We really enjoyed our 2.5 miles hike we did. It is so calm there. No traffic noise, just nature :) If you are looking for a great hiking spot you will love it here.
FYIs:
Our gps got us close to the nature center but wanted us to turn off into some trees a couple of times; however it got us close enough that we could just follow the road and find our way.
There is a $2.00 daily fee or you can purchase a $10.00 yearly pass. When you get to the entrance it is a self serve kiosk. Take an envelope, fill it out, deposit your $2.00
Dogs are allowed as long as they are on a leash; just not in the nature center.
Written August 8, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Howard M
Bellevue, NE38 contributions
Jan 2016 • Solo
This is the my favorite destination for photography and nature. There is always interesting programs for the young and old, hawk watching, especially in the fall with migration. A forty foot tall tower provides excellent views for miles in every direction. The people manning the tower during migration are always willing to share their expertize as are the rangers and staff. Also this setting gives the viewer the best vantage point to see the unique topography of the formations that run from northwestern Iowa, south into northwest Missouri. Put on your hiking boots and
walk through the miles of trails. There is limited camping available for tents and trailers also. Spend an hour, two to three hours, it's up to how much time you want to stay. The nature center and deck are wheel chair accessible.
Written February 26, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

RavynB
Council Bluffs, IA27 contributions
Jun 2015 • Family
A wonderful place for a hike in the Council Bluffs area. Also handicap accessible for walks. Great place for bird watching too. Various trails and a visitors center and observatory over looking the Missouri Valley where you can see lots of hawks and even Eagles, love it.
Written November 19, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lori M
Colorado44 contributions
Jul 2015 • Family
We stayed a couple of nights visiting family in Omaha. Seemed like choices of RV parks was slim around the north and east end of Omaha so we decided to go a little further and try Hitchcock. So glad we did. We stayed midweek and there was hardly anyone there.

There are no reservations but since there wasn't many there, we were able to find a nice spot. Pretty level, gravel pad. We only had one person on one side and if someone had come on the other, it might have been a little cramped and not much privacy as the park area was pretty much just grass a few trees. There is a lower loop which looked like it has some really pretty grassy and private spots. But we wanted to be up near the showers so we didn't camp down there. Beyond that lower loop are a few log cabins people can rent as well as the tent camping down there.

The kids took off exploring down there and got spooked by some man standing by a cabin but the cabin was empty and no one staying in it. They thought it was a ghost and that provided all kinds of excitement and fun going back down by the cabins in the dark looking for the "old man". But it is a really good loop to walk if you want to take a stroll around.

Each site has a picnic table and a fire pit. When we stayed it was pretty cool and rainy off and on so it was nice to sit by the fire.

The showers were a fairly good size but only 2 and the curtains are cut in such a way that they move around and you can really close them very well for privacy. Fortunately I must have been the only female in the whole camp as I never encountered anyone else in there.

The camp rangers/hosts were really nice guys. Chad's little dog will escape from time to time and come running around visiting everyone. He was a welcome visitor when he'd show up!

On our campground there was a wooden lookout that gave really pretty sunset views. My husband and two boys went over to the Nature Center and really liked the walk. I didn't get a chance to go. But if we ever stay again (which we will when we're in the area) I'll make a point of making it over for a hike.

It's just not close to anything. It's drive to groceries and restaurants etc. This place is out in the country but pretty and peaceful.
Written July 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

IAKoalaGal
Council Bluffs, IA24 contributions
Apr 2014 • Friends
I've been several times to this unique area with a great view of the Loess Hills and Missouri River valley. Be sure to take the stairs up the overlook. There are nice exhibits of local animals. Lovely deck for a view too. Top-notch children's educational opportunities. Dedicated staff.
I've been told this was to be a garbage heap at one time. Thankfully it is a nature area to treasure instead.
Written December 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Hitchcock Nature Center (Honey Creek) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Hitchcock Nature Center