Loess Hills in Western Iowa

You MUST go here…let me show you why

Loess Hills Scenic Overlook, Sioux, IA
This is OUR Iowa!

Our family had the BEST time Hiking and Exploring the Loess Hills State Forest! I kept thinking – we can’t still be in Iowa? We spent about an 1 1/2 on the Loess Hills Scenic Overlook Trail. The trailhead starts from a wooden ramp leading up to a large platform then it’s just a few steps down to the trail.

This trail was fun but not always cleared of debris. There are a few different trails that lead off of the main trail pictured. We ran out of time to explore them. Our poor dog Toby got so tired that he had to be carried out.

We also visited Murray Hill Scenic Overlook. This hike was shorter and somewhat easier but was mostly up hill. There is a dirt parking lot at the trailhead. I packed a frozen ice cream treat that we all enjoyed after our hour or so hike.

*NOTE NO Bathrooms or WATER at these trails – Bring your own water or head down to the forest headquarters (See map at end of post)

The views are truly breathtaking! We are looking forward to hiking here again and I would love to come at sunset!

Looking South from Murray Hill Scenic Overlook
Looking South from Murray Hill Scenic Overlook
found road
Class B Road in Loess Hills

Throughout the Loess Hills are Class B roads . I had to keep reminding my husband that we driving in a mini-van not a Jeep. We did park along some nicer gravel roads so we could walk down a few of the lesser maintained roads. The kids liked drawing pictures in the soft dirt along slopes.

Loess Hills Forest
Tree roots in the soft clay along a class B road in Loess Hills
Field
Yellow Field in Loess Hills

Everywhere we went in the Loess Hills was beautiful! We were there before the lavender bloomed at Loess Hill Lavender Farm. We wished we could have seen those beautiful fields of purple. 

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The Loess Hills

My favorite things about this area is that it’s close (only a couple hour drive from central Iowa) and it’s accessible. Even if hiking isn’t on your Bucket List, you can still enjoy the views, the drive and nature!

grove
Grove of Trees neat a trailhead in Loess Hills
bird
Lost Baby Bird in Tree Grove

While you are in the area, stop in Pisgah at the Loess Hills State Forest Visitor Center. This little gem has restrooms, interactive displays, good maps & resources and helpful, friendly volunteers.

***We are  still trying to learn what was on all the plants at Murray Hill? (see the “spit” in the lower picture)  Send me the answer if you find out! thanks

Visiting the Loess Hills area was part of our family camping trip to Lewis and Clark State Park.

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