Please Note

This blog contains information about a special promotion that is no longer active. Please visit our list of hotel properties to book your overnight in Council Bluffs. 

Exploring Home: 6 Places to See Fall Colors

Being a native Iowan, I can easily say that fall is my favorite season! The cooler weather and change of scenery is something I look forward to every year. Sometimes it can be difficult to anticipate when the peak fall colors will be showing, but luckily the Iowa DNR sends out Fall Color Reports that help estimate the peak viewing dates based on the portion of the state you live in. Currently, they are predicting that mid to late October will be the best viewing in southwest Iowa. 

After a long day experiencing the fall foliage, unwind with a relaxing stay in a Council Bluffs hotel. In fact, several hotel properties are offering a special discounted rate for all you outdoor enthusiasts! Click on our hotel packages to browse and book today.

Here are some of the places that I recommend you check out!

1. Hitchcock Nature Center

Hours: 6:00 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily
Cost: $5 per vehicle, payable with exact change or check at the gate

Hitchcock Nature Center is undoubtedly a beautiful place to visit no matter what season it is, but fall is extra special. Not only do you get to see the leaves change color, but you also get to see the prairie do the same. Choose from hiking, camping, picnicking, bird watching, star gazing, or simply just enjoying your time in nature.  I recommend climbing the HawkWatch Tower to get the best view!


2. Vincent Bluff State Preserve 

Hours: 6:00 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily
Cost: Free

Hiking to the top of Vincent Bluff State Preserve allows you to get a 360-degree view of the entire Council Bluffs metro! I highly suggest stopping here so you can see how beautiful CB is in the fall. Keep in mind that the main trail is pretty steep and may not be suitable for all hikers. You can still take in all the fiery fall hues from the picnic shelter, so it's worth stopping regardless if you are hiking or not!


3. Lewis & Clark Monument Scenic Overlook

Hours: 6:00 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily
Cost: Free

Located in the Loess Hills, this site gives visitors the opportunity to take in the stunning views of the Missouri River, Council Bluffs, and Omaha skyline! It is the local's favorite place to catch a sunset or enjoy a picnic with an unbelievable view. The park is also home to a popular mountain biking trail that winds through the hills. 


4. Wabash Trace Nature Trail 

Hours: 6:00 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily
Cost: $2 daily fee, payable in exact change at the trailhead. $20 annual passes are also available for purchase online

Hop on your bicycle and enjoy a scenic ride on the Wabash Trace! Portions of the trail are completely covered by trees and it feels like you are riding through a tunnel of stunning fall colors. The trail is part of a converted railroad right-of-way which means it is mostly flat and ideal for walking or bicycling in the fall. Depending on how far you venture on the trail, there are towns with restaurants to stop at making this an all-day adventure! 


5. Arrowhead Park (Neola)

Hours: 6:00 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily
Cost: $5 per vehicle, payable with exact change or check at the date

Arrowhead Park is a wonderful place to spend a weekend camping while watching the seasons change. The 17-acre lake, trail system, and camping options make this a one-stop-shop for your next outdoor fall adventure.  Escape the craziness of life and unwind at this beautiful spot.


6. Olde Town Park (Macedonia)

This small historic park is the perfect spot for a quiet fall picnic under some of the most gorgeous old trees! There aren't any modern conveniences here, so it is a perfect place to reconnect with nature. The park is located on the banks of the West Nishnabotna River Water Trail, so don't forget to check it out during your visit. 


The Fun Doesn't Stop Here!

Pottawattamie County is home to so many unique outdoor experiences and natural landscapes to explore. Unearth a special day in Council Bluffs by learning about our pumpkin patches and orchardsrecreational trailsscenic byways, and nearby water trail.

For a complete list of attractions, click here!

For a complete list of places to eat, click here!

Don't forget to book your hotel stay with one of our properties, offering a special discounted rate by clicking here!

This post was originally published on September 3, 2021 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.