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Outdoor Exploration in Council Bluffs

Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County offer a plethora of outdoor recreation options that cater to adventurers of all ages and interests. From breathtaking hikes to thrilling bike rides and serene water adventures, this region is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Let’s embark on a journey to discover the diverse outdoor opportunities waiting to be explored.


The Loess Hills boast stunning landscapes and diverse ecosystems, making them a prime destination for hikers. One of the crown jewels of outdoor exploration in the area is the Hitchcock Nature Center. With its extensive trail system winding through lush woodlands, peaceful prairies, and scenic overlooks, it provides an immersive experience in nature. For a hike near downtown Council Bluffs, Fairmount Park and Vincent Bluff State Preserve offer picturesque trails that showcase the beauty of the region.


Council Bluffs is ideal for cyclists, boasting a 41-mile continuous system of trails that weave through the community. The Iowa Riverfront Trail offers stunning views of the Missouri River and connection to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, while the Lake Manawa Trails provide a picturesque route around the lake. Art lovers flock to the FIRST AVE trail, where they can see four new murals from their bikes. And let's not forget the iconic Wabash Trace Nature Trail, home to the legendary Thursday Taco Ride, a beloved tradition for cyclists and taco enthusiasts alike.

Didn’t bring your bike with you? No worries! Several Heartland Bike Share bike stations throughout town allow you to rent electric bikes.

Water Adventures

At Lake Manawa State Park, visitors can enjoy a day of swimming, boating, or fishing amidst scenic surroundings. The West Nishnabotna River Water Trail provides a tranquil setting for kayaking and canoeing, allowing paddlers to explore the natural beauty of the region at their own pace. During the hot summer months, families can cool off at the splash pads in Fairmount Park and Bayliss Park, providing endless fun for children of all ages.


For those seeking an immersive outdoor experience, camping in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County is the perfect way to reconnect with nature. From RV parks to rustic tent sites, there are accommodations to suit every camper's preference. Lake Manawa offers a convenient RV park with modern amenities, while Pottawattamie Conservation parks like Hitchcock Nature Center, Arrowhead Park, and Botna Bend Park provide scenic campsites nestled in the heart of nature. Adventurous souls can even try their hand at primitive backpack camping at Hitchcock Nature Center, immersing themselves in the tranquility of the wilderness.

With its diverse landscapes, abundant trails, and endless recreational opportunities, Pottawattamie County is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you're seeking a challenging hike, an exhilarating bike ride, a serene paddle, or a peaceful camping retreat, this region has something for everyone. So lace up your hiking boots, dust off your bike, grab your paddle, or pitch your tent – adventure awaits! 

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509 23rd Ave.
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
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