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Outdoor Fall Activities in Pottawattamie County

We've all been waiting anxiously for the weather to cool down, the leaves to start changing colors, and to pull our favorite sweater out from the back of our closet. Fall has officially arrived, and it's time to enjoy all that mother nature offers this time of year. We've listed our favorite outdoor activities to enjoy in the Pottawattamie County area below so you can plan your next autumn adventure!

After a long day exploring the outdoors, unwind with a relaxing stay in a Council Bluffs hotel. Use our Book Direct Tool to browse and book today.

Use our interactive trip planner tool to help you plan your unforgettable getaway in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County! As you browse the website, look for the pin icon to save things to do, places to eat, events to attend, blogs, and more. Once you've curated your list, you can send it to yourself, share it with friends or family, and easily access it at any time! 

Horseback Riding & More at Shady Lane Ranch!

Group of people on a hayrack ride

Nothing says fall more like horseback riding, hayrack rides, and private campfires. Shady Lance Ranch has it all! Enjoy a perfect autumn day in the great outdoors. Their staff can take you on a scenic hour-long hayride through the property and drop you off at your private campfire, where you can cook food and socialize under the stars. Call 712-323-1932 to book your unforgettable visit!

Hiking through the Hills!

Man walking through the fall foliage at Hitchcock Nature Center

There are so many places to hike and enjoy the crisp fall air in the Council Bluffs area! In the city's heart, you will find Fairmount Park, an autumn paradise. The park is lined with various native trees, and numerous trails and lookout spots exist to enjoy.

Enjoy the fiery hues of the prairie at Vincent Bluff State Preserve, which is just minutes away from Fairmount Park. The trails at Vincent Bluff take you to the top of the Loess Hills and gives you spectacular views of the entire metro.

About 20 minutes away from Council Bluffs, you'll find Hitchcock Nature Center, a nature lovers' paradise! Choose from hiking the trails, walking on the boardwalk, watching for birds atop the 45-foot HawkWatch tower, or camping. You won't run out of things to do here!

Bike Riding

Two men riding e-bikes on the Iowa Riverfront Trail

The weather is cooling off, and the days are getting shorter, but cycling in autumn is an unbelievable experience! Hit the trails and explore the countryside on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail. The majority of the crushed limestone path is shaded by trees making this a perfect place to check out the changing colors. The Wabash is best known for being the home of the Thursday Taco Ride! Local and out-of-town cyclists meet at the trailhead in Council Bluffs and head out on a 20-mile round-trip trek for tacos at Tobey Jack’s Mineola Steakhouse. The ride is weather permitting and typically goes through the end of October.

Council Bluffs is also home to a 41-mile continuous trail system giving you unlimited amounts of routes to choose from! These paved trails link together, and you can access some of the most popular trails, including the Lake Manawa Recreation Trail, Iowa Riverfront Trail, and FIRST AVE Trail. 

Don't have a bike or left it at home? No problem! Several Heartland Bike Share stations throughout town allow you to rent electric bikes for a small fee. Visit Heartland Bike Share's website and download their app to learn more!

Disc Golf + Pickleball

A disc golf course

Nestled among the Loess Hills, the Treasure Cove Disc Golf Course has 18 holes and is the perfect place to enjoy a game of frisbee golf! The course is located on Iowa Western Community College's beautiful campus and offers various throw placements, making it an excellent place for beginners and professionals alike.

The sport of pickleball has increased in popularity in the last few years, and there are both indoor and outdoor courts available in Pottawattamie County! At Cochran Park, a small neighborhood park in CB, you will find two recently added pickleball courts which are perfect for a fun autumn game. Located further out in the county, you will find another court in Carson, IA! If the weather is a bit too chilly for your liking, head over to the Iowa West Pickleball Courts for unforgettable fun! Six courts allow you to drop in for a session, but please note that you need to pre-register to play by emailing [email protected].  Each session is $7.50. Visit the Council Bluffs Area Pickleball Club website for a schedule of open sessions.

Explore Council Bluffs' + Omaha's Riverfront


Council Bluffs and Omaha are located along the Missouri River, and both offer several activities along the riverfront to fill an afternoon quickly! Start your adventure at Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park, exploring our unforgettable public art. Take the kiddos to play at Belles' Play Garden before you walk across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. This unique bridge allows you to stand in two states simultaneously as you cross the Mighty Mo! Check out our riverfront guide to learn more about nearby dining, Omaha's newly opened parks, and the Kiewit Luminarium.

The Fun Doesn't Stop There!

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

For a complete list of attractions, browse our play listings!!

Check out our restaurant listings for a complete list of places to eat!

Don't forget to book your hotel stay with one of our properties by using our Book Direct tool!

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