Outdoor Winter Activities

The winter landscape offers breathtaking views and unforgettable one-of-a-kind experiences in the Council Bluffs area. Begin planning your next winter adventure by checking out our list of outdoor winter activities to enjoy in or around Council Bluffs.

After a long day exploring the outdoors, unwind with a relaxing stay in a Council Bluffs hotel. Click on our hotel options to browse and book today!

Use our interactive trip planner tool to help plan your unforgettable getaway in Council Bluffs! 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! 

Hit the Slopes at Mt. Crescent Ski Area

j_dorton
@j_dorton on Instagram

For those who enjoy winter sports like skiing, sledding, or snowboarding, Pottawattamie County's Mt. Crescent Ski Area is the place to be! They provide visitors with various slopes to intrigue newcomers and challenge those who are more experienced.

The ski area is set to open by December 17th and will be open for extended hours through December 30th to accommodate families during the holiday season. Night skiing hours will begin on January 4th, and select sledding time slots will begin on January 7th. For more information, check out their website!

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing on the Trails

shoe

If you enjoy the brisk winter breeze, try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail or at Hitchcock Nature Center! During the winter months, you can rent snowshoes from the lodge at Hitchcock and take to the trails for an unforgettable and peaceful experience.

Snowshoe rental costs $6 per day and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis during regular winter gallery hours. There must be a minimum of four to six inches of snow on the ground for snowshoeing. Click here for more information.

Walk through our Historical Park to see the Holiday Lights

bayliss

Experience the sights and sounds of the holiday season by taking a peaceful and dazzling walk through Bayliss Park as more than 40,000 twinkle lights illuminate your path.

Christmas Tree shopping at Dappen Tree Farm

tree

You could pick a Christmas tree up in a store parking lot, or you could make a day of it, walking amongst a practical forest of Christmas trees to choose from at Dappen Tree Farm. The farm is home to Scotch, White Pine, Spruce, and Firs of all sizes. After you find your perfect tree, just flag down the staff, and they'll cut it for you! Plus, they offer tractor rides and complimentary hot chocolate! 

This year they will be open three weekends. November 25th - 27th, December 2nd - 4th, and December 9th – 11th. For more information, check out their Facebook page.

Visit the Elk & Bison at Botna Bend

bison

You can visit the elk and bison and Botna Bend any time of the year, but there's something magical about watching the majestic animals prance and frolic in the snow. Though, be sure to come back in the spring — that's when the calves are born!

Admission to Botna Bend park is $3 per vehicle. You may pay with exact change or check at the park gate.

Santa's Rock n Lights Drive-Through Light Show

Across the river, you can check out the mile-long, drive-through holiday light show at Werner Park! This spectacular event features 1,000 programmable elements and over 100,000 animated lights that dance along to your favorite Christmas tunes.

Admission is $25 - $35 per vehicle, and online reservations are required. Click here for more information.

The Fun Doesn't Stop There!

Pottawattamie County is home to many unique outdoor experiences and natural landscapes. Unearth a special day in Council Bluffs by learning about our recreational trails, and scenic byways.

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 by clicking here!

This post was originally published on November 15, 2022 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.