Trip Ideas for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Whether you want to unplug or gear up, you don't have to search far to find a natural escape in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County. Spend your day undisturbed in our parks, trails, and natural adventures. This might be uncharted territory for some - but not for you, soon. We've put together an itinerary for the perfect outdoor getaway in Pottawattamie County to enjoy in the spring, summer, and fall months!

Places to Visit:

1. Hitchcock Nature Center

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Spend a day undisturbed in the Loess Hills at Hitchcock Nature Center! Explore some of the largest remaining prairie remnants in Iowa while you hike, camp, picnic, and bird watch at one of the county’s most popular and scenic parks. In the winter, visitors enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding on the trails. 

Hours: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. 
Location: 27792 Ski Hill Loop Honey Creek, IA 51542
Admission: $5 per vehicle, payable with exact change or check at the gate

2Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park

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Enjoy wide-open green space and the best views of the Omaha metro area skyline at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park! At the park, you will find multiple Iowa West Public Art pieces and the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Don’t forget to go ‘bobbing’ by striking a pose while standing in two states at the same time!

Hours: 5 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Location: 4250 River's Edge Parkway
Admission: Free

3. Wabash Trace Nature Trail

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The Wabash Trace Nature Trail makes for a scenic evening bike ride, winding through the countryside and the Loess Hills—a rare formation of windblown soils created during the last ice age. The trail is a converted railroad and runs a total of 63 miles. On Thursday nights, you can join other local cyclists on the 20-mile round trip Taco Ride for tacos at Tobey Jack’s Mineola Steak House! During the colder months, visitors enjoy snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Hours: Open 24 hours
Trailhead Location: 4102 Harry Langdon Blvd Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Admission: $2 per day or $20 per year, payable with exact change at the trailhead or purchase annual passes online

Places to Eat:

1. Christy Creme

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This third-generation family-owned business is known for its delicious burgers, sandwiches, and all your soft-serve favorites, including cones, sundaes, milkshakes, malts, and floats. Locals love their daily rotating sherbet flavors and outdoor patio! 

Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 10 p.m, and Sundays from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. 
Location: 2853 North Broadway, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503 

2. Boxer Barbeque

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Boxer Barbeque is an award-winning restaurant offering lunch, dinner, and carry-out and uses only the finest cuts of meat. Enjoy traditional barbeque with a modern twist!

Hours: Tuesday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Location: 513 South Main Street Council Bluffs, IA 51503

More Places to Eat

3. The Buck Snort Neola

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The Buck Snort in Neola is a fast-casual restaurant that's great for the whole family. Their menu includes favorites like burgers, sandwiches, wraps, Phillies, pizza, and more. 

Hours: 10:30 - 8:00 p.m. daily 
Location: 113 4th Street, Neola, IA 51559 

Places to Stay | Camping Options:

Hitchcock Nature Center Campground

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Arrowhead Park Campground

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Botna Bend Park Campground

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Lake Manawa State Park Campground 

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Horseshoe Casino RV Park

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Places to Stay | Hotel Options:

Looking for a hotel in Council Bluffs? Browse our website and book directly!  

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More Places to Check Out:

This post was originally published on March 13, 2023 on the Unleash Council Bluffs blog.