Iowa is a state of beauty in the extremes. From rugged prairie to lush river valleys, travelers can enjoy many different opportunities for outdoor adventure, or just perhaps a little bit of solace in a busy world.
Join us this year as the Nature Conservancy celebrates 50 years helping to protect some of the state’s finest public and private natural areas. We hope you will join us!
Explore Iowa’s Top Ten Outdoor Destinations
Located off the Loess Hill Scenic Byway, Broken Kettle is Iowa’s largest contiguous native prairie and home to The Nature Conservancy’s growing bison herd. Located in the northern portion of the Loess Hills it is a stellar example of this rare and intriguing landform. Expect to see breathtaking vistas while you hike. Learn more and plan your visit.
The Swamp White Oak Preserve supports one of the best known examples of the globally rare swamp white oak woodland community. Few savannas like this remain, and they host numerous uncommon plant and animal species, especially amphibians and reptiles. Learn more and plan your visit.
Experience the Boone River by canoe or boat and glide through the picturesque wooded valley. This tributary of the Des Moines River is home to rare plant and animal species, such as freshwater mussels and Topeka shiner. Learn more and plan your visit.
Freda Haffner is the site of one of Iowa’s best and largest glacial kettleholes and highly diverse native prairie communities. The unique geological formation found here makes it one of the more popular preserves in the state. Learn more and plan your visit.
From Lock & Dam #14 Eagle Area visitors will be likely to see wintering bald eagles in this important roosting area. Located right on the Mississippi River, this is also a great location to take in views of the mighty river. Learn more and plan your visit.
Clausen’s Cove is located on the shoreline of Clear Lake and is a great place to anchor a boat, go for a swim or simply enjoy the beauty of the tremendous vista. Learn more and plan your visit.
The Cedar River is a popular place for boating, fishing and other outdoor recreation. It is also home to a variety of fish and wildlife, including two species of endangered mussels, and globally rare plant communities. Learn more and plan your visit.
Photographers will love Berry Woods, where they will find high quality mature oak trees, wildflowers and fungi. Bird watchers will also find a variety of birds in this woodland. Learn more and plan your visit.
During the winter visitors might see bobolinks, grasshopper sparrows, meadowlarks, and kingfishers fishing in the clear prairie streams at Browns’ Prairie. Learn more and plan your visit.
This tallgrass prairie is found in the middle of Ames. More than 100 species of plants and 100 species of birds can be found at this preserve. Learn more and plan your visit.