Hoffman Prairie

Hoffman Prairie is located next to Clear Lake in northern Iowa.

Hoffman Prairie is dotted with wildflowers in the spring and is a great example of a wet, tallgrass prairie.

Why You Should Visit

Hoffman Prairie features an outstanding complex of morainal knob and basin prairie and cattail marsh.


Cerro Gordo County, two miles west of the city of Clear Lake


37 acres


This preserve is a wet-mesic prairie with shallow marshes. It is characterized by tallgrass and sedge species, with cattails and rushes in marsh areas.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

Hoffman Prairie was purchased by the Conservancy from Larry Hoffman in 1985, and was dedicated as a biological and geological State Preserve in 1986.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

The northern portion of this site had been plowed and is being replanted to prairie using seed harvested from this and other prairies in the area.

What to See: Plants

The varieties of habitat, ranging from cattail-dominated wetlands to mesic prairie, support over 150 plant species, including such rare plants as grass-of-parnassus, tall cotton grass and blazing star.

What to See: Animals

Birds at Hoffman Prairie include the red-winged blackbird, blue-winged teal, mallard, sedge wren, bobolink and yellowthroat. The preserve is also home to several rare butterfly species, including the black dash, dion and broad-winged skippers in the wetland habitats, and the Poweshiek skipperling and Arogos skipper in the prairie habitats.

Preserve Visitation Guidelines


From the intersection of I-35 and Highway 18 in Clear Lake:

  • Take Highway 18 west 4.8 miles to the preserve on the north side of the road (sign: Hoffman Prairie).
  • Park on the shoulder of Balsam Avenue (the road on the west side of the preserve).

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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