Hitchcock Nature Center is north of Crescent, IA and just let outside Omaha, NE. A short drive from the city and you are in the Loess Hills that were explored by Lewis and Clark on their trek west. The is a $3 day use pass or a $20 yearly pass available.
This place has a lot to offer anyone. They have Nature education events, archery range, a handicapped accessible boardwalk trail, hiking trails, camping, etc. There are miles of trail available with backcountry camping available for $10 per night. RV camping is also available for $15 per night with electric, showers/bathrooms, picnic tables, fire rings, etc. They also offer a couple cabins for rent.
The hiking is fantastic and offers something for every skill level. There are absolutely gorgeous views of the Missouri River valley below. All trails are marked and the a multiple different trailheads, many which start around the visitors center/tower Overlook. During the winter they even over snowshoeing events. It is really a nice place to get outdoors anytime of the year.
This is a County run Park, that has a limited number of sites. The location is very nice, most sites are full sun. And the grounds are located on top,of a hill. Easy drive in, all paved. A lot of hiking trails, for day hikes. Really nice location but site availability is always the question. Would recommend.
Small Campground the few hookups cabins and a great place to hike .
This is one of our favorite places to camp. It's beautiful and there's plenty of hiking. The campgrounds are a little way away from the road and more secluded so they're very quiet. You do have to pack your stuff down a bit of a steep hill. with the nature Center there is plenty for the kids to do. There's even a 1 mile hike on a boardwalk that's very easy. There's all levels of hikes. They have a hawkwatch tower. Lots of information about Hawks and nature conservation. We love doing their extra classes.
Hitchcock Nature Center features 10 miles of trails in varying difficulties for all skill levels. Great training site with some fantastic campsites and excellent views. Nature Center offers a unique lodge and educational space with a "fire tower" regularly used for bird studies. Backcountry campsites are the main attraction but there are also RV sites and an archery range. The park even offers a small section of ADA boardwalk. It's a great place!
As a family we go to Hitchcock a few times a year for the hiking and the archery range they have on-site. Both are excellent and a nice escape from the city! This spring/summer I am planning to take our boys for a nice hike in camp!
Great hiking in Loess Hills, great Nature Center especially with programming of "Hawk Watch"
if you want to get some hiking in that’s not just all flat walking this is a great place in this area. The views show you the vast farmland here and are great for sunrise and sunset! Leashed dog friendly. There are some camping spots you can hike to and some cabins as well. I have mostly used this as a day spot.
If you are in the Omaha metro you should head across the river and checkout Hitchcock Nature Center just North of Council Bluffs. This is one of my favorite places to camp. All of the campsites are considered "back country" but don't worry, I think the furthest campsite is about three miles.
My preference is getting one of the campsites on the western edge of the park on top of the ridge. At night you can see the Omaha skyline lit up and the breeze running through there is wonderful.
Hitchcock is smack dab in the loess hills which is one of only two places in the world with the hill formations. The other place is in China.
The trail system isn't huge because of the size of the park, but it has a lot of up and down and is a great place to practice backpacking or test new gear before you leave the plains and head to the rocky mountains for a new adventure.
When your done with your hiking, climb up to the top of the towering platform and bring your binoculars to checkout the visiting hawks and occasional eagle. Don't pass up Hitchcock Nature Center.
When I think of “nature center” I think of a stuffy little cabin with taxidermy. This site is far far more than that, with hiking trails, educational programs, a museum, event halls, and of course camping. Local friends told us about it, otherwise we would have never found it. Make sure to look at their events calendar, they have exceptional programs for all ages (and especially kids). I learned about this park from Pheasants Forever, a nonprofit.
Yay: well tended and updated campground. You can camp all year (but I think they turn the water off?)
Nay: no reservations (but supposedly they don’t fill up completely?)
Surprise: make sure you talk to the rangers!