Midwest Living Review
The Hitchcock Nature Area, located on the Hitchcock Loop of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway in western Iowa, is a great stop for nature lovers. Start your visit at the Loess Hills Lodge, an interpretive facility with exhibits and programs. Learn about how the Loess Hills were formed, the area's population of raptors and the importance of conservation. Curiosity Cove is a hands-on learning center geared toward kids but with plenty to inform adults as well. We learned the correct pronunciation of Loess; it rhymes with "bus." There's a large deck around the lodge with a great view of the valley below. The deck leads to a wooden observation tower with a 360-degree view of the hills. It is rated as one of the best hawk-watch stations in North America. Unfortunately, it was raining when we were there, but we could still see the beautiful hills and valleys. You can also take in the view from the comfort of the lodge. The park beyond the lodge includes several woodland trails, tent and RV campsites, and a secluded area with cabins. This is definitely a place we want to visit again in better weather to enjoy the trails and view from the tower. There's a $2 fee per vehicle to get into the Pottawattamie County Park, but the Loess Hills Lodge is free. Park hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The lodge is open March through November from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.