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Loess Hills Scenic Byways

Recognized by Scenic America as one of the nation's "Ten Most Outstanding Scenic ByWays" in 1992,  this ByWay winds through Western Iowa's unique hills formed of loess. Covered in prairie and forest, the visitor can enjoy nature in every season. The main route is 220 miles of paved highway or country road in a general north to south direction, paralleling Interstate 29.

These fragile giants, are unique to Iowa and China. Only in these two locations in the world, do the deposits of loess (pronounced 'luss') reach a height of more than 200 feet above the adjacent valleys. Loess has been formed over centuries from the interaction of the glaciers, soil and winds. This creates a scenic, unique place to visit and enjoy wildlife and plant life.

Some prairie plants seen nowhere else in Iowa endure in the hills. Plants like yucca, ten-petal blazing star,spear grass, tumble grass, and prairie moonwort.  Among the animals are the prairie rattlesnake (only near Westland), plains pocket mouse, upland sandpiper, zebra swallowtail, ornate box turtle, and plains spadefoot toad. 

Long ago, the hills were inhabited by wooly mammoth, camel, giant beaver, and sloth. Stone tools, spear points, pottery and burials indicate humans inhabited the hills before the first coming of Christ. When Lewis and Clark visited the area in 1804, the Sioux, Omaha, Iowas, Pottawattamie and Oto Indians were living there. At that time, the hills were mainly prairie. Although the prairie is still dominant on some hills, today you will find farms, communities and roads.

Loess Hills Hideaway Cabins & Campground
337th & Plum   Moorhead, IA
Phone (402) 551-0690


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Proprietors: Martin and Lori Bast
13449 Sherwood Ave Omaha, NE 68164 (402) 551-0690

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