Friends of the Loess Hills State Forest & Preparation Canyon State Park
2024 First Day Hike Ring in the new year with a free, family-friendly hike in the Loess Hills! Monday, January 1, 2024 1-3pm Meet at Preparation Canyon State Park along Preparation Canyon Road, southwest of Moorhead, Iowa. Pizza & hot chocolate at the Brent S. Olson Memorial Visitor Center in Pisgah will follow the hike. Co-hosts include Friends of Loess Hills State Forest & Preparation Canyon State Park, Golden Hills RC&D, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Golden Hills provides support to the Friends of the Loess Hills State Forest and Preparation Canyon State Park as part of our efforts to improve outdoor recreation and land stewardship in the region. Please note that donations and mail should be sent to the Friends group directly instead of to Golden Hills. The Friends group's mailing address is: 1699 165th Trail Mondamin, IA 51557.
About the Friends Group
The Friends group is dedicated to improving the Loess Hills State Forest and Preparation Canyon State Park through volunteering, fundraising, and other support.
The State Forest and State Park are public conservation and recreation areas located near the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway in Harrison and Monona counties. Both are owned and managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Download a pdf brochure about the Friends group here.
The Friends group is a nonprofit and accepts donations. Please note that the "donate" button on this site is for Golden Hills; NOT the Friends group. To make a donation, contact the Friends group directly.
The Loess Hills State Forest is open daily and includes more than 50 miles of hiking trails across four units (Little Sioux, Mondamin, Pisgah, and Preparation Canyon). Hunting and primitive camping are allowed throughout the State Forest, and several ponds are popular for fishing. Learn more at the official Loess Hills State Forest website (Iowa Department of Natural Resources). Preparation Canyon State Park is open 4:00am-10:30pm daily. The State Park has 10 primitive hike-in camping sites but dispersed camping is not allowed elsewhere in the state park.. More details available from the official Preparation Canyon State Park website (Iowa Department of Natural Resources).
Loess Hills Native American History with University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) Archaeology program and hands-on atlatl spear-throwing Friday, May 5, 2023 6:00pm-9:00pm Loess Hills State Forest Brent S. Olson Memorial Visitor Center - 206 Polk St. Pisgah, IA Free and open to the public. Pre-registration strongly encouraged. Partners include: Golden Hills RC&D, Friends of Loess Hills State Forest, and University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist. Register here.
2023 First Day Hike
The 2023 First Day Hike will be on Sunday, January 1, 2023 at the Pisgah Unit.
Join the Friends of the Loess Hills State Forest & Preparation Canyon State Park for a hike on New Year's Day! Meet at 2047 145th St. south of Pisgah and park along the road. Hike will be just over 3 miles. At 3:30, we will have snacks and drinks at the Brent Olson Memorial Visitor Center (206 Polk Street in Pisgah) Free & open to the public. No registration required. Details at facebook.com/loesshillsfriends Click here to download a map of the route.
Brent's Trail Extension Opening Hike - August 2021
Brent's Trail is growing! Iowa Department of Natural Resources has added just over 4 miles on the southern end of the popular hiking route. Join Friends of the Loess Hills State Forest & other local partners for a grand opening event and hike the new trail! A few guides will be available to help navigate the route, and the trail is being signed with the well-known metal oak leaf signs. Saturday, August 28, 2021 10am - 3pm Meet at the parking area at 1715 138th Trail - Pisgah, IA. If parking is full, park along the side of the road and pull off as far as you safely can to allow traffic to pass. The new extension adds just over 4 miles to the popular hiking trail through Harrison County's beautiful Loess Hills. This hike route is about 6 miles one-way and includes a couple miles of the existing trail in addition to the new section.
Shuttles will NOT be provided, so you will need to figure out a ride to your vehicle at the end or plan to hike back. One good option is to bring a buddy and park one vehicle at the end point (1545 165th Trl), then carpool to the starting point (1715 138th Trl). The hike will end at 1545 165th Trail, where there is a small parking lot. The community of Little Sioux's homecoming event is this same weekend, and you are encouraged to head into town after hiking for food and drinks.