I'm always looking for new places to hike and explore in my beloved Iowa Mountains. Last weekend was my husband's birthday and he mentioned getting out and about. It was a bit cold, in the 30s, but we decided to take a drive and maybe check out a spot to take a quick, brisk hike. As I usually do in these instances, I pull up a map of my area on the internet and look for green patches within reasonable driving distance. I happened upon one, about a 30 minute drive from my house, called Old Town Conservation Area. It looked much more promising than previous searches I've done, and, honestly, I was suprised I had never noticed it before. So off we went to take a drive and check out OTCA.
A bit off the interstate and some winding country roads, Old Town Conservation Area sits smack-dab in the heart of the Iowa Mountains. Here's the trailhead where we started. There is another entrance on the other side of the area.
Our trail moved up onto the ridges, where we got an unobstructed view of the trails towards the bottom of the hills, over by the treeline.
It was cold and windy on the ridges, so we determined that we would just get up to the top where we could get a good view of the layout of the park before heading back to the car.
The trail is well-maintained, even in the Winter, and you can see farther and farther as you ascend the gentle incline.
Even with the fog, we could see way off into the distance.
More trails spotted off in the distance.
A lovely view from the top. You can see for miles from here, even getting a foggy view of the Ponca Hills on the Nebraska side.
The trails in the OTCA are lovely, and, in fact, the entire park is gorgeous. Even in Winter we could see just how gorgeous and expansive the park is. How awesome it will be to hike here when the weather is a bit warmer and Spring is in full bloom! I was pleasantly surprised to find a new hiking spot in my Iowa Mountains, and I cannot wait to come back for a proper hike.