Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area - Sylvan Runkel State Preserve

Onawa, Iowa 51040

Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area - Sylvan Runkel State Preserve

Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area - Sylvan Runkel State Preserve Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"There’s good reason this is home to the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar: These two preserved areas encompass some of the most incredible terrain for hiking and naturalizing in western Iowa. From your ridgetop perch, billowing bunchgrasses and prairie wildflowers of every hue encircle you. Dramatic, forest-covered hills extend to the south and east. To the west the wrinkled hills plummet down to a patchwork quilt of agricultural fields in the Little Sioux and Missouri floodplains.

The one trail within the preserve follows the narrow, branching ridgeline covered with tall- and mixed-grass prairie. From atop a high point along the ridge, notice that woodlands thrive on the moist north- and east-facing slopes. Though the preserve is dominated by prairie, colonizing shrubs such as eastern red cedar, rough-leaved dogwood, and sumac climb up the ravines, which are soon invaded by woodlands."

Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area - Sylvan Runkel State Preserve Trip Reports

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7/15/2018
I enjoy bird watching so visiting a bird conservation area like this is a real treat. I especially love the colorful orioles but there's many other species to see. The area is full of rolling green hills and prairies. It's an easy walk along the loop so bring your binoculars and your camera and enjoy!
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5/6/2010
I have visited the Sylvan Runkel Preserve and the rest of the Loess Hills WMA numerous times and have found this area to be one of the most beautiful in the Loess Hills and the state. The preserve is outstanding with great views of the landscape around you. Trees are less prevalent on the hills in the preserve than in the rest of the wma, and prairie dominates, letting you see the hills at their best. They may not be mountains but they are still breathtaking and fun to hike. I have seen lots of plants and wildlife here including Regal Frittilaries and Soapweed Yucca. The Loess Hills are like no other place I have been and I highly recommend that you attend the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar here to learn more about this amazing range of hills.
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Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area - Sylvan Runkel State Preserve Photos

Trail Information

Onawa
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
12.4
Distance
1,172 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Approximately 4 to 6 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Local Contacts
USGS Castana
Local Maps