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Mid-October 2004 I decided to take a drive on the Scenic Byway near my home.  The southern end of the  Loess Hills Scenic Byway is near Hamburg in the SW corner of Iowa. The byway basically parallels Interstate 29, ending near Akron, IA - north of Sioux City.  The Scenic Byway "Spine" is well maintained, paved roads.  Many of the scenic loops are secondary and gravel roads.

When I headed out on my drive, I had no idea there were all the side "loops" to the Byway.  Some of my turns took me where I wanted to go, others took me on more of a "scenic drive" than I had planned.  A little more research, and the Loess Hills Guide Book, would have made the drive more pleasurable.  I'll definitely have the guidebook and more maps when I head out again into the Loess Hills.





Farmland in Loess Hills - Pottawattamie County

View at entrance to Preparation Canyon

View at entrance to Preparation Canyon

One of the many gravel roads in the area,

The road into Preparation Canyon was closed - recent paving.  The 2 photos above taken from the entrance to the canyon were taken a short walk up from the road intersection.

At the entrance to Preparation Canyon, take a right down the gravel road.  A short distance on the left will be a large wooden observation platform.  Its a great view from this deck.  The following pictures were taken from the observation deck.






Driving through the Loess Hills you never know what you'll find around the next corner.  The old schoolhouse below is on the National Registry of Historic Places.



Mann School - 1885

Unusually shaped tree

The Loess Hills were formed at the end of the last Ice Age - about 18,000 years ago.  Water from the melting glaciers left behind a fine silt.  Prevailing winds blew the light soil into dunes along the eastern bank of what are now the Big Sioux and Missouri Rivers.  For more information on touring, history and geology of the Loess Hills visit the Loess Hill National Scenic Byway website.


Copyright(c) 2004 Tom Winfield. All rights reserved.