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Loess Hills State Forest, Iowa
Be Advised ; Prescribed Burning

Prescribed burning is a commonly used management tool at Loess Hills State Forest. When conditions allow, burning may occur anytime with little advance notice. When used for management, prescribed burning can enhance habitats for rare species of plants and animals, restoring/maintaining fire-dependent natural communities, wildlife management, maintenance of view sheds, hazardous fuel reduction, and helping to control invasive species.

Before visiting the forest please contact the visitors center (712-456-2924) to ensure units you want to visit will be open to the public. For more information on using prescribed fire as a management tool please contact the DNR Fire Program at 515-233-8067 or visit http://www.iowadnr.gov/fire.

Loess Hills State Forest

Loess Hills State Forest (LHSF) is located in west-central Iowa in Harrison and Monona Counties. It is comprised of 4 units totaling 11,600 acres. The Little Sioux Unit, 3,825 acres, lies between the towns of Little Sioux and Pisgah. The Preparation Canyon Unit, 4,125 acres, is located north of the Town of Pisgah. This unit has a small lake with good fishing. An overlook, constructed in 1997 with REAP monies, provides visitors with a spectacular view of the forest, prairies, the Missouri River Bottomlands, and Nebraska.

Loess Hills State Forest Management Plan
Loess Hills State Forest, brochure

+ Loess Hills State Forest, History
+ Geology
+ Climate
+ Flora (Plant Life)
+ Fauna (Animal Life)
+ Origin of the Forest Name, Loess Hills
+ Forest Management
Loess Hills Unit Information

Preparation Canyon State Park, 340 acres, is located on the northeast corner of the Preparation Canyon Unit of the state forest. This park offers picnicking and hiking trails with backpack camp sites. The site of the town of Preparation, a Mormon gathering place with an interesting history is located in the southeast corner of the park and is managed by the LHSF staff.

The Pisgah Unit, 2,554 acres, is located east of the Town of Pisgah. This Unit is the site of the forest headquarters, which was built on a 3 acre lot donated to the Iowa DNR by the Town of Pisgah in 1989. The headquarters and visitors center is located two blocks west of State Highway 183, at 206 Polk Street.

The Mondamin Unit, 1,096 acres, is east of the Town of Mondamin, 3 miles on Highway 127.

The entire forest is open to hunting except for areas within 200 yards of residences and the headquarters area. The entire forest is also open to hiking, nature study, and cross country skiing on the 38 miles of trails are located across the four units. There is good all weather and dirt road access to the forest area's 42 parking lots.

Contact Information

Loess Hills State Forest
P.O. Box 158, 206 Polk Street
Pisgah, Iowa 51564


The forest headquarters is located two blocks west of Hwy. 183 in the town of Pisgah.

Visitor Center

May 3 - Oct 28
M-W-F: 9am - noon
F-Sat-Sun: 1pm - 4:30pm

Oct 29 - May 2
M-W-F, 9am - noon
and by appointment. Please call to schedule a visit. 712-456-2924

Little Sioux 3,825 acres
Preparation Canyon 4,125 acres
Pisgah 2,554 acres
Mondamin  1,096 acres
Total 11,600 acres