Explore Iowa: Wickiup Hill

Posted on June 9, 2016 in Blog

The Cedar River is the primary natural feature for the Cedar Rapids area. Thanks to protection efforts that began in the 1980s, the Cedar River Greenbelt ensures that a core of natural land along the river will remain part of this urban community. When the greenbelt began, few Iowans understood that wetlands are important to water quality as well as wildlife. Today, in addition to water quality and wildlife benefits, the greenbelt offers public areas for hiking, hunting and other recreation. 

The Linn County Conservation Board (LCCCB) added the 10,000-square foot Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center to the greenbelt in the fall of 2002 to provide convenient boardwalks, classroom facilities and displays for school groups and families to learn about wetlands, woodlands and wildlife. The center is located in the Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Area, which is part of the larger 563-acre Wickiup Hill Natural Area.

Today, the Natural Area boasts a variety of habitats such as wetland, prairie, woodland and savanna. Along with natural interests like the Indian Mounds and several miles of trails, people can also come to visit the wide range of exhibits on display in the Outdoor Learning Center, including Native American and archaeological exhibits, interactive prairie, wetland and woodland exhibits, live native reptile and fish exhibits, and a bird-viewing area which includes a cascading waterfall over limestone outcroppings.

INHF's Role
The LCCCB and Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation shared the goal of protecting an extensive wildlife area along the river. Over time, floodplain lands between Cedar Rapids and Palo became available, were purchased and restored to wetland wildlife habitat. INHF assisted LCCB with 14 land protection projects in a decade (1986 to 1995), adding more than 1,300 acres!  Local volunteers and Kirkwood Community College students helped to raise funds and community interest in this restoration effort.

Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center (Wickiup Hill Natural Area)
10260 Morris Hills Road in Toddville

Visitor Info
Wickiup Hill Learning Center is located just NW of the Cedar Rapids metropolitan area near Toddville. I-380 north to Blairs Ferry Road NE; west on Blairs Ferry to Feather Ridge Road; right (north) on Feather Ridge to Morris Hills Road; left (west) on Morris Hills Road - follow to the end of the road, the Center will be on your right (north).

Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce
(319) 398-5317