The wind rushing past your ears, the jerk of a fish hooked on your line, the exhilaration of riding a Jet Ski swooping through the water, the scrape of skis on snow, the awed gasp of viewing great art. All of these experiences are possible in Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the river from its larger sibling, Omaha, Nebraska. You’ll find that Council Bluffs is a growing, vibrant city with a wide variety of public art, outdoor recreation, and attractions.
Council Bluffs is in Pottawattamie County, the “Trail Capital of Iowa.” Whatever your pleasure, though, your long weekend will disappear quickly. But the pleasant memories will last.
Things To Do In Council Bluffs
Enjoy Peace And Comfort In Lake Manawa State Park
The word "manawa" literally means “peace and comfort.” The state parksurrounds a 772-acre oxbow lake, an 1881 flood’s gift to Council Bluffs. Whether on land or in the water, the park offers visitors a variety of experiences. Bring your boat and your bike and explore to your heart’s content.
Mountain bikers will enjoy the eight miles of mountain bike trails near the Missouri River boat ramps. Cyclists, walkers, and mobility-impaired guests will enjoy the pavedLake Manawa Recreation Trail. Take the kids or grandkids to theDream Playground, Iowa’s largest ADA accessible playground.
Cannonball Down The Wabash Trace Nature Trail
Start yourWabash Tracetrek at Lake Manawa. The trail runs 63 miles through four counties on theformer Wabash Railway routein southwest Iowa. The track is relatively flat. It also features patches of shade, making it suitable for all skill levels. In the winter, enjoy cross-country skiing. Pay the daily fee with exact change at the trailhead, or purchase yearly passes online.
Pro Tips: On Thursday evenings from spring to late fall, join the 20-mile Thursday Night Taco Rideto Tobey Jack’sMineola Steak House. If tacos aren’t your favorite dish, try the pork tenderloin. The ride attracts up to 1,000 riders, so make your restaurant reservationearly. No bike? No problem. Rent one at three Heartland B-cyclelocations.
Stand In Two States At Once
The seven-mileIowa Riverfront Trailruns north to Big Lake Park on Council Bluffs’ levee system. The views are gorgeous. AtTom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, turn aside from the trail and walk across theBob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, also known as “Bob the Bridge.” Take a picture of your feet straddling the Iowa-Nebraska line.
Pro Tip: Stay in the bike lanes on the sections where the trail shares the road with motor vehicles.