Waubonsie State Park

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Waubonsie State Park
Iowa State Park
Waubonsie State Park.jpg
Waubonsie State Park, May 2014
Named for: Chief Wabaunsee
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
StateFlag of Iowa.svg  Iowa
County Fremont
Location Sidney
 - elevation1,099 ft (335 m) [1]
 - coordinates 40°40′20″N95°41′18″W / 40.67222°N 95.68833°W / 40.67222; -95.68833 Coordinates: 40°40′20″N95°41′18″W / 40.67222°N 95.68833°W / 40.67222; -95.68833
Area1,990 acres (805 ha) [2]
Management Iowa Department of Natural Resources
USA Iowa location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Waubonsie State Park in Iowa
Website: Waubonsie State Park

Waubonsie State Park is a state park of Iowa, US, located in the Loess Hills region. It is named for Chief Wabaunsee of Potawatomi tribe.

State park protected area managed at the federated state level

State parks are parks or other protected areas managed at the sub-national level within those nations which use "state" as a political subdivision. State parks are typically established by a state to preserve a location on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, or recreational potential. There are state parks under the administration of the government of each U.S. state, some of the Mexican states, and in Brazil. The term is also used in the Australian state of Victoria. The equivalent term used in Canada, Argentina, South Africa and Belgium, is provincial park. Similar systems of local government maintained parks exist in other countries, but the terminology varies.

Iowa State of the United States of America

Iowa is a state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states; Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west, South Dakota to the northwest and Minnesota to the north.

Loess Hills

The Loess Hills are a formation of wind-deposited loess soil in the westernmost parts of Iowa and Missouri, and the easternmost parts of Nebraska and Kansas, along the Missouri River.


Waubonsie State Park is located in the unique Loess Hills, a landform found only along the Missouri River in Iowa and Missouri. As glaciers melted 14,000 to 28,000 years ago, the Missouri River became a major channel for huge volumes of water and sediment during the summer. In winter, the volume of the meltwater was reduced, leaving the deposited sediments exposed to the wind. These sediments of silt, clay and very fine sand particles called "loess," were then carried by strong westerly winds and deposited when these winds encountered the steep slopes of the east valley wall.

Missouri River major river in the central United States, tributary of the Mississippi

The Missouri River is the longest river in North America. Rising in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, the Missouri flows east and south for 2,341 miles (3,767 km) before entering the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri. The river drains a sparsely populated, semi-arid watershed of more than 500,000 square miles (1,300,000 km2), which includes parts of ten U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Although nominally considered a tributary of the Mississippi, the Missouri River above the confluence is much longer and carries a comparable volume of water. When combined with the lower Mississippi River, it forms the world's fourth longest river system.

There are several distinctive features of loess hills topography. Because of the fine texture of the soil, deep, steep-sided and very narrow ridge tops have been eroded in the hills. Small, step-like terraces called "cat steps" resulting from repeated slipping of the soil can be seen on many west-facing slopes. Since the soil drains rapidly, nearly vertical cuts can be made in the soil without erosion. The unique topography of the park resembles the "badlands" of the west and harbors plants like the yucca which are normally found in more arid climates.

Nearby towns

Sidney, Iowa is 6 miles (9.7 km) north and holds Iowa's largest continuous outdoor rodeo, held during July. Hamburg is 9 miles (14 km) south of the park. Nebraska City is 9 miles (14 km) west across the Missouri River in Nebraska and is the home of Julius Sterling Morton, founder of Arbor Day. His home is now a museum at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and Arboretum in Nebraska.

Sidney, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Sidney is a city in Fremont County, Iowa, United States. The population was 1,138 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Fremont County and is one of the smallest county seats in Iowa.

Hamburg, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Hamburg is the most southwestern city in Iowa hugging the borders of Missouri to the south and Nebraska to the west. It derives its name from the German city of Hamburg. It is the corporate headquarters of Vogel Popcorn which claims to be the source of 52 percent of the popcorn grown in the United States.

Nebraska City, Nebraska City in Nebraska, United States

Nebraska City is a city in, and the county seat of, Otoe County, Nebraska, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 7,289.

Picnicking and shelters

A scenic open picnic shelter may be reserved online through the park reservation system.


There are 40 campsites, 24 with electrical hookups, modern shower and rest room facilities and a trailer dump station. The equestrian campground contains 32 campsites and non-modern rest room facilities. Advance campsite reservations can be made online through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.


There are 7 miles (11 km) of foot trails and 8 miles (13 km) of equestrian trails winding along ridges down into gorges and valleys. The Sunset Ridge Interpretive Trail provides visitors a chance to learn about many of the park's important plants and trees, as well as enjoy the views. Waubonsie State Park is a site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail route across the United States commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a route across the United States commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806. It is part of the National Trails System of the United States. It extends for some 3,700 miles (6,000 km) from Wood River, Illinois, to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon.

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Paha (landform)

Paha are landforms composed of prominent hills that are oriented from northwest to southeast and typically have large loess deposits. They developed during the period of mass erosion that developed the Iowan surface, and are considered erosional remnants and are often at interstream divides. Paha generally rise above the surrounding landscape more than 20 feet (6.1 m). The word paha means hill in Dakota Sioux. A well known Paha is the hill on which the town of Mount Vernon, Iowa developed.

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  1. "Waubonsie State Park". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey. 1979-04-30. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  2. Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "Waubonsie State Park" (PDF). Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved January 26, 2011.