The 947 acre Five Ridge Prairie, a dedicated state preserve in western Plymouth County, exemplifies the northern loess bluffs of western Iowa with a mixture of oak timbered valleys, native prairie ridge tops and west facing slopes. This unique loess landform site is home to several state threatened and endangered plant and animal species. It was also the site of the original wild turkey restoration stocking for Plymouth County. The public is invited to hike and enjoy Five Ridge year round.
Five Ridge Prairie offers new experiences during every season of the year. Pasque flowers are the first prairie wildflowers to bloom each spring, followed by the blues, yellows and oranges of all the other wildflowers that bloom throughout the remainder of the season. Each fall, the Ash and Cottonwood trees become ablaze in color, and the prairie turns a light golden color. After the leaves fall, you may be able catch a glimpse of the brilliantly colored bittersweet vine found sporadically in the trees. When Five Ridge Prairie was dedicated into the State Preserve system in 1986, it was the largest state preserve in Iowa. As you walk along the ridge tops at Five Ridge, your keen eye may notice faint remnants of army foxholes. Five Ridge was once a training area for the Iowa Army National Guard until about 1984. You will also notice areas of Five Ridge that look different due the effects of our prescribed fire program. Fire is used as a management tool to deter woody plants such as sumac and dogwood from overcoming the prairie. Fire is used spring, summer and fall to produce different effects on the prairie and woodlands.
Operating Hours & Seasons
Public hunting is permitted beginning the 3rd Saturday in September through January 31 according to IDNR regular seasons and hours. Spring wild turkey hunting is permitted all day, each day per IDNR seasons and regulations. Please no target shooting. Only foot traffic allowed to decrease erosion. Sorry, no horse or bike traffic.