Rock Island Botanical Preserve

Rock Island Botanical Preserve
The original 20-acre section of the preserve was donated to the Linn County Conservation Board by the Rock Island Railroad Company in 1962. Because of its unique habitat, it was included in the Iowa state preserve system in 1978. In 2002, nearly 100 acres adjacent to the preserve were donated to the Conservation Board by James Properties, Inc., and added to the Preserve.   

Rock Island Preserve consists of several unique habitats – dry upland sand prairies, sand prairie with oak savanna, wetlands and woodlands with upland, lowland and wet habitats. Topographical features vary from rolling hills in the East to level along the Cedar River to the West. The area is exceptionally rich in plant species diversity (491 species), including 15 species identified as rare or species of special concern. Four rare species of butterflies and skippers have been found here, as well as the state-threatened Blanding’s and ornate box turtles. 


The Rock Island Preserve is located at 4501 Preserve Ln.  Take 42nd Street west from I-380, just past Xavier High School - turn north on Preserve Way.  For a map of the area, click here. 


- Trails, mowed turf (0.6 mile)
- Small parking lot

- Nature study
- Hiking
- Photography

Operating Hours & Seasons

Sunrise to Sunset