Loess Hills Hideaway Cabins & Preparation Canyon State Park

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Loess Hills Hideaway Cabins are the perfect couples or family getaway in western Iowa, and are also pet friendly cabins. You’re only minutes away from Loess Hills State Forest which includes the Preparation Canyon State Park, but otherwise this location is secluded from modern conveniences.

We had to accept that we may not be doing any big travel for the time being, and found this was the perfect weekend away as a couple and our dog Zora.

Loess Hills Hideway Cabin – The Lodge

If you go to the Loess Hills Hideaway website, they have seven different cabins available to choose from.

We chose the Lodge Cabin as we thought it’d be perfect for us since it had an attached bathroom (the smaller four cabins do not, there’s a bath house that’s a short walk away but also has laundry facilities as well), had such fun cabin theme-ing, and we didn’t need anything larger for just the two of us and the dog.

Another great perk of this trip was that we were able to bring our dog to the cabins as well, which Zora definitely loved!

The pricing of all the cabins are very reasonable, and only a small per night fee added for bringing your dog, definitely cheaper than taking her to a boarding facility.

The cabin itself had a very cozy feel, but plenty of room for cooking, dining, and relaxing.

With the Lodge you will truly feel hidden away since you cannot even get cell service, which honestly was nice to feel disconnected from everything besides taking pictures. If you do need cell service, you can walk up the hill a little ways towards the other cabins and the bath house.

Red Cabin Office
Loess Hills Hideaway Cabins – Office

Bedrooms & Bathrooms

There’s a main bedroom with a queen bed and another bedroom with a bunk bed. Neither one have a lot of room for storage beyond a duffle bag or two, but there’s plenty of space to place your things in the dining and living area as well as needed.

Overall the place is nice and clean, and if anyone has COVID concerns, they do have cleaning supplies (which you do need to do some basic cleaning before you leave) or you could bring your own cleaning wipes to sanitize frequently touched areas before you get settled.

Make sure to bring your own pillows and blankets for the beds and your own towels. Bathroom has a standing shower, toilet and sink, and is overall small, but does the job.

Kitchen & Dining

The kitchen is fully stocked with most any utensil, eating/serving dishes, cooking and baking item you may need. We did bring our own cast iron pan to cook on the grill provided outside along with some charcoal, which is how we prepared all our meals because what’s better than grilling outside on a cabin trip?!

There was another big grill there, but we stuck with the smaller round one and that worked perfectly for our meals.

I prepped some of our food before we got there, which was nice to not have to do as much clean up during every meal. Mainly cut up some watermelon at home, bagged our steaks in the marinade I made for it, bagged up our sack lunches to bring on our hike, etc.

You are asked to clean and put away any items used before you leave, and there is not a dishwasher so you will be hand washing everything.

Living Room

The living area has a love seat and a bigger couch, and the cute bar/breakfast nook for additional seating on either side.

There’s a TV above the bar area to view from the couches, you get some basic cable channels, and a basic DVD player, but I don’t think you can even fast forward, rewind or pause the DVD player, so just be ready to either watch the entire movie or not.

Again, for any COVID concerns, the couches and surfaces could also be easily wiped down before settling in. Another note is that the cabin does have working A/C and worked great for us.

Outdoor & Backyard

There’s plenty of seating all around the cabin. In the front there are lots of nice picnic tables, and in the back side there was another picnic table and a wire table set. We brought our own folding chairs to have around the fire, which worked out nicely to hold our drinks or marshmallows.

The “Woodhaven” was right next to the lodge with firewood available for sale for any guest. Although sometimes you get other guests thinking you might work there since you’re right next to the office, but not a big deal.

There was a sign on the office door on where to pay for the bundles of wood. There were lots of tall trees above the fire pit which provided nice shade and scenery until the sun went down.

Red Cabin-Like building with a hanging sign "Woodhaven" with bundles of firewood available
Woodhaven at Loess Hills Hideaway Cabins & Campground

Savery Pond

There is also a nice sized pond within a ten minute walk of the cabins (at the entrance) where we saw some people doing some fishing and we were thinking we could take our kayaks next time. We walked there and let our dog take a quick dip, but that’s about it.

Preparation Canyon State Park – Loess Hills

You can learn a little history about Preparation Canyon State Park on the Iowa DNR website here, but it makes up part of the Loess Hills State Forest. Here’s another link about the Loess Hills State Forest from Iowa DNR here.

There are also two maps provided for Preparation Canyon showing where the trails are, the restrooms, shelter, hike-in camping sites, etc. We ended up using our Google GPS on our phones since it had the trail markings noted there as well, which was super handy.

The first mile or so you will walk up a steep hill and truly be on top of the Loess Hills and see some great scenic views. The incline can be tough, but this first mile you could probably take older kids with you pretty easily.

Some sections later on (more in the swampy area) I’d be a little more nervous to bring kids with unless they don’t mind roughing it a bit more.

At the top and overlooking the Loess Hills at Preparation Canyon State Park

We walked most all of the park trails, with the exception of a few routes that led into those hike-in camping sites, and there are a variety of scenic routes and incline/decline throughout. My gear watch registered walking 47 floors that day alone!

Up close photos of pink and gold Samsung Gear Watch with 14,867 steps completed, and climbed 47 floors from the hike
My Samsung Gear Watch registered 47 floors climbed by the end!

Now, it’s no surprise since it’s August and muggy here in Iowa, and there’s a small creek running through this park, but there are a number of spider webs and little bugs on the trail.

I have to admit, I’m a wimp to spiders, so if you’re braver than me, or have a husband leading the way, then you’ll be fine! I’m sure it’s not quite so bad in the spring or fall, and luckily we didn’t get any mosquito bites, I’m assuming since we kept moving.

Ticks didn’t really seem to be a problem either, we checked ourselves and our dog afterwards and had no problems.

If you do want to get to the shelter area, you will have to cross a swampy area where there are some logs and boards sort of on top of the mud, but for us it was super muddy and not very stable and got more narrow with taller grass, so it started to get a bit sketchy.

But once we got through that, the shelter area was nice for taking a quick lunch and sit down break. That’s also where the restrooms would be, unfortunately they were closed at the time.

To avoid that swampy area on the way back, we walked the road a bit to another entrance to the trails from the upper perimeter and made our way back. I’ll leave some more pictures below to show the different scenery we ran into on our hike.

Overall this made the perfect weekend getaway with our dog Zora since they are pet friendly cabins, and we have hopes to visit again during the winter months as well. There’s still so much to explore at the rest of the Loess Hills scenic area, and will definitely share more as we go back!

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