Road Closure This Spring
By Kate Simmons, Pottawattamie County Conservation Community Relations Coordinator
Beginning April 10th, 2017 there will be a road closure on Highway L20, the Old Lincoln Highway. Fans of Hitchcock Nature Center may recognize this as the road connecting our park to the town of Crescent. Highway L20 is the corridor most of our traffic from the south travels on their way to the park. We’ve been told that this road will be closed from April 10th through an unspecified date in early June, weather dependent of course. This closure is for the construction of a new bridge and while we are excited about the improvements we recognize the difficulty this will pose for many of our campers, program attendees, runners, hikers, and all of our guests to the park.
To help with the travel changes we have put together a couple of detour options for you as you travel to the park this spring. With a little planning and extra time allowance you should have no trouble reaching us for programs and fun between now and June.
Detour #1 – This is the official detour that will be posted by the county. This detour will route people farther north on Interstate I29 to the town of Loveland. Once you are in Loveland you will head east on DeSoto and south on Highway L20. This detour will keep you on hard surface roads … BUT … our RV campers will need to beware. Once you make the turn on to DeSoto the road travels through a low one-lane tunnel with a clearance of only 11′. Tall or wide campers will not be able to fit through this tunnel.
Detour #2 – This detour routes our travelers even farther north, to the town of Missouri Valley. Take Interstate I29 north to the Missouri Valley, IA exit and turn east onto Highway 30, follow Highway 30 into town and turn right at the 4th set of stoplights on to Highway L20, follow L20 south to the park. This detour will also keep you on hard surface roads but it will add travel time on to your drive. This route also poses a difficulty for our large RV’s as it features a railroad trestle tunnel with a clearance of 12’5″. Most campers will be able to make it through this tunnel but please be aware of your height and don’t forget your AC unit.
Detour #3 – This detour takes visitors on a twisty-turny drive along gravel roads but does not feature any clearance issues for our RV campers. Take Interstate I29 south to the Honey Creek exit, turn and head east on Rosewood Rd which becomes 152nd St. This road winds around and becomes Sumac Rd which connects you to Highway L20 just north of the town of Honey Creek. Turn and head south on L20 and follow it through town to the park. Remember as you travel gravel roads to take it slow and allow extra stopping time, avoid traveling in the middle of the road as you come around curves, and be aware of area farmers as they move between fields on this route.
There are also many gravel roads in the area that you can use to bypass the closure but we have opted to focus on the detour routes listed above to simplify travel and keep our detours as direct as possible. Feel free to explore other options if you are adventurous but be aware that staff at the park may not be able to assist you by phone if you are not on one of our detours. Not all of our staff and volunteers are from the area and know the backcountry roads well enough to offer comprehensive help should you become lost. If you choose to travel using a GPS unit or application our park address is:
Hitchcock Nature Center
27792 Ski Hill Loop
Honey Creek, IA 51542
There are too many detours to name and our visitors come from all directions so we have done our best to highlight the options we think will be of most use to the majority of our visitors. Please consult maps, both paper and online, to plan the route that works best for you. Just remember to allow a little extra time and enjoy the scenery.