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Ottumwa Stories: Wapello County's Winter Wonderland

Published December 28, 2023

When winter settles into Southeast Iowa, there’s no better place to find snowy adventures than in Wapello County. Here are just a few examples of how you can enjoy Ottumwa and the neighboring communities as the temperature drops.

On the Wapello County Trails: Enjoy the scenic Des Moines River this winter from the Wapello County Trail System. The 16-mile trail system includes a 5K John Deere Loop, a 1-mile loop between Market Street and the Wabash Bridge, two loops through Greater Ottumwa Park, and a 1-mile section by Gray Eagle Wildlife Preserve. This is the perfect time of year to use the trails on snowshoes or cross-country skis.

Pioneer Ridge Nature Area: This two-story nature center has displays and a full-time naturalist, along with 15 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. The two modern, 4-season cabins at Pioneer Ridge Nature Area, Burr Oak Cabin and White Oak Cabin, offer guests the opportunity to connect to the natural world with some modern luxuries. The cabins have full bathrooms, sleep six, and have geothermal heating and cooling.

Winter Disc Golf AwaitsDie-hard disc golfers will love playing Wapello County’s eight disc golf courses, regardless of the weather. Winter disc golf enthusiasts will find beautiful landscapes and challenging holes, and each course has special qualities that make them favorites for different reasons. In Ottumwa, you’ll find courses at Indian Hills Community College, Memorial Park, Franklin Park, Wildwood Park, and Christ's Church (must contact the church). Courses around Wapello County can also be found at Sandy Dunes in Eddyville, Chippewa Creek in Eldon, and just south of Ottumwa at the Pioneer Ridge Nature Area.

Year-Round Attractions: Our favorite museums, attractions, and galleries are open all year round, so come join us regardless of the season! Take your Christmas card picture at the American Gothic House & Center. Tour the Antique Airplane Association’s Air Power Museum. Learn Wapello County’s history at the Iowa Heartland History Connection. Drive the Wapello County Freedom Trail.

And click HERE for even more winter-friendly activities!

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