Council Bluffs, population 58,000, has a rich Native American and westward expansion trails history. One of the nation's largest railroad centers, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads united here. Council Bluff sits along the scenic Loess Hills and offers a variety of entertainment venues, casinos, and outdoor activities, and access to nearby Omaha, Nebraska.
Explorations of Council Bluffs' past should start at the Western Historic Trails Center. Here hiking and biking trails, reenactments, and exhibits mix to tell the tale of the Lewis and Clark, Mormon, California, and Oregon trails. The 56-foot Golden Spike Monument honors the city's railroad past and the RailsWest Railroad Museum and Union Pacific Railroad Museum offer interpretive displays and artifacts.
From Council Bluffs visitors can take the 220 mile Loess Hills National Scenic Byway north or south. The byway follows rugged ridges, bluffs, and saddles that are covered by windblown silt deposits. These archaeologically rich hills rise out of the Missouri River valley and offer views of the valley, woodlands, and prairies.
County parks offer camping, trails for hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, ice fishing, canoeing/kayaking, and sledding and tubing runs. Hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing are popular activities along the 60-mile Wabash Trace Nature Trail. ATV Park provides trails for off-roading along 354 acres. Four golf courses offer driving ranges and 9- and 18-hole greens. Mount Cresent Ski Area is located just north of Council Bluffs.
Council Bluffs is located in southwestern Iowa. It is directly across the border from Omaha, Nebraska and 130 miles southwest of Des Moines. It is accessible via Interstate Highways 29/680 and 80. There are many lodging options in Council Bluffs and in Omaha including: national motel/hotel chains and bed and breakfasts.