Escape into Nature


Indian Creek Nature Center welcomes visitors to nature-inspired events, educational programs and seven miles of trails across wetlands, prairies and woodlands.

Where to Begin Your Escape


Cedar Overlook Trail

Whether your escape into nature involves hikes in the woods, watching the kids chase frogs, or settling onto a bench in the middle of a prairie, Indian Creek Nature Center has a space for you.


Monarch Fest

Come celebrate nature in all seasons with special events occurring throughout the year that shine a light on the mysteries, joys and discoveries you can find in nature.


Learn the secrets of the natural world, and ways to interact responsibly with nature, at a variety of environmental education programs designed for all ages.

Benefits of Escaping into Nature

Fall foliage at Indian Creek Nature Center

Time spent in nature has been shown to provide a variety of health benefits, and the exciting part is that it doesn’t require a weeklong escape into the mountains. Even as little as twenty minutes in nature can make a difference for your physical and mental wellbeing.

A study published in Frontiers in Psychology shows that spending twenty minutes in nature during the daytime is enough to effectively lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. This can improve an individual’s mood and stress, although the limited scope of the study doesn’t prove it works for everyone.

Nature can also be good for your eye health. A study in Canada shows that one additional hour outside per week can reduce a child’s risk of developing myopia (nearsightedness) by about 14 percent.Being outside is also closely linked with getting enough Vitamin D and walking out in nature is a fun and low impact way to get the recommended amount of exercise. This only scratches the surface on the variety of health benefits that you can find when you escape into nature.

Places to Explore at Indian Creek

Věčný Woods

Věčný Woods features 1.7 miles of trails through 55 acres of secluded woodlands, with some of the most challenging terrain on any of Indian Creek Nature Center’s trails. There’s also a small loop around a budding prairie that was restored in 2021.

Cedar Overlook

Bench on Cedar Overlook Trail

Escape into the woods on the Cedar Overlook Trail, which offers views of the Indian Creek Nature Center grounds and the Cedar River valley, and connects to the trail crossing the historic Blue Bridge.

Lynch Wetland

Lynch Wetland

Explore the restored wetland, where you can find turtles, frogs, dragonflies and more. Then follow the Wood Duck Way trail through the woodlands to the ephemeral pond.

More About Indian Creek Nature Center

Indian Creek Nature Center is a place where nature thrives, curiosity grows and opportunities flourish.

Amazing Space
Indian Creek Nature Center volunteer
Thriving Nature 

Opportunities to connect people with nature begin with creating outdoor spaces that are inviting, inspiring and indispensable. Indian Creek Nature Center is committed to the important work of preserving, restoring and stewarding the land so our community has spaces where they can fall in love with nature again and again.

Nearly 500 acres of land are under the protection of Indian Creek Nature Center. These acres include one of the most sustainable and accessible buildings in Iowa, and seven miles of trails winding through woodlands, prairies and wetlands, where you can escape into nature.

Growing Curiosity

Indian Creek Nature Center was founded in 1973 to provide Eastern Iowa with a home for environmental education. We welcome curious minds of all ages to educational programs and nature-inspired events that celebrate the beauty and mystery of nature in all seasons.

Field trips to the Nature Center began in the 1970s, and today Indian Creek Nature Center educates Champions of Nature with a nature-based preschool, elementary-aged daytime and after school programs, and adult workshops on beekeeping, raising chickens and more.

Flourishing Opportunities

Indian Creek Nature Center’s nonprofit mission is to promote a more sustainable future by nurturing individuals through environmental education, providing leadership in land protection and restoration, and encouraging responsible interaction with nature.

By creating spaces and events in nature, people of all ages and abilities can meet nature, fall in love with nature, and become Champions of Nature. As the largest, and first, independent nonprofit nature center in Iowa, this mission is only achievable with the ongoing support of volunteers, donors and members. You can be a part of helping nature thrive by getting involved today!