Hanson Prairie Preserve

This 30 acre tall-grass prairie is a “labor-of-love” product of Dick and Lou Hanson who began converting a creek bottom farm field to a warm season tallgrass prairie environment in the mid 1980’s. The Hansons, who resided adjacent to the preserve, donated their prairie to the Madison County Foundation for Environmental Education (MCFEE). In the summer of 2000, the Madison County Conservation Board entered into a management agreement with MCFEE and oversees and manages the area as a prairie preserve and will continue to incorporate a diversity of wildflower species.

The prairie is divided into two segments as Cedar Creek meanders through the middle of the prairie preserve. The public is encouraged to come and explore the “tallgrass prairie” ecosystem that once covered over 90 percent of the State of Iowa. Hunting is not allowed.

Facilities & FeaturesHP north fall1

  • Approximately 30 acres of tallgrass prairie
  • Cedar Creek
  • Walking Trails
  • Parking area on northwest corner of North prairie parcel and additional parking area on Southwest corner of South prairie parcel.


Hiking: Users can walk the trails that encircle the prairies

Nature study: Users are encouraged to get off the trail and explore the prairie ecosystem. This is an excellent area to locate grasslands and “thicket” type bird species. Cedar Creek also makes this area a good sight to locate amphibians and reptiles.


From Winterset 1 ½ miles east on State Highway 92, turn north on Natural Trail for 1 3/4 mile. Route is marked by standard County Park arrowhead roadside directional signs once turning on to Natural Trail.

911 Address: NA
GPS Coordinates (UTM @ parking area): X:418520 Y:4580035, UTM Zone 15