VocExile/Loess Hills /Preparation Park
The ridge road enters Preparation Park from the west. This is the portion of the park that just about all visitors experience. It leads to several picnic areas and trails. The drive is quite pretty, winding though forest for about half a mile. There are a few viewpoints where visitors can look out across the surrounding hill country.
The road from the main picnic area.
View southeast from one of the picnic areas.
View east from the main picnic area.
There are three hiking trails that lead down from the ridge road into Preparation Canyon. The springs that keep the bottom of the canyon permananently wet, and the heavy growth of tall trees makes the canyon into a real "rain forest" environment.
Views from the canyon trail.
This part of the park sees a lot fewer visitors than the ridge road, but it still has a lot to offer. Here the forests on the hills give way to some fine prairie. Though this part of the park is mostly undeveloped, there are some good trails here also. This is a good area to spot deer and other wildlife. Very dark sky conditions and the absence of any visible surface lighting should make this area ideal for star gazing.
A deer grazes in the center of this picture.
Preparation Canyon cuts into the hillside. Tall trees growing there make it almost invisible.
One of the trails climbs a prairie covered ridge.
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