The Five Ridge Prairie Cabin has been on my list of places to check out and my wife and I were recently heading back to Des Moines after visiting our daughter in South Dakota, so we made time to stop. We didn’t stay overnight but instead stopped just to take the hike up to the cabin to check out the view.
The cabin is just a few miles north of Sioux City into Plymouth County on highway 12 and there’s a gravel parking area just off the highway.
The trail is a dirt path with no steps and once you turn the first corner of the trail, it’s a continuous climb.
When you reach this sign, you still haven’t made it, turn the corner and there’s still more climbing to do.
Reaching the top of the hill is the highlight, with its views of the reserve to the west and then an open view east towards the Big Sioux River over into South Dakota.
They placed the cabin right on the top of the ridge to maximize the view.
This is a primitive cabin and has only one room. Did I say primitive? As in, no running water, no electricity, no indoor plumbing. Yes, that is correct. Not a problem for me, I could do that – but it would have to be a solo mission. My wife is a big fan of indoor plumbing.
Here’s what the cabin does have…
- A lofted bed room
- Futon that can sleep two more
- It has a solar powered light for night time (if you have a special adapter, you plug in something small like your cell phone). Otherwise, there is no power, no fridge.
- Propane for cooking
- They provide 5 gallons of water for each day you rent the cabin
- An outdoor, yet attached primitive outhouse
So would I stay at this cabin? As I mentioned, I would be running solo for that mission, my wife is definitely not joining me for this one. But yes, staying at this cabin is still on my list after visiting. There’s something about this location. They picked just the right spot and that’s what attracts me. This is the kinda place where you will sit in absolute quietness under thousands of shimmering stars as well as the place to be when the warmth of the sun first hits the tops of the hills. I could do without an electrical outlet for those types of moments. Yeah, I could do that.
If you’re interested in renting the cabin, visit their website for more information. The rental can range from $40 to $50 per night.
There are also over 40 miles of trails available throughout the reserve, here’s a map of their trail system.
Even if you have no intention of staying at the cabin, I would still recommend that you add this location to your bucket list. It actually turns out to be one of my favorite short hikes in Iowa – as the hike itself is less than a mile, has a rewarding view, and is worth checking out the cabin.
All photos and video by Brian Abeling / Iowa Road Trip