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Old 05-05-2010, 02:49 PM
 
161 posts, read 579,467 times
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For many years, I had this belief that Iowa was really flat like the states to the west such as Nebraska and the Dakotas. But I have been to several parts of Iowa, and none of them have been flat, including Dubuque, Iowa City, and Council Bluffs, and actually some were very hilly.

I actually perfer flatter cities though since I walk a lot due to an inability to drive. Hills are especially hard in the winter. Which, if any, cities in Iowa are actually relatively flat?
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Coralville/Ames, IA
267 posts, read 1,136,698 times
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Central Iowa is relatively flat, the Ames-Des Moines area is considerably flatter than Iowa City or Dubuque. Also, much of northwest Iowa is very flat, the area around Storm Lake is some of the flattest land that I have seen in this state.

But there aren't many parts of Iowa that can compete with Nebraska.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Iowa
3,025 posts, read 3,338,887 times
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North central and much of northwestern Iowa to within 20 miles or so of the border of SD is very flat. A winter like this past one made it quite difficult to use the sidewalks. I would walk on quiet side streets and stay on the dry pavement tracks made from the road traffic. I can hear a car coming from 2 blocks away and step off to the side before I became a menace to traffic. The freezing and thawing leave many sidewalks more dangerous than the street, and many people don't clear off their sidewalks, and old sidewalks that have spots sunk below ground level will ice over till the ground thaws. If the street has light traffic and a low speed zone, and is hilly to boot, go for the street and keep your eyes and ears open.
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:42 PM
 
Location: I think my user name clarifies that.
8,292 posts, read 24,064,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailhiker View Post
For many years, I had this belief that Iowa was really flat like the states to the west such as Nebraska and the Dakotas. But I have been to several parts of Iowa, and none of them have been flat, including Dubuque, Iowa City, and Council Bluffs, and actually some were very hilly.

I actually perfer flatter cities though since I walk a lot due to an inability to drive. Hills are especially hard in the winter. Which, if any, cities in Iowa are actually relatively flat?
North Central and North West Iowa are going to be your only flat areas of the state - and even then (especially in NW Iowa) there are going to be some pretty good hills. There are also a few flat areas in South Central Iowa.

But you are right. Iowa is NOT one big, flat corn field!
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:12 PM
 
Location: St. Paul, MN
320 posts, read 749,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iowegian View Post
But there aren't many parts of Iowa that can compete with Nebraska.
I think there's a common misconception that both Iowa and Nebraska are really flat states. I've traveled extensively throughout all states in the Midwest, and most of IA and NE are hilly. NE is hilly pretty much anywhere you go that's away from I-80. Almost the whole state is hilly. There isn't a huge amount of elevation differential between the tops of the hills and bottoms of the valleys, but much if not most of the topography is on a slope. My guess as to why everybody thinks NE is so flat is that their introduction to NE is driving across it on I-80, which follows the perfectly flat Platte river valley almost all the way across the state. You can't see the hills from I-80, but drive 5-10 miles in either direction from it pretty much anywhere in the state and you'll be in the hills.

Iowa has different topography in different regions. North central Iowa, extending into part of NE Iowa is the only "flat" area. The entire southern third of the state is gently rolling hills with a few flat spots here and there. Most of NW Iowa is flat, but the western edge of the state is the Loess Hills, quite sharp topography in places. Going west on, say, 20, you drive past flat cornfields for aeons and aeons and then the hills start and you go up and down big hills for perhaps 20-30 miles before you hit the Missouri river. Far NE Iowa is incredibly hilly, definitely the hilliest part of the state. You'll drive northward or eastward on straight roads through flat cornfields, but then once you reach a certain place - and it's pretty much a well-defined curve across the state - you'll suddenly find yourself going down an enormous hill, and from that point to the edge of the state you'll be going up and down big hills and around curves. Drive in to Dubuque on highway 20. 20 stays southward of the beginning of the hills until you're only a few miles out of town, so it's pretty much flat with a few slight ups and downs, but then suddenly you go around a few curves and down an enormous hill they call the mile-long hill, and you're suddenly in the hilliest city in the state. Dubuque is my favorite city in Iowa because of its hills and bluffs and confusing streets built on the hills.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Scott County, IA
509 posts, read 1,050,692 times
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Everything is relatively flat compared to the driftless zone in the NE.
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