Hayden Prairie State Preserve is 240 acres of tall grass prairie, the largest in eastern Iowa, and managed by the DNR’s Wildlife Bureau. This natural prairie is an attraction for a variety of wildlife, birds, and wildflowers.
Hayden Prairie is named after Dr. Ada Hayden, a former professor of botany at Iowa State University and a strong advocate of prairie preservation in Iowa. It is located near the towns of Lime Springs and Chester in northwest Howard County, about 5 miles south of the Minnesota border. Hayden Prairie is one of Iowa’s best prairie remnants. This 240-acre prairie, purchased in 1945 was the first prairie to be acquired by the state and in 1966 it was renamed a national registered landmark. Two years later Hayden Prairie was designated as a state preserve by the state of Iowa.