The View From Hanover Bluff

The SVAD From Hanover Bluff

After a long hard climb to the top of the bluff, we were rewarded with a fantastic view of the valley below. No trails led to this open area on top of the wooded bluff, well over 100 feet above the flat Mississippi River valley, but we managed to navigate our way up and find the only clearing on the bluff,

This portion of Hanover Bluff is part of a large wooded series of rolling hills and stone cliffs. Most of this area is restricted, so the public is not allowed to enter. The areas we were initially looking for were clearly marked "Restricted" so we continued until we found an area that was not closed to hiking. While we weren't able to explore the rocky cliffs we came so far to find, we did manage to find an elusive clearing with a great view.

High Above the Mississippi Valley

Below us was the old Savanna Army Depot (SVAD), a sprawling military installation used between 1917 and 2000. Zooming into the images here, you can clearly see dozens of buildings in this installation. Even farther away are farms across the Mississippi River in Iowa.

This area was very difficult for us to reach, the hills were very steep, and at times, we slid down uncontrollably, only to have to climb back up. Ever careful of stepping on plants or small creatures, we slowly made our way up until we reached the clearing.

With every intention of climbing the rolling, wooded hills all the way to the rock cliffs, we headed toward their general direction with no trail or markers to follow. A short distance later, we encountered another "Restricted" sign; this ended our exploration for that particular hike. A future hike in the area is planned, and with any luck, we'll received authorization to explore the restricted areas including the rocky cliffs of Hanover Bluff.

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