Get off the beaten path and hit an Iowa trail. There’s a lot more to the great state of Iowa than flat farmland, and every single one of these trails will prove it. They will each lead you to a small town, historic site, amazing natural formation, and more.
1. Ledges State Park trails
Located near Boone, the Ledges State Park is a great place to check out because it contains trails that will take you to a massive gorge that is up to 100 feet in some places.
2. Maquoketa Caves State Park trails
Following the winding trails through Maquoketa Caves State Park will definitely lead you to unbelievable natural wonders. You’ll discover rugged bluffs, unique limestone formations, and amazing caves.
3. Lewis and Clark Trail: Council Bluffs to Onawa
Want to retrace the steps of Lewis and Clark? This amazing trail winds through many of the states they visited, but you can check out a portion of the trail from Council Bluffs to Onawa. On the trail, you’ll discover parks, historic sites, museums, and more.
4. Yellow River State Forest
The Yellow River State Forest is located in Allamakee County in northeast Iowa, near Harper’s Ferry. If you really want to get lost in nature, this is the place to do it. With 25 miles of trails, you’ll stumble upon stunning vistas, massive bluffs, and “backcountry” campsites.
5. Sac and Fox National Recreation Trail
Some of the best trails in Iowa are also a bit hidden. The Sac and Fox National Recreation Trail isn’t all that well known, but it’s well worth a visit. It provides a relaxing opportunity for you to enjoy nature. Walk off the beaten path and discover prairie and a unique riparian forest.
6. Des Moines Trails
Over the years, Des Moines has become a bike-friendly city. Today, there are 60 total miles of trails within the city, with 550 total miles of trails that lead in and out of the city. Connect to the Downtown Des Moines Trail Loops and you’ll find yourself at Gray’s Lake park.
7. Heritage Trail
Running from Dubuque to Dyersville in Dubuque County, the Heritage Trail is one of the most popular in the state because of the many selfie-worthy views of the Mississippi River Valley. You may also find yourself in a unique little town where you’ll want to spend the afternoon.
8. Pikes Peak State Park trails
If you really want to be wowed at the end of a trail, spend an afternoon walking the trails at Pikes Peak State Park. When you reach your destination, you’ll know it. The trail will lead you to an impressive 500-foot bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.
9. Backbone State Park trails
If you thought Pikes Peak was impressive, you should definitely check out the trails at Backbone State Park. The trails contain 21 miles of winding pathways. Follow them until you reach the highest point in northeast Iowa, known as the Devil’s Backbone.
10. Cedar Valley Nature Trail
The Cedar Valley Nature Trail is an impressive trail that runs between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids on an old railroad route. As you travel the trail, it will take you to a total of five towns that are all worth exploring.
11. Hitchcock Nature Area
The Hitchcock Nature Area is a fairly new park full of trails that wind through restored prairie and dark hollows. As you travel the trail, you’ll find yourself in the Loess Hills, a unique area of land that is unmatched by any other in the nation.
Hit the trails and let us know which one is your favorite.