Iowa November 09, 2016
11 Places In Iowa You Thought Only Existed In Your Imagination
If you closed your eyes and pictured Iowa, you’d probably picture rolling farmlands, quaint small towns and big skylines. But you’d be surprised how many places you wouldn’t picture when you closed your eyes that are actually right here in Iowa, just waiting to be explored. These 11 places in Iowa are the stuff dreams are made of.
1. Crystal Lake Cave, Dubuque
The Crystal Lake Caves in Dubuque are other-worldly in their mystical beauty. The caves were formed over millions of years as slow-moving groundwater carved layers of limestone. You’ll definitely think you’ve landed on a different planet.
2. Loess Hills, Western Iowa
The Loess Hills are some of the most unique landscape in the state. They are home to some of the largest remaining prairie remnants in Iowa, and they are a refuge for many plants and animals that can’t be found anywhere else in Iowa.
3. The Grotto of the Redemption, West Bend
Often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Grotto of the Redemption is jaw-dropping. It’s the largest manmade grotto in the world, and it houses the largest collection of precious stones and gems found in one place.
4. Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor
Pikes Peak State Park is a lush and gorgeous place that offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the state. Explore the trail system and make sure to go to the scenic, 500-foot overlook for a spectacular view of the Mississippi River.
5. Maquoketa Caves State Park, Maquoketa
Maquoketa Caves State Park is like something out of a fairy tale. It contains six miles of trails, an incredible caves system to explore and lush, gorgeous scenery that will take your breath away.
6. Devonian Fossil Gorge, Coralville
The Devonian Fossil Gorge is literally the bottom of a prehistoric sea. How cool is that? It was exposed by the flood of 1993 and expanded by the flood of 2008. There are 375-million-year-old fossils there that are older than the dinosaurs.
7. Malanaphy Spring Falls, Decorah
Located in Winneshiek County, Malanaphy Spring Falls is a magical waterfall that looks like something you’d find in a different world. It’s located on the Upper Iowa River near Bluffton.
8. West Okoboji Lake, Okoboji
West Okoboji Lake has long been thought to be only one of three blue water lakes in the world. While that myth has been officially busted, it doesn’t mean West Okoboji’s water isn’t blue to the eye. It is a crisp, beautiful blue lake that many Iowans enjoy visiting during the warm weather months for its exceptional water quality and beauty.
9. Effigy Mounds National Monument
Effigy Mounds National Monument is a collection of around 200 Native American-built mounds. They are all shaped as different animals. The monument has a trail system that is as beautiful as it is interesting.
10. The Swinging Bridge, Columbus Junction
The swinging bridge, which is also known as Lover’s Leap Bridge, is in a beautiful wooded area over a ravine. Legend has it that it is haunted by a heartbroken Native-American maiden who jumped off the bridge to her death.
11. High Trestle Bridge, Madrid
The High Trestle Bridge is a spectacular half-mile bridge over the Des Moines River. Perfect for walking and biking, this bridge is one of the largest trail bridges in the world, and it is breathtakingly beautiful when lit up at night.
Do you like to explore Iowa’s off-the-beaten-path destinations? Here are 11 Places In Iowa That Are Off The Beaten Path But Worth The Trip.