We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Pine Lake State Park, Eldora
Located in Eldora, Pine Lake State Park has a large trail system that's great for biking and jogging. The scenery is lovely, and there are paved and rocky parts of the trail. If you get hot after your hike, there’s a sandy beach where you can take a dip and cool off.
2. Mississippi River Trail (MRT)
The Mississippi River Trail (MRT) runs through 10 states and about 3000 miles. There are several spots along the river where you can join the trail in Iowa, get some exercise and fresh air and admire the scenic views of the river and its wildlife.
3. Heritage Trail
The Heritage Trail stretches 26 miles from Dyersville to Dubuque. There are so many beautiful things to look at while you hike, like woodlands, limestone bluffs, wetlands and prairies.
4. Wapsipinicon State Park
The Wapsipinicon State Park is stunning and is one of Iowa’s oldest state parks. The woods, river and limestone bluffs make a feast for the eyes as you meander through the park’s lovely trails.
5. Wabash Trace Nature Trail
The Wabash Trace Nature Trail runs through Loess Hills, a unique formation of wind-deposited loess soil. As you walk along the trail, you can enjoy a wide array of natural beauty and wildlife.
6. Ledges State Park
Ledges State Park is located near Boone, Iowa, and is one of the most beautiful state parks in Iowa. You can enjoy the overlooks, wildflowers, water and other beautiful scenery while hiking its 5.4-mile trail.
7. Hitchcock Nature Area
The Hitchcock Nature Center is a sprawling 1,268 acres and is located in the heart of the Loess Hills. It is one of the largest prairie remnants in Iowa. Hitchcock is open every day of the year for your hiking enjoyment.
8. Old Creamery Nature Trail
Running about 15 miles from Vinton to Dysart, The Old Creamery Trail is great for a light day hike. Some areas of the trail are rough limestone, but it’s still easy to hike along the trail and enjoy the passing scenery.
9. Maquoketa Caves State Park
The Maquoketa Caves State Park is a stunning and one-of-a-kind natural destination. The park has six miles of trails, lush woods, a waterfall and amazing caves to explore.
10. Trout Run Trail
The The Trout Run Trail is a 12-mile loop around the lovely Decorah, Iowa. This trail is paved for easy walking or biking and offers some of Iowa’s most amazing scenic beauty, including limestone bluffs and the Upper Iowa River.
11. Wildcat Den State Park
Wildcat Den State Park is in Muscatine and has an abundance of lovely trails. As you hike, you can enjoy the spectacular cliffs, rock formations and interesting sites along the way, like "Steamboat Rock," "Devil's Punch Bowl" and " Fat Man's Squeeze."
12. Pikes Peak State Park
McGregor’s Pikes Peak State Park is easily one of the most naturally beautiful destinations in Iowa. As you hike, you can take in the beautiful wooded areas, bluffs, Bridal Veil Waterfall and the overlook that offers stunning views of the Mississippi River.
13. Iowa Great Lakes Trail
A 14-mile trail, the Iowa Great Lakes Trail passes through the gorgeous Iowa Great Lakes region. This area includes Spirit Lake, Okoboji, West Okoboji, Arnolds Park, Milford and Lake Park, and it is some of the most beautiful waterfront hiking you can find in the state.
14. High Trestle Trail
This trail is so cool, because it passes over the High Trestle Trail Bridge, one of the largest trail bridges in the world. Aside from the bridge, the trail boasts 25 miles of hiking or biking through Ankeny, Sheldahl, Slater, Madrid and Woodward.
15. Hoover Nature Trail
Hoover Nature Trail (HNT) is interesting not only for its natural beauty but because it follows the old Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad route between Burlington and Cedar Rapids.The trail is 24 miles long and is great for biking, hiking, jogging, walking, cross-country skiing, and more.
16. Gray’s Lake Park Trail
What a beautiful trail this is. Located in Gray’s Lake Park in Des Moines, the loop around the lake offers a lovely and leisurely walk along the waterfront.