Whether you’re up for an outdoor adventure this winter or you would rather just sit inside the warm house and admire pictures of the snow, these breathtaking winter hikes in Iowa will completely drop your jaw this season. (If we ever get any snow, that is.)

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Iowa is beautiful during any season – especially winter. Do you know of any more jaw-dropping places to visit this winter? Share them with us in the comments below! And if you need to buy more for your winter wardrobe, check out REI.

Want to learn more about Iowa’s winters? Read about one of the worst Iowa blizzards in history.

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Winter Hikes In Iowa

Is Iowa the coldest state?

Iowa is not the coldest state in the United States. While it does experience cold winters, several other states, particularly those in the northern Midwest, the Mountain West, and Alaska, typically have colder temperatures.

States like North Dakota, Minnesota, Alaska, and Maine are known for having more extreme winter temperatures than Iowa. For instance, Minnesota and North Dakota often record lower average winter temperatures due to their more northern location and the influence of Canadian air masses. Being the farthest north and having areas within the Arctic Circle, Alaska experiences the most extreme cold in the U.S., with some regions enduring prolonged periods of very low temperatures during winter.

What are the winters like in Iowa?

Winters in Iowa are typically cold, with considerable snowfall. Here's a breakdown of what to expect during winter in Iowa:

  • Temperatures: Iowa experiences cold temperatures during the winter months. Average daily highs in December, January, and February range from the low 20s to low 30s degrees Fahrenheit (-6 to 1 degree Celsius), while nighttime lows often drop well below freezing, sometimes reaching into the single digits or lower, especially in the northern parts of the state.
  • Snowfall: Snow is a common feature in Iowa winters. The state averages about 30 to 40 inches of snow annually, though this can vary greatly yearly and from one region to another. Northern Iowa typically receives more snow than southern Iowa.
  • Wind and Ice: Iowa can experience brisk winds during the winter, which can lead to wind chill factors significantly lowering the perceived temperature. Ice storms and freezing rain are common, potentially leading to hazardous driving conditions and power outages.
  • Blizzards: The state can occasionally experience blizzards characterized by heavy snowfall, strong winds, and low visibility. These conditions can be dangerous, causing travel disruptions and other challenges.
  • Variability: Iowa's winter weather can be quite variable. Warm periods, known as "thaws," can occur, where temperatures rise significantly for short periods, sometimes leading to rapid snowmelt and subsequent freezing.
  • Preparation: Due to the cold and snowy conditions, Iowans typically prepare for winter with appropriate clothing, winterizing homes, and equipping vehicles for snowy and icy conditions.


If you're in Iowa during the winter, expect cold temperatures, regular snowfall, and the potential for severe winter weather events like blizzards and ice storms. It's a season that requires preparation and caution, especially regarding travel and outdoor activities.

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