Iowa August 14, 2017
The Most Awesome Hike In Iowa That Will Take You To An Abandoned Castle
It’s technically owned by the City of Winterset, and was built many years ago as a memorial to the first settlers in the area.
Clark Tower is accessible via a 2-mile round trip hike through Winterset City Park.
Built in 1926 on Madison County’s 80th anniversary as a tribute to the first pioneer family to settle here, this native limestone castle is 12 feet in diameter and 25 feet tall.
This castle, built by the descendants of the Clark family in their memory, offers incredible views of the Middle River Valley.
Caleb and Ruth Clark were early pioneers in Iowa. They settled in Madison County in the 1800s.
Caleb and Ruth were parents to fourteen children. Many of their descendants still reside in the Winterset area.
The Clark family donated funds and labor to build the castle. One of Caleb and Ruth’s sons, Joshua Clark, was a stone mason like his father. Together with Delvert Clark, Sam Rogers, Henry Wilkinson, and Everett Clark, he built the castle. It was the last project he completed before his death.
Visitors should be aware that getting to the top of this tower involves a steep climb up a spiral staircase.
The views are worth the effort, though. People who don’t like heights may find the castle a bit intimidating.
The park is open dawn to dusk.
It’s possible to drive to the tower, but the road is one way, unpaved, narrow, and in poor condition, so use caution.
Signs at the entrance to the Winterset City Park make finding the trail easy.
If you decide to drive instead of hiking to the castle, take the 10 miles per hour sign seriously. The trail has sharp turns and it’s a good idea to go slow.
Bring your camera, of course.
You'll be glad you did when you see what's at the top of this castle.
For the most stunning views, try to time your visit near sunset.
The changing leaves in autumn make for an amazing scene, as well.
You can see the surrounding Middle River Valley area for miles on a clear day.
For the best view, be prepared to climb a spiral staircase followed by a steep metal ladder.
Winterset City Park covers a huge area. There’s a lot to do in addition to seeing Clark’s Tower.
A hedge maze, playground, one of the Bridges of Madison County, and lovely camping areas are all great reasons to spend time at this amazing park.
Have you seen Iowa’s castle? What did you think? Are there any other places in Iowa that offers amazing views of the landscape?