The Best Waterfall Road Trip In Iowa Takes You To Eight Cascades
Iowa may be a landlocked state, but that doesn’t mean we’re lacking in water features. Need proof? The following is the best waterfall road trip in Iowa; it will take you to see eight stunning cascades that tumble down through bluffs, cliffs, and spillways of the Hawkeye State. After scouring the state, we picked out eight of the very best waterfalls that offer relatively easy access, and then we mapped them out in an easy-to-follow route. The total trip is 434 miles of incredible scenery, with an estimated drive time of about eight and a half hours. We’ve included a link to the Google Map here.
The road trip is long, and you’ll want time to enjoy each of the beautiful natural wonders you’re stopping to see, so we suggest spacing the trip out over a weekend to get maximum enjoyment out of your Iowa Waterfalls Road Trip. For more about each stop, read on!
Now that you don’t have to spend hours planning your Iowa Waterfall Road Trip, you can spend your time enjoying it instead!
If you’re looking for more scenic trip ideas, you’ll want to check out this list of the most breathtakingly beautiful Iowa road trips.
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Best Waterfall Road Trip In Iowa
What are the best family-friendly hikes in Iowa?
Some of the easiest hikes in the Hawkeye State make for great family outings! For younger walkers or kids in strollers, a trek along the paved trail around Gray's Lake in Des Moines makes for a scenic break from city life. A short walk across the famous High Trestle Trail bridge is sure to entertain kids and adults as well - as long as nobody is afraid of heights! For older kids or children with a real sense of adventure, the hike to Malanaphy Springs along the Upper Iowa River is sure to be a favorite. There are plenty of short hills and cliffs to climb on the way to the waterfall! In the summer, it's fun to run through the falls to cool off.
What are the best hikes with a view in Iowa?
For a hike with a view, head to the East or the West riverbanks! Along the Missouri River, the Loess Hills showcase stunning views of the river and farmlands. Hike through Preparation Canyon State Park or the Hitchcock Nature Center to see the best views in western Iowa. Along the Mississippi River, places like Pikes Peak State Park, Yellow River State Forest, and Effigy Mounds National Monument provide stunning views of the river and Iowa's driftless area. Be sure to hike around the Mines of Spain, where Julien Dubuque first settled in Iowa, for even more remarkable views. And if you want a hike with a view, but don't feel like committing to a day on the trails, these 12 Iowa hikes are short and sweet!
Where can I hike to a cave in Iowa?
Iowa is home to a few fun cave hikes and adventures. In Decorah, the Ice Cave is a unique spot where ice builds up almost all year long. McGregor is home to Spook Cave, which you can explore in a boat tour! Crystal Lake Cave in Dubuque also offers underground boat tours. If you want to explore caves on foot, check out more than a dozen enormous features in Maquoketa Caves State Park.