Iowa September 05, 2018
This Historic Park Is One Of Iowa’s Best Kept Secrets
Iowa is full of stunning natural beauty despite the rest of the country thinking we’re just a flyover state. If you’re looking for a great place to explore near the roaring Mississippi River, check out the Mines of Spain Recreation Area near the city of Dubuque.
When Julien Dubuque arrived in Iowa in the late 1780s, he wanted to create a mine along the Mississippi River. He received permission from the Maskwaki Indian Tribe, and the Spanish gave him an official land grant in 1796.
Julien was a fur trapper and trader, but he began to mine the lead in the cliffsides around the modern day city of Dubuque.
Today, the area where Julien Dubuque first set foot on Iowan soil, becoming the first European to do so, has been turned into a beautiful historic park, called the Mines of Spain Recreation Area.
As you explore the park, you'll discover monuments and buildings that tell the earliest history of the Hawkeye State.
Inside the museum itself, you can find artifacts left behind, and learn the story of hw Julien Dubuque became a part of the Native American community in the area, befriending a Chief and marrrying his daughter.
Julien Dubuque himself is buried along with his wife ina crypt at the top of a cliffside, near a large stone tower. He has a stunning view of the Mississippi River for the rest of time.
Throughout the park, you'll find endless overlooks and placards that show off what the area was like two hundred years ago, before the idea of Iowa had even been born.
Enjoy hiking through the scenic meadows full of wildflowers and keep an eye out for wildlife, too. Hiking around Mines of Spain is a great day trip for an adventure lover.
Truly, this historic park may be the most underrated in the state. Its natural beauty is breathtaking.
You'll find old stone stairs on some of the paths, showing that they were once used by the miners who began to settle in the Hawkeye State.
Perhaps nothing is more amazing than the views of the Mighty Mississippi River, which made the settlement of Dubuque and all of its prosperity possible.
Explore here in the fall to catch a glimpse at Iowa's hillsides bursting with yellows, reds and oranges of autumn.
Even in the winter, the stunning scene of a fresh blanket of snow turns the cliffs of the Mines of Spain into a wonderland - it's worth stopping by this historic park in any season.
Have you ever trekked around the Mines of Spain? Be sure to take the time to explore it while you’re visiting
The Most Iowa Town Ever.