Iowa Nature November 01, 2021
The Mt. Lucia And Ruth’s Ridge Trail Loop In Iowa Takes You From Creek To Peak And Back
Iowa offers some beautiful hikes, but perhaps none so spectacular and varied as the ones tucked away in the Loess Hills. From hilltops to creeks and river valleys with both grasslands and forests stretching between, the Loess Hills are the perfect example of the natural beauty hidden away in our state. And one great place to start in your exploration of this must-see region is at Iowa’s Stone State Park.
The wonderful Loess Hills of Iowa near Sioux City are the home of Stone State Park.
A great view of the Missouri and the Big Sioux River Valley is found here at Stone State Park's Mt. Lucia.
There's more than one way to reach the top of Mt. Lucia on the trail system here at Stone State Park, but one great option is the Mt. Lucia and Ruth’s Ridge Trail Loop. This trail will take you from alongside a small stream all the way up to Mount Lucia's peak - and then back down again.
This trail starts near the equestrian activity parking area and takes the Longfoot Trail to the Mount Lucia trail which leads to the top. The loop then follows the Marks Glen trail to connect back to the Longfoot trail and back to the parking area.
The total length of this loop is 2.3 miles, and the elevation gain is less than 300 feet, making it a friendly walk with a rewarding view for beginners and a quick but beautiful way to get out into nature for more experienced hikers.
The pathways are beautiful in all seasons. In the summer, a good portion of the path is shaded, and if you walk quietly you stand a good chance of being rewarded with wildlife sightings such as whitetail deer. In the winter, the trails remain clearly identifiable and the form of the tree trunks highlighted with a snowy backdrop reveals new layers of beauty harder to perceive in other seasons.
A truly remarkable geological feature remaining from the glacial activity long ago, the Loess Hills provide a diverse ecology and aesthetic beauty to hundreds of miles of the western side of Iowa. Stone State Park offers multiple lookout opportunities on its total of 15 miles of hiking-friendly trails.
Several trails are marked multi-use for mountain bike or equestrian activity.
Next time you find yourself in Sioux City, go take a hike and enjoy this spot that is conveniently close to the city but still feels like a genuine escape into nature.
To learn more, visit Stone State Park’s website
here. Have you ever hiked this area or taken a scenic drive through these hills? Address: Stone State Park Drive, Stone State Park Dr, Sioux City, IA, USA