When the weather’s nice, it’s fun to make plans to tackle some easy and scenic Iowa hikes! Explore all of the Hawkeye State with these breezy strolls and exhilarating treks that you’re sure to fall in love with.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Cedar Cliff Trail, Palisades-Kepler State Park
Take the unique Cedar Cliff Trail through Palisades-Kepler State Park for a two-mile adventure. This amazing hike will show off a stone bridge, a babbling brook, some fun bounder fields, and an overlook! It's perfect for a day out in nature.
Address: 700 Kepler Drive, Mt Vernon, IA, 52314
2. Canyon and Table Rock Loop, Ledges State Park
All of the trails in Ledges State Park are scenic Iowa hikes, but the Canyon Road and Table Rock Loop is a perfect, 1.7 mile trek that's sure to impress you. Enjoy views of cliffs, bluffs, and Davis Creek on your way through the park.
Address: 1515 P Avenue, Madrid, IA, 50156
3. Blue Heron Lake Loop, Raccoon River Park
Enjoy a 3.3 mile loop trail around Blue Heron Lake at this park not far from the busy, bustling city. You'll spot lots of wildlife, including migratory birds, making their home here.
Address: 2500 Grand Avenue, West Des Moines, IA, 50265
4. Squire Shore Trail, Coralville Dam Recreation Area
Take the Squire Shore Trail and connect it to Weasel Run and the Mushroom Forest Trail for a waterfront adventure you'll love. Climb up and down the rocky cliffs that will take you straight to the water. This 5 mile loop is a great place to enjoy a quiet picnic.
Address: 4053 W Overlook Road NE, Iowa City, IA, 52240
5. Sunset Ridge Trail, Waubonsie State Park
The beautiful Sunset Ridge Trail combines with the Mincer Trail to form an easy 2 mile loop trail. The Loess Hills are stunning, and you'll be sure to spot wildlife along the way.
Address: 2585 Waubonsie Park Road, Hamburg, IA, 51640
6. Maquoketa Caves State Park
You'll find miles of trails within Maquoketa State Park, and every inch is worth exploring. Be sure to visit Upper and Lower Dancehall Cave for a sight that will take your breath away.
Address: 9688 Caves Rd, Maquoketa, IA 52060
7. Little Bear Mound Group Loop, Effigy Mounds National Monument
If you're looking for breathtaking views along with incomparable history, visit Effigy Mounds National Monument. There are more than 200 Native American burial mounds here, and the Eagle Rock, Fire Point and Little Bear Mound Group Loop is a 1.7 mile loop that will show off some of the most incredible sights in all of Iowa.
Address: 151 IA-76, Harpers Ferry, IA. 52146
8. Wildcat Den Trail, Wildcat Den State Park
Wildcat Den State Park may be the most unique park in Iowa! Take the 4 mile loop trail from the visitor's center to see overlooks, an old mill and spillway, and the park's famous Steamboat Rock formation.
Address: 1884 Wildcat Den Rd, Muscatine, IA 52761
9. Horseshoe Bluff Trail, Mines of Spain
The very first part of Iowa to be settled by Europeans was this area around the Mines of Spain. Take the time to explore the Horseshoe Bluff Nature Trail when you visit - it's less than a mile long and shows off some of Iowa's most interesting topography.
Address: 8991 Bellevue Heights Road, Dubuque, IA, 52003
10. Hitchcock Nature Center Loop
The 6.3 mile loop along the Hitchcock Nature Center Trail shows off the Loess Hills like no place else. This ridgeline trail will impress you with its gradual elevation changes and sprawling panoramic views.
Address: 27792 Ski Hill Loop, Honey Creek, IA. 51542
11. West & East Lake Loop, Backbone State Park
Backbone State Park is Iowa's oldest state park, established in 1920. It's an amazing display of Iowa topography, geography and history, and the West and East Lake Trail Loop shows it off best. This 6.3 mile loop isn't the easiest hike in the Hawkeye State, but it's one of the most scenic Iowa hikes you'll ever take.
Address: 1347 129th Street, Dundee, IA, 52038
12. Weeping Rock and Hickory Ridge Loop, Pikes Peak State Park
Enjoy a breezy walk along the Weeping Rock and Hickory Ridge trails to form a 3.9 mile loop through Pikes Peak State Park. Not only will you find sweeping views of the mighty Mississippi River, but you'll also pass by Bridle View Falls - Iowa's most famous cascade.
Address: 32264 Pikes Peak Road, McGregor, IA, 52157
What’s your favorite place to find a scenic Iowa hike? Tell us in the comments below!