When following Iowa hiking trails, you can wind through dense forest, follow
the shores of a lake, and enjoy green spaces in the midst of an urban area,
all without seeing a single corn stalk. Combining a way to get exercise with
a way to enjoy the scenery, Iowa hikes are an excellent addition to Iowa
vacations. Whether you're an experienced hiker or someone who just enjoys
a stroll, you'll find the perfect place to hike in Iowa.
The vast lands of wildlife
refuges provide a fine backdrop for hiking in Iowa. The Desoto Wildlife
Refuge encompasses more than 8,000 acres in Iowa and over the border in Nebraska.
As visitors enjoy some Iowa hiking, they can follow trails into the woods and
see what the amazing array of waterfowl assembled here. The Missouri Meander
Trail, which runs alongside of the visitor center is one of the places to hike
in Iowa with access for the disabled. On the edge of the tall grass prairie
outside Des Moines, the Union
Slough National Wildlife Refuge Place is another place to watch for feathered
friends and go on Iowa hikes.
The large network of state parks offers even more choices for Iowa hikes. With outposts in all reaches of the Hawkeye State and a diverse collection of landscapes, state parks offer those going hiking in Iowa a bevy of trails. Just outside Cedar Rapids, Palisades-Kepler State Park draws Iowa hiking enthusiasts and rewards them with a network of trails, dramatic river bluffs, wildflowers, and wildlife. This state park, along the Cedar River, is an excellent choice for hiking in Iowa.
Located in Council Bluffs, Lake Manawa State Park has Iowa hiking trails, perfect for leisurely strolls, and includes a paved nature trail and a bike trail that connects to the Council Bluffs trail system, Wabash Trace Trail, and the beautiful shoreline of the Missouri River.
Council Bluffs is just one of the cities to embark on Iowa hikes. Another Iowa city, Altoona, has an extensive network of Iowa hiking trails and is planning to add more. The trails connect with other systems, including those in Des Moines. The Four-Mile Creek Greenway Trail, a fine place to hike in Iowa, begins in Altoona and continues into the capital city of Des Moines, winding along the Strasser Woods State Forest Preserve. In total, there are more than 300 miles primed for Iowa hiking in the Greater Des Moines area.
One of the coolest Iowa hiking trails, the American Discovery Trail, travels
right through Des Moines. This extensive trail begins in Delaware
and finishes in California and connects
with trails in many of Iowa's cities, from Davenport
to Council Bluffs. In cities like Muscatine, Cedar Rapids, and Waterloo,
segments of this national trail accommodate hikers, bikers, and walkers.
Hiking in Iowa doesn't always take place above ground; an array of interesting caves are waiting to be explored as well. Many feature paved trails and paths accessible to hikers as well as deeper areas of the caves for spelunkers. The six miles of trails connecting the Maquoketa Caves follow a restored prairie and include a natural bridge towering 50 feet over the Raccoon Creek, making these trails once of the most dramatic places for Iowa hikes.