Best Places To Hike


HR Legend
Gold Member
Nov 25, 2001
Live in eastern Iowa.

Wondering where you've found the best places to hike are-- let's say within a couple hour drive of Iowa City. What are your best experiences?



Gold Member
Jun 15, 2010
A Mormon trail hike would be a little closer for your start. Just head south a few miles across the Mississippi river to Nauvoo.


HR King
Gold Member
Jan 30, 2008
There really isn't much in Iowa. Our state parks stink. Wildcat Den is decent, and it's a quick drive to Muscatine. Effigy Mounds has one long trail that is good. I would like to suggest going on line and getting a state park pass from the Wisconsin DNR and you can make a day trip, or a weekend trip out of drives to Platteville, Madison, or PDC. Governor Dodge by Platteville is 5000 acres. Not strenuous, but there are some good, well maintained trails. A few miles up 151 is Blue Mound. It's smaller, but has some nice trails. Spend the night in Platteville if you like. Devil's Lake is an excellent park north of Madison. It has a bit of a murder problem, but the trails are excellent. As posted, the last time Mrs. Lucas and I were there a hiker was murdered about 1/2 mile up the trail from us. The killer is still on the loose. Around the area are a few more state parks, and the House on the Rock, and the Frank Lloyd Wright site, Taliesin. It's certainly picturesque. Around PDC or La Crosse there are multiple large parks with good hiking. PDC could be a day trip. The park there is Wyalusing, and it is a very large park with quite a few trails.
If you fancy a drive to Illinois Starved Rock is 2 hours from IC, and the trails have some challenging spots, and you get a lot of good views of the Illinois River. Another day trip option is Siloam Springs by Quincy. I have heard good things about Mississippi Palisades over by Savannah, IL.
Pere Marquette is another good weekend trip option. Very good hiking that can be spread over two days, and there is a lodge on the park grounds. Indiana has several weekend trip options that can easily be accessed from the IC area. Turkey Run has a nice lodge, and it's just a few miles inside the Indiana line off of I-74.
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HR Heisman
Gold Member
Dec 12, 2001
Maquoketa caves is a fun place to go through. It's 6 miles worth of trails. Palisades and Backbone have some nice trails also. None of these are very difficult but I think they are nice areas.
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On Iowa

HR All-American
Jan 6, 2003
Pike's Peak has some nice, and quite challenging, trails. You can walk all the way from the park into Marquette. The walk back is what sucks - that's a helluva hill.

The North Shore Trail at MacBride is nice, and is pretty easy and flat. Start at the Solon ball fields and head west. When you get to the MacBride gate, turn around and come back. 10 miles round trip.

The lake loop trail at Geode State Park is nice. About 7-8 miles, a little challenging at times, and a nice view of the lake all the way around.

If you don't mine a 1 way trail, the Wapello Trial runs from Ottumwa City Park out to Wapello's grave at the Agency House near Agency. About 10 miles 1 way, with several cable bridges across tributaries of the Des Moines River.

There are a lot of nice trails in Backbone State Park. It can be demanding if you want. Great scenery up there, too.
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