The Best Outdoor Activities in Iowa

Discover the best hiking, camping, backpacking, fitness, and more.

Explore the Maquoketa Caves

Iowa / Maquoketa Caves State Park

From the Maquoketa Caves State Park office, near the parking area, hike north for access to 8 of the 16 caves in the park.

Grant Whitty
748 Saves

Explore Columbus Junction's Swinging Bridge

Iowa / Swinging Bridge

The Swinging Bridge is one of the main attractions in Columbus Junction, Iowa. The highway runs straight through town. As you drive into town you will see multiple signs about the bridge.

Grant Whitty
403 Saves

Photograph the Briggs Woods Waterfalls

Iowa / Briggs Woods Parking Area

Briggs Wood Park Waterfalls are Located 2.5 miles South of Webster City off Highway 17. It is very peaceful watching the water cascade over the rocks and into the stream below.

Paul Kestel
244 Saves

Hike to the Lake Macbride Waterfall

Iowa / Lake Macbride Interpretive Trail

Where's the fun in driving right up to your scenic destination? Here's how we had a more adventurous day at the lake by hopping off the beaten path: Just as you enter the park from County Road F16 co.

Quinten Pfeiffer
103 Saves

Hike the Horseshoe Bluff Trail

Iowa / Horseshoe Bluff Trailhead

To get to the trailhead within Mines of Spain, drive to the Dubuque area, turn off of Highway 61/151, and on to Highway 52.

Grant Whitty
36 Saves

Hike the Fire Point Loop Trail, Effigy Mounds National Monument

Iowa / Effigy Mounds National Monument

To get to Effigy Mounds National Monument travel to the town of Marquette, Iowa.

Grant Whitty
31 Saves

Hike to Devil's Punch Bowl, WIldcat Den SP

Iowa / Wild Cat Den North Lot

Wild Cat Den State Park is located between Blue Grass, Iowa and Muscatine, Iowa, just south of the Quad Cities. If traveling on Highway 22, look for Wild Cat Den Road.

Grant Whitty
28 Saves

Camp at Cottonwood Campsite

Iowa / Hitchcock Nature Center

With a short drive in from the Iowa/Nebraska border, enter the Hitchcock Nature Center's main parking lot. It offers 6 "Backcountry Campsites" that are only available by reservation.

Garrett Deeds
11 Saves

Hike Robinson Bird Sanctuary

Iowa / Robinson Bird Sanctuary

This year for Earth day, I decided to hike one of my favorite trails near Waterloo, Robinson Bird Sanctuary.

Tom Zittergruen
10 Saves

Hike Ledges State Park's Canyon Road

Iowa / Ledge's SP Parking Area

From the main gravel parking loop at the top, begin your hike on the main paved road. Note: This road is currently closed to vehicle traffic due to heavy water damage on the road.

Brett Kelly
2 Saves

Hike the McFarland Park Loop

Iowa / McFarland Park

After parking in the main lot by the Story County Conservation building, you can choose between two starting points.

Brett Kelly
1 Saves