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The Best Hiking in Iowa

Looking for the best hiking in Iowa? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Iowa. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top hiking spots in and near Iowa

  • Maquoketa, Iowa

    Explore the Maquoketa Caves

    4.4
    From the Maquoketa Caves State Park office, near the parking area, hike north for access to 8 of the 16 caves in the park. These caves include Wide Mouth Cave, Dug Out Cave, Twin Arch Cave, Hernando's Hideaway, Up-N-Down Cave, Widow Cave, Match Cave, and Upper Dancehall Cave. Other attractions in...
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  • Solon, Iowa

    Hike to the Lake Macbride Waterfall

    3.7
    2 mi
    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 coming out of the small town of Solon, IA you will see a small, grass parking lot on your right (thi...
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  • Dubuque, Iowa

    Hike the Horseshoe Bluff Trail

    5.0
    1.6 mi / 208 ft gain
    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. From Highway 52, turn left onto Mines of Spain Road until you find the parking lot. Once you park your car, go up the wooden stairs to the trail. From here you can go either...
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  • Muscatine, Iowa

    Hike to Devil's Punch Bowl, WIldcat Den SP

    1.3 mi / 235 ft gain
    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. If you are coming from Highway 61, look for Vail Road, and then turn left on to New Era road, which will lead into the park.  Par...
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  • Harpers Ferry, Iowa

    Hike the Fire Point Loop Trail, Effigy Mounds National Monument

    5.0
    1.7 mi / 301 ft gain
    To get to Effigy Mounds National Monument travel to the town of Marquette, Iowa. If you drive north of town about three miles, the road will curve to the left, and the park entrance will be on the right.  After you park, you may take a stop in the Visitor Center to grab a map or any souvenirs. Fr...
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  • Boone, Iowa

    Hike Ledges State Park's Canyon Road

    5.0
    6.5 mi / 700 ft gain
    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. This road also closes to vehicle traffic during the winter. However, it is always open to foot traffic. Follow the pa...
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  • Ames, Iowa

    Hike the McFarland Park Loop

    5 mi / 300 ft gain
    After parking in the main lot by the Story County Conservation building, you can choose between two starting points. I recommend starting on the left side of the parking lot at the gravel road and closed yellow gate, as this is a better point for the end of your loop. Hike about 200 yards along t...
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  • Waterloo, Iowa

    Hike Robinson Bird Sanctuary

    4.0
    1.2 mi / 36 ft gain
    This year for Earth day, I decided to hike one of my favorite trails near Waterloo, Robinson Bird Sanctuary. I love exploring this area during the spring season because of the beautiful Bluebell flowers that cover the woods. The colors are so bright and imaginative on the trail, it makes it feel ...
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  • Dubuque, Iowa

    Explore Crystal Lake Cave

    1.5 mi / -50 ft gain
    The cave is located beneath an outdated (but cool) gift shop on an little old gravel lot at the end of a short country road(Crystal Lake Cave Rd). The cave is about a 1-1.5 mile loop that takes about an hour. The cave is usually pretty cool and can have up to an inch of standing water at certain ...
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  • Bernard, Iowa

    Hike Whitewater Canyon Wildlife Area

    3.3 mi / 354 ft gain
    Whitewater Canyon Wildlife Area is such a cool find. When you first arrive it appears to be a massive plot of farm land. As you continue to hike and get into the wooded area, you begin to hear rushing water. Before you know it you're standing on a jaw-dropping overlook of 1 of the 3 canyons in th...
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  • Boone, Iowa

    Hike the Canyon Road and Table Rock Loop

    This park is part of the Des Moines river valley that cuts through most of the area. It's a hot spot for cooling off in the summer given the two rivers and also a great place for hiking. During the spring, fall and winter, the road down into the valley is closed. In the summer, it is open for ...
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  • Solon, Iowa

    Hike Beach To Dam Trail At Lake Macbride

    5.0
    3.1 mi / 141 ft gain
    Beach To Dam Trail at Lake Macbride is a 3.1 mile loop hike that takes you by lake MacBride and the Iowa River located near Solon, Iowa. This is a very manageable hike for all skill levels- it only has 141 miles of elevation and is not super long. This Hike runs along the river with constant scen...
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  • Muscatine, Iowa

    Hike Wildcat Den Trail

    4 mi / 495 ft gain
    Wildcat Den Trail is a 4 mile loop hike where you may see beautiful wild flowers located near Muscatine, Iowa.
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  • Madrid, Iowa

    Hike the Lost Lake Trail

    1.4 mi / 88 ft gain
    Ledges State Park is located close to Des Moines and Ames, home of Iowa State University. Upon entrance to the park, campsites and picnic areas are easily accessible. The defining feature of the park are the sandstone features, or ledges, that overlook the beautiful Des Moines river. The Lost Lak...
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  • Ocheyedan, Iowa

    Hike the Willow Creek Park Trail

    0.6 mi / 13 ft gain
    Willow Creek Park Trail is located at Willow Creek County Recreation near Ocheyedan, Iowa. It has a peaceful lake with multiple docks, a .6 mile trail that runs around the lake, a playground, and picnic area. It is easily accessed off IA-9 and is free. The trail travels through prairie grasses an...
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  • Westfield, Iowa

    Hike Five Ridge Prairie

    4.8 mi / 790 ft gain
    Five Ridge Prairie State Preserve is located in Westfield, Iowa. The trail winds through both wooded areas and open prairie. It spans 4.8 miles and is mainly used for hiking and running. It is free to park at, though to get here, you'll have to drive a gravel road.  The trail has slopes and flat ...
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