One of our family's favorite ways to explore and enjoy the outdoors is by going on trails at different state parks in our home state of Iowa. With 83 state parks and recreation areas, you're never too far away from creating your own adventure.
When you first think of Iowa, you probably don't think of hiking and trails, but there are some surprising views and experiences you can have by visiting any one of our amazing state parks. And as an added bonus, Iowa's state parks are free to visit!
Here are five state parks that our family has enjoyed that have 2 mile or less trails with scenic views and easy to moderate terrain:
Beeds Lake, Hampton, Iowa
With a 2 mile trail loop that goes around the lake, your kids will love checking out the spillway seen here, as well as crossing over the lake on a land bridge. Our family especially loves visiting Beeds Lake because it is in our home county and feels like a hidden gem amongst the countryside.
Ledges, Madrid/Boone, Iowa
Trails are always more fun when they involve water! Ledges State Park has multiple hiking trails and river crossings. We recommend going stream walking while exploring the Lower Ledges and checking out the sandstone bluffs and wildlife while hiking on the trails.
Palisades-Kepler, Mt. Vernon, Iowa
Palisades-Kepler State Park has a lot of hiking options. Go from exploring on forested trails, to overlooking the Cedar River. Our kids loved checking out the river bluffs & crossing the ravines on the trails next to the river.
Backbone, Dundee, Iowa
Iowa's oldest state park, Backbone, has lots of trail options. While the trails can be rugged and winding, they are still fun to explore with your family as you go above, below and through ridges of bedrock cut by the Maquoketa River.
Pikes Peak, Mc Gregor, Iowa
Start your visit at Pikes Peak by checking out the different outlooks over the Mississippi River. Then go on the Bridal Veil Trail to see a waterfall and continue deeper into the park to walk around Native American Effigy Mounds. A bonus at Pikes Peak is that part of their trails and scenic overlook areas are paved or boardwalk.
Other Parks with Family Friendly Trails in Iowa Worth Checking Out
Maquoketa Caves State Park, Maquoketa, Iowa
Fossil & Prairie Park, Rockford, Iowa (Floyd County Park)
Dunning's Spring Park & Ice Cave Hill, Decorah, Iowa (City of Decorah Park)
I encourage you to get outside, enjoy the beautiful weather and explore the amazing state of Iowa by visiting our state parks with your family. Where are your favorite Iowa State Parks?