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7 must-see waterfalls in Iowa State Parks

  • 9/29/2016 3:39:00 PM
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Adapted from Travel Iowa

From nature's splendor to man-made spillways, these water features are definitely wonderful. Below, get the full list of Iowa's waterfalls, how to get to each one, and ideas on other things to do in the area while on your waterfall tour.

Siewers Spring and 6 other must-see waterfalls in Iowa State Parks | Iowa DNRSiewers Springs, Decorah

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: Technically a spillway located in Siewers Springs Park, the falls are easily accessible and located near a parking lot.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: The Decorah Fish Hatchery is located in the park, as well as the Decorah Bald Eagle nest.


Bridal Veil Falls, Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor

WHEN TO GO: Spring/Summer, dependent on weather conditions.

HOW TO GET THERE: The falls are an easy 1-mile (round-trip) trail hike from the Pikes Peak State Park parking lot. The trail is well-marked and kid-friendly.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Don’t leave the park without checking out the panoramic view of the Mississippi River. Effigy Mounds National Monument is just five miles north of Pikes Peak.


Bridal Veil Falls and 6 other must-see waterfalls in Iowa State Parks | Iowa DNRBackbone State Park Spillway, Dundee

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: Walk the West Lake Trail or drive 129th St. through the park for a view of the spillway. Backbone State Park beach will be in the background.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Backbone is a hiker’s paradise with miles of trails, easy to rugged. More impressive than the spillway is Richmond Springs, where you can watch spring water bubble up from the ground and wade into the crystal-clear pool. The springs are located on the north end of Backbone, near the Richmond Springs Shelter.

Macbride Falls, Solon

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: Although this waterfall is technically a spillway, the rock formations still make it an impressive site. The spillway is located between Lake Macbride and the Coralville Reservoir and is an easy hike.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Lake Macbride has a popular beach and is located near several campgrounds and outdoor recreation areas. Iowa CityCedar Rapids and the Amana Colonies are all just a short drive away.

Union Grove and 6 other must-see waterfalls in Iowa State Parks | Iowa DNR

Union Grove State Park Spillway, Gladbrook

WHEN TO GO: Spring/Summer, very dependent on water flow.

HOW TO GET THERE: This spillway waterfall can be viewed easily from a drive around Union Grove State Park.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: If you want to check out more of Iowa’s most unique attractions, check out Matchstick Marvels in nearby Gladbrook or the Salt & Pepper Shaker Gallery in Traer.


Ledges State Park, Boone

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: There are several water features and beautiful views as you drive and hike through Ledges State Park, but perhaps the most fun and iconic is Canyon Road where shallow water runs over the road and kids play in the spray.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Nearby attractions include the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad, the High Trestle Trail and Reiman Gardens.


Beeds Lake and 6 other must-see waterfalls in Iowa State Parks | Iowa DNRBeed's Lake Spillway, Hampton

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: Claiming to be the most photographed dam in the Midwest, Beed’s Lake Spillway is a short walk (over grass) from a nearby parking lot off Beeds Lake Drive.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Drive to nearby Iowa Falls and take a ride on the Scenic City Empress, another way to view the water.