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Best Iowa State Parks for hiking, adventuring and more

  • 8/20/2020 3:59:00 PM
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Are you looking for fun ways to spend time active outdoors? Here are some of our top picks for things to do in Iowa's state parks:


Best Park for Multi-Adventures:
Yellow River State Forest

Grab your bike and kayak and head to Yellow River State Forest for all your outdoor adventures. With put-in and take-out points every 4-6 miles, the water trail flows through the rapids and scenic views throughout the whole park. The forest is 8,503 acres, making this park full of adventuring opportunities whether you are looking to paddle, hunt, hike or ski. 

Other Picks: Backbone State Park, Lake Ahquabi State Park, Lacey-Keosauqua State Park and Springbrook State Park.

Learn more about adventuring in state parks

Exploring is an adventure at Yellow River State Forest  |  Iowa DNR


Best Park for a Hike:
Waubonsie State Park

Journey to the far southwest corner of Iowa for a hiking adventure you won’t forget. Waubonsie is nestled in the Loess Hills and features more than 16 miles of hiking trails, eight miles of which are just for hiking. Hike the Sunset Ridge Nature Trail that traverses the heart of the park, offering sweeping views of the Missouri River Valley, including the unique Loess landscape and the Nebraska plains.

Other parks for a great hike include: Pikes Peak State Park, Pine Lake State Park, Stone State Park, Brushy Creek State Recreation Area and Dolliver Memorial State Park.

Learn more about the best hikes in Iowa State Parks

Waubonsie State Park is a top pick for hiking  |  Iowa DNR

Best Park for Stunning Views:
Pikes Peak State Park

Island views in Iowa? At Pikes Peak State Park, visitors can experience one of the most picturesque river views in Iowa. At the scenic overlook, take in the Wisconsin River flowing into the Mississippi, flowing gently among tree-covered islands. With more than 11 miles of trails, discover plenty of opportunities to explore wooded valleys and bluffs. 

More Parks for a Great View: Ledges State Park, Stone State Park, Lake of Three Fires, Pilot Knob State Park and Beeds Lake State Park

Learn more about the most stunning views in Iowa State Parks

Pikes Peak State Park is known for its stunning river views  |  Iowa DNR

Best Park to Try Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddle Boarding:
Lake Ahquabi State Park

If you are new to kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, try it out on this southern Iowa 114-acre lake. The concessionaire rents boards, kayaks, canoes and other boats. The nearby beach house was built in the 1930s by the CCC, and is a great location to enjoy the water.

Other Picks for Water Sports: Lewis and Clark State Park, Pine Lake State Park, Honey Creek Resort State Park

Find fall water trails in Iowa

Lake Ahquabi State Park is a must for trying out water sports  |  Iowa DNR