Fall may seem like the perfect time to toast marshmallows around a fire, go to the pumpkin patch, watch football and pick apples. But it’s also the perfect time for a hike. The weather is transitioning from the hot, humid, Iowan summer to cool, crisp, fall air, allowing you to wear light layers without overheating. 

Yellow River State Forest

Yellow River is the perfect weekend getaway for those that want the backpacker experience close to home. With roughly 32 miles of trails, primitive camping, and varying elevation.  Not only is it the perfect place to try out a new pack, or gear, it also has relatively easy hikes with scenic overlooks and rare bird species.

Maquoketa Caves State Park

While the caves may be closed for bat hibernation, there’s still 6 miles of trails of prairie, woodlands and vistas to explore. You can even camp in one of the many walk-in sites or stay in the quaint town of Maquoketa, Iowa.

Palisades-Kepler State Park

Located above the Cedar River, Palisades-Kepler State Park, not only has a 1930’s themed gazebo, but a cliff-line trail with limestone. Take the Cool HollowTrail to traverse along the interior woodland and arrive at the new 6-foot black locust log bridge.

Brushy Creek State Recreation Area

With 40 miles of hikes, and 6,000-acres of reclaimed nature in the heart of Iowa, this is the perfect place to hike bluffs, and follow along the Des Moines River. There’s even a 12-mile all-weather trail to loop around the lake.


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