The Top 5 Trails for Hiking in Iowa

Hiking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do. You aren’t stuck in the gym using a machine. You get to be outside and experience nature.

Hiking in Iowa is particularly popular. The state has more than 100 great hiking trails that people from all over the United States can enjoy.

But which trails are the best ones? If you go hiking in Iowa, which spots should you make sure that you experience?

Read on to find out what the top five trails for hiking in Iowa are.

Why Should You Go Hiking in Iowa?

As I mentioned above, there are more than 100 hiking trails in Iowa. With those many trails comes a lot of variety.

There are numerous shorter, flat trails that beginning hikers can start with. These trails are well-marked and should be good for anyone who wants to try hiking for the first time.

But Iowa also has plenty to offer for more experienced hikers.

Trails in state parks feature more hilly terrain. Some of them are as long as 50 miles. Others are 20 to 25 miles long with more than 6,000 acres to explore.

When it comes to hiking in Iowa, options aren’t a problem.

Backbone State Park’s Forest Trails

You need to visit Backbone State Park for one main reason: it is Iowa’s very first state park.

The park offers many different trails that add up to 21 miles in total. Some are better for beginners, and some are better for more experienced hikers.

Your best bet is to check out Backbone’s forest trails. These trails equate to a 5.6 mile hike.

Iowa Great Lakes Trail

The Iowa Great Lakes Trail provides gorgeous scenery for all hikers. The trail runs through the Great Lakes region and is 14 miles long.

While you hike the Great Lakes Trail, you will pass by beautiful lakes and great landmarks.

See Spirit Lake, Okoboji, West Okoboji, Milford, and Lake Park. You can even stop by Arnolds Park for a fun break!

Wabash Trace Nature Trail

The Wabash Trace Nature Trail is one of the best hiking trails in Iowa for nature lovers. 

The Wabash Trace Nature Trail is 63 miles in length. The northern part of the trail runs through Loess Hills, one of Iowa’s most stunning areas that’s found along the Missouri River.

Along the trail, there are unique views that only this trail can provide. It’s also a fantastic trail for spotting some of Iowa’s wildlife.  

Every Thursday, hikers have the chance to join the Taco Ride on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail.

On the Taco Ride, you ride your bike from Council Bluffs to Mineola and then back again. It all ends with dinner at the Mineola Steakhouse afterward.

High Trestle Trail

The High Trestle Trail is another one of the unique trails for hiking in Iowa.

The High Trestle Trail is 25 miles in length. It links together the cities of Ankeny, Sheldahl, Slater, Madrid, and Woodward.

What makes it so one-of-a-kind is the High Trestle Trail Bridge, which you will cross while on the trail. It’s one of the biggest trail bridges in the entire world.

Ledges State Park Trails

The hiking trails in Ledges State Park may offer the most amazing scenery you will see in Iowa.

The one five mile-plus trail features steep slopes that more experienced hikers will enjoy. This trail also overlooks the breathtakingly beautiful Pea’s Creek “canyon.” 

Millions of people have traveled to Iowa to visit Ledges State Park. Nature lovers will lose themselves in the landscape of the park. 

Have you ever been hiking in Iowa before? Or in another cool state? Comment and let us know what your experience was like!

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