Weather Closures The Canyon Road in Ledges State Park is closed to vehicle traffic due to damage from flooding. Park users are welcome to hike into the Canyon, but vehicles are not permitted at this time. The Lower Ledges Road, which runs through the bottom of the park is also closed to vehicle traffic at this time due to major flash flood damage. All other roads, trails, picnic areas, campground, and shelters remain open and accessible.
I honestly had more fun hiking down on the roads through Ledges rather than the hiking trails. In fact, my wife and I found it more fun to head up the creeks a bit and make our own path rather than follow the official trails that just sort of winded up through a forest.
For instance, when climbing up the Crows Nest, which we assumed was sort of an overlook, we didn't really feel like we were overlooking anything but a hillside and initially walked right by the wooden Crows Nest deck thinking it was just part of the steps up the hillside.
Granted, we've done some amazing scenic hikes in Hawaii's Napali Coast and Colorado's Rocky Mountains so coming back and doing this was probably a bit underwhelming, but that's not to say it isn't pretty.
I think as the leaves falls the views open up a bit, there is probably quite a bit to see.
Went camping at Ledges for Labor Day weekend. They have some amazing walk-up sites that you have to hike into (furthest site is a quarter of a mile in). It was great, especially if you wanted to spend more than just a day at the park. We hiked the prairie trail and the circular canyon road trail, both were excellent and can be entertaining for many different people/walks of life. We saw families with small children, seasoned hikers, couples and people with animals. The trails are very well kept and the DNR really invests a lot of time in keeping up this state park.
The prairie trail was quick, easy, flat and underrated. It is full of luscious wildflowers and busy ecosystem. While the canyon road trail has a lot of steps, hills and wounds through trees and rocks. Both are very different and enjoyable, almost transporting you out of Iowa and into another arena.
ken k. on Canyon Road and Crows Nest Loop Tra...
I highly recommend this park for hiking and exploring. Great scenery and interesting geography.
Ledges State Park is a great place for a family outing or picnic! Campsites are available and the park is located right on the Des Moines River. Easily accesible hiking trails of mostly gravel and dirt. Nice mix of flat and hilly terrain which offer some great scenic views. Trails are only about 1-2 miles, but you can accumulate around 5-6 miles by walking around the park. Don't forget to check out the 0.5 mile wild prairie trail!
This park is beautiful year round. Wonderful mix of hills with look out spots, a river, and sandstone. Lots of space for camping and/or grilling out, as well. We have a couple of dogs and like finding places we can bring them along, and this place if dog friendly. The dogs love the hike and especially getting to take a swim in the shallow stream that runs through the sandstone. The only downside is this place can get very busy, so best to go during off-peak hours, such as a weekday that you can schedule off work.
A few weekends ago back-walked the canyon creek, which I've done many times before my lab passed away. Mostly frozen over on a sunny winter's day. Great photos ops. Wonderfull rack features to enjoy when the heat of summer sets in. Subject to flooding due to Saylorville Dam downstream. Has ruined quite a bit of the park, but still a worthwhile place to explore.