This trail has heavy foot traffic but was still very clean. The trail winds through an area with steep bluffs on each side. From there you can choose to climb to the second and third level trails. It is not a long trail, but the sights are unique for this part of the world.
It was pretty muddy, but for February it was a beautiful day! A friend had recommended Horsehoe Bluff trail as her favorite, and I would have to agree with her. It gave the best views and was the most challenging. Calcite and Catfish trails were good too! We spent three hours hiking all three trails, as well as walking to Julien Monument.
Having lived in Dubuque, I often went to the mines. My favorite trail would have to be Horseshoe Bluff. I usually would climb the bluff nearest to the river and then walk back through on the way back. Another great trail is Eagle Scout, on the very south part of the mines. Theres geocaches and a few abandoned buildings along the way.
Beautiful bluffs and trails overlooking the Mississippi. In the Southern trails there are quite a few significant hills, and some exhilarating edges to look over. Also a few spot for rock climbers to enjoy. I highly recommend this a spot for dayhiking.
We stayed in a B&B in Galena, Il. There is little tourist information available on good hiking in the area. I finally found the Mines of Spain on a website and we took off for Dubuque, Ia. Didn't see any sign for a visitor center as we drove into the park. Drove by several parking areas before we turned around to select "Horseshoe Bluffs" because it sounded good. This was a great hike, relatively easy going up the three levels to the top. Stairs are used for most of the "climb" about 150 feet above the parking area. The amphitheater was neat, but the view from the top was tremendous. The Dubuque Monument was visible across the Mississippi and the Mississippi was beautiful from this vantage point. We tried the Praire Trail and the Sauk Trail and found them to be like flat Illinois! So Horseshoe Bluffs is a great experience, but do more research to figure out where to go after a couple hours here. There was NO information at the trail-head! I was totally surprised at the lack of information on hiking in this area from the tourist information stops! So do your research in advance for this area.
great place for doing some Iowa style hills. The park was getting ready for a trail run and all trails were in good condition. This park is well maintained and the visitor center is a great place for education. This also has some National Park accreditation too. Look to get your National Park passport stamped at the visitor's center.
Walked a few trails here yesterday. The horseshoe bluff trail is a great view and a fun walk. Make sure to get to the river overlook. If you start at the nature center, grab a map. They have a lot of interconnecting trails. It was a great time, with a lot of uphill/downhill terrain.
Bandit (my mutt) and I hiked the Horseshoe Trail this morning. Genuinely felt like we were back in time, the stone amphitheatre is amazing. Unfortunatenly, i did not bring a hiking pole with me, so Bandit and I only hiked the secondary level, which was a treat, but next time I want to make it to the third level, where I have been told the views are spectacular. This is definately a place i will be back. Warning...there were several hikers with dogs, and mine was the only one on a leash, which is "required." With the number of chances for your dogs to leap off a cliff, I definately recommend a leash.
Hiked 8.6 of areas 16.25 miles of trails. Area offers several trails of varying length with hikes though wetlands, grassland and timber. Horseshoe Bluff offers a 2 mile nature loop with some elevation change and a scenic overlook of the Mississippi river and a trek down into a beautiful amphitheater. Calcite is a 2 mile loop that ties into several different trails allowing the opportunity to add mileage to your hike. Calcite also offers a large elevation change, for eastern Iowa, and a chance to catch a glimpse of some wildlife. If you visit the Mines of Spain I highly recommend the Calcite hike.
This area is simply amazing!! The Mines actually covers a huge area of land and had multiple trails. Horseshoe Bluff takes you to top of the bluffs for an amazing view of the Mississippi River and Julien Dubuque Monument. Other trails follow Catfish Creek and go thru beautiful areas of prairie grass. I believe there are at least 8 trails in the area and all offer something different. You could actually spend an entire day here doing them all. Picnic and rest areas are available. A must see!