Canyon Road and Crows Nest Loop Trail is a 2.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Boone, IA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
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.
Ledges is a nice oasis in the middle Iowa corn fields. Great campsites.
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.
I go to ledges all the time. It's a nice park where I can get a little hike in a couple times a week.
Pretty challenging due to the snow, the frozen waterfall was awesome. Spectacular view from the Crows nest!
I highly recommend this park for hiking and exploring. Great scenery and interesting geography.
So much fun
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.
One of the better parks in the state for hiking. Insanely busy in the summer due to its proximity to Des Moines. Worth checking out
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.
This is a very nice park for the area. There are several ways you can turn the trail into an all up/all down hike. The trails tend to be short, but you can keep adding other trails on to make them longer. Beautiful too.
One of the better if not best parks/trails in Central Iowa. Challenging hike with plenty of elevation gain. Good place to strap on a pack and train for longer mountaineering trips. Very pretty scenery and plan on coming back in the Fall to see the colors! Nice campsite area with plenty of trees. Campsites range from electric RV to car camping to hike in sites. The hike in sites are a tad more rustic and quiet and well worth the short hike in. If you live in Central Iowa this is a must do trip!
Been here many many times. Use it for trail running and training with a heavy pack. The best feature (beides the sites below into the valley) is the stone stair trails that are tributary trails everywhere. Great place to work on training for mountaineering due to steep stair/trail climbing. Have gone in the middle of winter (need to use crampons on the stairs..slick!) and even winter camped out at Ledges. Exellent park