Explore To Do - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
2 months ago

I can't speak to the actual trail. I can tell you that the entrance is on a dirt road in the middle of a cornfield with no parking and completely surrounded by "No Trespassing" signs. I drove out with my 7 and 5 year old nephew in tow... nothing about the situation was kid friendly. May try again alone as it does sound interesting.

hiking
3 months ago

Very rocky but fairly easy. Make sure it is a dry day with no chance of rain. Pretty interesting little place.

One of the best views in Iowa!

hiking
3 months ago

wildcat cave trail is mis-marked, if you cross the foot bridge and go down the ravine you will be crossing private property and the owner can get very cross. To be safe follow the marker posts up the hill then go several miles south go to the river bottom and walk north until you come to that same ravine as you have been told. You walk east north east up the ravine and the cave is on your right or to your south as you walk. It is really not much of a cave, it starts out about 6 feet tall at the entrance and the closes to nothing in about 4 feet, again, not much of a cave..So, is it really worth upsetting the property owner, please RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY

Awesome app! Would not be able to find best trailheads without it. It really got our family out into nature

Had a great time doing this with my teen daughter and her friend in early-early spring. We literally didn't see another person the entire time we were in the forest. The western part of this loop is fantastic - it feels wild, it's not super easy, the terrain is somewhat rugged. I think they could do a better job of keep the trail off roads on the eastern and northern parts though, as it ruins the ambience to walk along a road. Still, this was better than we expected, and it was fun to get in some good snow-free backpacking while Minnesota is still covered in snow and ice.

We stayed at the Brown's Hollow camp, which was quite a lot less primitive than I expected, given that it's a filter and cathole camp area - there are big, proper fire grates and benches in predefined camping areas. Given the iffy weather, that was an unexpected perk. I'd certainly do this again.

Beautiful hike, even in mid-February!

Interesting history, well maintained, great views, trail well laid out. No camping but it is available just a few miles south at Pike's peak SP.

I feel like this special place is a one time thing for me. Steep in the beginning but gets easier as you walk on. The mounds are interesting and you get to see lots of them. Also has a great scenic view of the Mississippi River. The trail is good to see this historic site and what it's all about.

The views of the Mississippi are amazing and the Indian Burial Mounds are breathtaking! It truly a beautiful path and peaceful trail.

backpacking
Thursday, August 17, 2017

Buck Stop Camp was the destination. It was definitely a challenge to get there to say the least. We hoofed it with 3 guys and a female and a red nose Pitty named Zeus. After we made it to Buck Stop, we spent the next few hours gathering wood and cutting logs. If you go anywhere in this park, make sure you are covered in repellant and your pants are tucked in your boots. All 4 of us got our legs covered in chiggers and for 3 weeks we were all itchy. There is an ice cold flow pump at the parking just left of the exit. It's orange and it was fantastic. No real scenery here. Good training for backpackers and a wonderful spot for isolation.

backpacking
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Great trail for an easy walk. Travel the loop counter clockwise and camp at the last camp. It's an awesome little open grass field with great shade trees and a good creek for collecting water. I did this trail in a few hours with my 14 year old son...so needless to say it's a pretty easy walk. Very enjoyable and I would do it again.

hiking
Thursday, April 06, 2017

Love coming out here during the summer. This is probably one of my favorite places to camp close to Madison and I love the trails. When your up on the bluffs you have great views of the campsite and creek below. The "bluff trail" being my favorite as you can find delicious chanterelles up there (and angry wasps too haha) if you know what your looking for... They pop up all long the trail. Just save some for me please! Speaking of, this area is a hot bed for fungi hunters, found a nice chicken of the woods and a few other random edibles while out. Lots of good memories out here with my dog and my girlfriend hiking the bluffs.

hiking
Sunday, March 19, 2017

Fun easy trails, barely run into anyone.

Old settlers trail is dog friendly while the hemlock trail is not. Just a heads up!

hiking
Saturday, March 04, 2017

Stunning views of the rivers but pretty crowded, you won't be alone there. Steps to the Falls are pretty. Stop in town of McGregor for lunch and shopping.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Maybe the hardest pull up in the hole park .but it will lead to some great views. and worth the sweet if you're ready for it . I enjoyed it much

Some of Iowa's best hiking trails. Amazing views of the Mississippi River. Well-maintained trails that are well marked. there are two sections of trails. The north section starts at the visitor center. the trailhead for the South section is a short drive down the road from The Visitor Center. a nice Visitor Center that is staffed with a park ranger. It's a small Museum that gives the history of the Indian mounds. There are nice indoor bathrooms and a fountain for filling up water bottles inside the visitor center. it's a moderately strenuous hike up the bluff to get to the Indian mounds on either section. Pets are allowed but must be leashed. I would definitely go again.

Great time hiking Pikes Peak area. Nice scenery including the waterfall, rock outcrook and the view over the river. Saw several deer as wellZ.

Very nice out and back trail with incredible veiws of the mississippi river. The trails we just starting to get busy as we finished up at noon on Sunday.

hiking
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Had a great weekend at yellow river. We hiked about 15 mi Saturday and only saw one other person out trail running the whole time and the weather was fantastic. We did see a few horse riders. The trails are very easy most are set up for horses. The Bluff view trail had gret views of the river and big paint camp ground. There was alot of water in the streams we forded the river twice in almost knee deep fast moving water which was fun. Camp ground was nice and well kept. Primitive toilets and no running water, not a problem for us but thought other might want to know.

hiking
Sunday, September 25, 2016

Great river overlooks. Trails well layed out with minimal steep inclines. Some trails to preserve erosion have steps and boardwalks which never excite me. Great campsites. Many indian mounds.

Ancient history with the native americans. Unbelievable number of mounds in various shapes. Trails well maintained.

No Camping here but camping is found about 8 miles south at Pikes Peak state park.

hiking
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nice short hike down a beautiful, secluded ravine

hiking
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

This was a great hike overall. There were sloping hills and the various little streams were all draining to make everything absolutely gorgeous. The views were spectacular from the Crow's Nest and up by Point Ann.
We started from the Homestead Parking lot which made everything seem a lot stranger when we arrived over at the main parking lot where there were shelters, grills, and paved sidewalks. The majority of the trails though were wide dirt.
The Bridal Veil Falls are pretty, and there is also another one that is right around the side that is just as pretty without a bridge going right over the top of it.

Enjoyable hike through this national monument. The scenery was gorgeous and mounds were quite impressive. Definitely worth a visit if you live in the Midwest, or are passing through.

hiking
Friday, September 09, 2016

Nice, mostly wooded hike. Some of the trails were not marked very well, especially the West Hickory Ridge Trail head coming off the East Hickory Trail head. Aside from that, it was great hike!

hiking
Monday, September 05, 2016

Overall a nice trail with a lot of shade, which is well appreciated over the summer. The greenery was also absolutely beautiful. Just wish there was a little more water in some of the smaller streams. Surprisingly, for a holiday weekend, there were very few people on the trails (averaged about one group every hour out hiking). There were a lot of people camping at the Big Paint Campground though.
Like the rest of this state, this trail was overall very flat, other than the Heffern's Hill Loop which went all the way up without a vista or anything other than the trail ahead of us. We went all the way up to go all the way back down.
The only downside was unexpectedly wading through the Paint Creek when we were on the Paint Creek Trail. Some equestrians ahead of us forded the waters. We were a little worse for wear when we came across the knee-high waters without a bridge or any easy way to cross the 6-foot plus gap of water. There is a way to go around this if you go up a little ways, but this will still likely involve some sketchy traversing and likely getting a little wet or muddy.

Peaceful! Bring your bug spray! The mosquitos can get quite thick. :)

Such a beautiful park. The overlooks are amazing! At one point you can see where the Wisconsin River empties into the Mississippi River.

backpacking
Monday, July 04, 2016

This is a fun park with many trails and very nice backpacking campsites. Many of the trails are shared with hikers (we saw only a few on a busy weekend), mountain bikers (we didn't see any), and horses (there were many, and therefore many pounds of horse waste on the trails). We hiked a total of about 16 miles over two days. The elevation changes are among the most you will find in Iowa.

The campsites are all well maintained. If you plan to filter water, however, Heffern's Hill is you only real choice.

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