Backbone is a beautiful place for a family picnic. Several open shelters and the auditorium may be reserved online through the park reservation system. Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the stone lodge overlooking the lake may be rented for a number of events including family reunions, weddings and other large gatherings. The lodge may be rented online at park reservation system. Backbone Concessions handles the lodge operation. Backbone has 21 miles of hiking and multi-use trails. Visitors can hike along trails winding through old twisted and windblown cedars and up rough, rocky staircases to one of the highest points in northeast Iowa, the "Devil's Backbone."

Amazing views for such an easy short trail!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful and peaceful in the spring. A lot of opportunities to go off the main trail and explore.

Great Iowa hike!

An excellent winter hike if you don't mind the often ice-packed trails. Hiking in the winter is a completely different experience.

great hike with fall colors!

Nice trail with a variety of terrains and features. Would definitely do it again.

hiking
8 months ago

Fun short hike for the whole family that doesn't experience huge elevation gains but offers great views in a nice wooded savannah.

I arrived after a heavy rain and the area flooded. Many of the scenic areas were not accessible. I hiked parts of the lake trail and the backbone trail. Park did have nice campgrounds.

hiking
Saturday, June 18, 2016

hiking
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

We parked at the south end of the lake and hiked up the east lake trail. This trail follows the lake and provides a variety of geographic features, including rock formations. At the north end we picked up the backbone trail. The views were stunning. There is also a large crevasse that is safe to climb down. My children loved this. We then hiked a connecting trail to a campground where we picked up the west lake trail. The west lake trail is mostly a mowed path through prairie and woods. Compared to the rest of the trails it is not so exciting.

mountain biking
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Biked the East and West Lake trails. This is a fairly technical trail on a bike. The east runs right next to the lake. At the end catch the road, head down the hairpin curve to the "flats". Continue straight and climb to the west Park entrance and right before you exit the park take a left into Twin Pines campground and there you can pick up the West Lake Trail. This side of the trail is difficult. Lots of steep hills and loose gravel and large rock. Definitely pushed us! Total loop was about 7 miles.

Lots of beautiful scenery!