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.