Whitewater Canyon Trail

EASY 20 reviews

Whitewater Canyon Trail is a 3.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Bernard, Iowa that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

3.3 miles
354 feet

dog friendly

kid friendly


cross country skiing



horseback riding

paddle sports

rock climbing


trail running







This 562 acre wildlife management area of forest, upland, and riparian habitats is located just 5 miles east of Cascade in extreme northeast Jones County. Appropriately named this unique location features 200 foot cliffs and scenic overlooks in a narrow valley along Whitewater Creek. A unique section of Whitewater Canyon, Lost Canyon, can be found tucked into the southeastern corner of the Whitewater Canyon Area and will impress anyone with its plethora of caves and concave bedrock walls. Both Whitewater and Lost Canyon are believed to have formed when an ancient cave system collapsed about 16,000 21,000 years ago. Large pieces of dolomite, some nearly 25 feet in diameter, can be found scattered along the narrow valley floors. Native animal and plant life abounds here in this hidden corner of Iowa. Anyone wishing to get away for a bit of solitude can immerse themselves in nature here. Spring wildflowers paint the forest floor from March thru May while the beauty of the restored upland prairie will astound you from summer thru fall. Bring your binoculars and check out the array of birds who call this area home. A winter cross country skiing foray will show you tracks and animal sign of those hardy enough to stay thru the winter. Preservation and enhancement of this sites unique habitats and plant and animal communities are a primary goal of future management. This site will provide many outdoor opportunities, including serving as an educational area as well as being open to hunting, hiking, fishing, and nature appreciation activities. It is truly a hidden gem.

10 months ago

Multiple short out-and-back trails to different overlooks. Canyon is pretty, good views, partial timber partial prairie

Saturday, March 04, 2017

The scenic overlook was so beautiful but it was confusing to find the trails. The sign looks like you should go right, but you need to go straight. The view is worth it. Could someone please tell me how to get to the caves? Also I see pictures of people kayaking here. Where do they get the boats into the creek?

Sunday, September 04, 2016

We pulled into the lot and noticed it is a public hunting area. There were two truckloads of men and some had semi-automatic guns. Needless to say we did not hike as it didn't feel safe at all!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

There are some cool places here. The southern trail, through the canyon, is beautiful and unique. And the scenic overlook is gorgeous (but treacherous, with no railing of any kind). There are far more than 2.5 miles of trails here. Some are out and back spurs. We hiked nearly everything, and came in at just about eight miles of total hiking. My biggest criticism is that 90% of the trails are mowed paths. Fortunately it was cloudy (and then rained after we finished).

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

You must see and explore inside the caves. Omg they are awesome. Does need more benches, signs to label all trails. Garbage cans and a picnic table would be nice.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Loved this trail! Can't wait to bring my husband back so we can explore more. Great trails for dogs!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Beautiful well kept trail with a variety of terrain. Our first time on the trail we got a little confused because we didn't study the map very well. very kid friendly as well!

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Sunday, January 01, 2017

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

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Monday, December 28, 2015