Explore the most popular camping trails in Iowa with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

3 hours ago

if your at backbone go ahead and hit this trail. great views and easy 40 min hike

I used to come fishing here quite a bit.. sad to see the lake is gone. There are some other smaller ponds around the trails I noticed. In terms of hiking, the trails are pretty and variable, though can be tricky to spot at times off the gravel paths / roadways.

I hiked in and stayed one night this weekend. Very happy with the place. Online maps are not entirely accurate for the 8 camp sites. Call their number or grab a map when you pay registration. I love that each spot is secluded from the others and a little ways off the trail. If you are carrying a pack the hills will challenge your legs.

Today was snowy but above freezing. The trail was a good amount of hills and tree cover. It blocked the wind and made for an enjoyable hike. Since we could here hunters toward the eastern end of the trail, we only did the western half. We will definitely go back again.

Fun state park with lots of different options to make a longer or shorter loop as desired. Maps were only available at the northwest entrance only, but I'd highly recommend picking one up as all of the different loops can get confusing. It was nice that the grass had been cut recently, so the trails were not overgrown at all. I can't wait to come back when it's warmer to try out the hike-in camping.

Great trail! Scenery was nice with winding paths, bridges, rock formations and the large body of water visible throughout most of the trail. Looking forward to hiking this trail again! Great trail for Hawkeyes to visit when they need a few hours of relaxation!

Beautiful lichen everywhere. Saw a marbled orb weaver. The trails should definitely not be described as easy though

One of the best trails for trail running with a canine companion - trails are wide enough for both of us and we love the trees and lookout points over the water. So pretty!

Very beautiful! Especially in the fall. Lots of caves to explore, both big and small. Be prepared for some good cardio, lots of stairs and hills. To hike all the trails took us approximately 3 hours. Would definitely go back!⭐️

5 months ago

Leaves are starting to turn - lots of yellows around the lake. Trails are VERY WELL maintained. Easy to get around. Trail is well marked but the distance on the signs is deceiving because I'm not sure exactly where it starts from. The whole loop is 6.2 miles. When you get to the campground on the south side of the lake you can use the paved road or there is grass/dirt trail along the lake.

Love! My absolute favorite!

Loved the rolling hills and dense forest. Nice unpaved trails for hiking and well marked. Loved the views of the lake from bluffs above. Close to Iowa City. Will definitely come back when in town next.

6 months ago

Nice kept trail!

Nice pet friendly trail. Plenty of tree cover most of the way. Can be a busy trail.

lots of fun up and down with plenty of caves to look into

Nice wooded trail. Saw four deer and some people paddle boarding and canoeing on river. Lots of poison ivy on narrow trails. Trails were not labeled well at all. Very confusing to get around.

gets very crowded during the weekends..

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.

Short but steep up and downs, trail not maintained, with tall grasses nearly swallowing my wife up completely.

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.

The trails were really easy for our family with young children and there were a lot of cool caves to explore. It was fairly clean and nice facilities.

Camp was great. Weather was Great. Company was great. Hikes were decent. Location for training for a Big Expedition was Astronomical. There isn't a whole lot of "events" on these loops however there is a great mixture of ups and downs, in and outs, back and forths. I recommend this area to any beginning backpacker looking to train and condition for something bigger. Saw a few bottles and trash in the "Lost Lake" area .5 miles south before the road turns to gravel, make a left and follow the signs. It's a nice unwind. Not Spectacular but definitely not a place to pass up for a nice overnighter. The energy is great in this park.

Very easy, but actually quite a variety and an adventure!

nice scenic trail, wooded areas but also opens up. Easy walk and hardly any hills.

No lake there, which was sad. Otherwise, super pretty field and tons of flat trail to hike.

Great views of the river. Saturday late morning hike was fairly busy.

Great place to hike and explore!

I'm not sure I'd call this easy. Maybe for a 20 or 30 year old. But it is steep in parts and muddy. I'm 60, in good health and I would call this moderate. Easy is flat, well maintained trails. This is not that. But all in all, we had a good time.

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