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

been here several times, always beautiful views and opportunities to see wildlife.

Great hike for the whole family! Saw lots of wildlife! Loved it!

hiking
11 months ago

An easy stroll that takes you through forests and along the edges of tallgrass prairie. I encountered two other hikers on a Tuesday afternoon, one of whom had her dogs with her. The trail is wide enough to easily drive an ATV through (presumably how they maintain it) and never particularly steep. Birds, butterflies, and squirrels abound. The forested sections had mosquitoes swarms which forced you to keep moving.

Unfortunately the trail does not take you to any scenic views of the river. But it is still pleasant.

From the lower parking lot up to the monument is a fine climb through forest along the edge of steep hills. The trail is wide and easy to walk, so all the difficulty comes in the vertical climb. The worst parts have stairs.

The view at the top is spectacular, but there is a parking lot at the top so don't expect an isolated pinnacle. Two large families were there when I hiked up, so the beautiful view had a commotion next to it.

hiking
11 months ago

The centerpiece of the Mines of Spain area, which altogether is a fantastic series of trails. They are all wide and easy to follow, alternating between forests and tallgrass prairies.

The main bluff trail doesn't take you quite all the way to the top of the bluffs, but it takes you in between them and right along side for some great views of the rock faces. I recommend taking the loop counter-clockwise from the parking lot. You'll pass a small wetlands conservation areas before turning into the bluffs, then climbing up several tiers to reach the observation area. The walk to the parking lot is short after that.

Kids of 8 and 5 had no problem handling the trail. Great views and short enough for the kids to thoroughly enjoy.

Great short hike if you avoid this trail map. The trail on the map takes you west of the bluff. However it's possible to get on top and of the bluff itself. True top has well worn trails and amazing views of the river. If you start taking a right on the trail from the parking lot as you approach the bluff you will see a side trail to the right that will take you straight up. If you start to the left you will see a rock cropping just past the binoculars you can climb right up. Really cool.

hiking
Sunday, June 04, 2017

This is more a short bike trail. Flat point to point. Oh, it is pave. Not "hard" at all.

hiking
Saturday, March 04, 2017

Beautiful view from Julien monument but watch out on the roads down below for the water treatment plants that are a bit smelly if you get stuck walking around them.

hiking
Saturday, March 04, 2017

People put their kayaks in here and it is a lovely trail by the creek but it can be a little buggy, of course.

hiking
Saturday, March 04, 2017

Beautiful view, you feel like you are in Colorado. Be sure to do the horseshoe part, many people just don't know that it's there at the Mines of Spain and miss out on it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trail also continues down north side of ridge down to Riprow Vallay. great view from the JD Monument.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Great birding trail. Savannas, Catfish Creek, upland and lowland forest. Unique ferns.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Great view from north end. Great example of limestone cliffs. Look for owls,

Friday, August 05, 2016

good views of the Mississippi. It's a great little hike if you're looking to get outside for and hour or so.

hiking
Saturday, June 25, 2016

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.

hiking
Saturday, June 25, 2016

This is a short trail that climbs from the parking area to the monument. You could always drive up to the monument, but where is the fun in that? From the lower parking area you first climb some metal stairs, and then continue to climb up the ravine to the upper parking area. From there it is a short walk down a paved path to the small "castle" monument. You cannot go inside the castle, but the view of the river and of Dubuque from the monument is spectacular.

hiking
Saturday, June 25, 2016

The straighter, creekside portion of the loop is a wide and flat path. The other side of the loop consists of some brisk climbing up and then down the ridge on stair paths. When we hiked the blackberries were in bloom and were plentiful.

hiking
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Was ok.

hiking
Sunday, February 28, 2016

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.

walking
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Paved, not hard at all.

hiking
Sunday, October 26, 2014

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.

hiking
Monday, April 28, 2014

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.

hiking
Friday, October 25, 2013

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.

hiking
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

great place for doing some Iowa style hills. The park was getting ready for a trail run and all trails were in good condition. This park is well maintained and the visitor center is a great place for education. This also has some National Park accreditation too. Look to get your National Park passport stamped at the visitor's center.

hiking
Sunday, August 04, 2013

Walked a few trails here yesterday. The horseshoe bluff trail is a great view and a fun walk. Make sure to get to the river overlook. If you start at the nature center, grab a map. They have a lot of interconnecting trails. It was a great time, with a lot of uphill/downhill terrain.

hiking
Sunday, June 09, 2013

Map only shows half of the trails

hiking
Sunday, June 09, 2013

There are actually 22 miles of hiking trails. 6 miles is also groomed for cross sling. Go to www.minesofspain.org. or you www.iowadnr.gov

hiking
Sunday, September 04, 2011

Bandit (my mutt) and I hiked the Horseshoe Trail this morning. Genuinely felt like we were back in time, the stone amphitheatre is amazing. Unfortunatenly, i did not bring a hiking pole with me, so Bandit and I only hiked the secondary level, which was a treat, but next time I want to make it to the third level, where I have been told the views are spectacular. This is definately a place i will be back. Warning...there were several hikers with dogs, and mine was the only one on a leash, which is "required." With the number of chances for your dogs to leap off a cliff, I definately recommend a leash.

hiking
Friday, June 17, 2011

Hiked 8.6 of areas 16.25 miles of trails. Area offers several trails of varying length with hikes though wetlands, grassland and timber. Horseshoe Bluff offers a 2 mile nature loop with some elevation change and a scenic overlook of the Mississippi river and a trek down into a beautiful amphitheater. Calcite is a 2 mile loop that ties into several different trails allowing the opportunity to add mileage to your hike. Calcite also offers a large elevation change, for eastern Iowa, and a chance to catch a glimpse of some wildlife. If you visit the Mines of Spain I highly recommend the Calcite hike.

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