Explore the most popular historic site 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.

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

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

Beautiful hike, even in mid-February!

Interesting history, well maintained, great views, trail well laid out. No camping but it is available just a few miles south at Pike's peak SP.

I feel like this special place is a one time thing for me. Steep in the beginning but gets easier as you walk on. The mounds are interesting and you get to see lots of them. Also has a great scenic view of the Mississippi River. The trail is good to see this historic site and what it's all about.

The views of the Mississippi are amazing and the Indian Burial Mounds are breathtaking! It truly a beautiful path and peaceful trail.

10 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.

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.

Some of Iowa's best hiking trails. Amazing views of the Mississippi River. Well-maintained trails that are well marked. there are two sections of trails. The north section starts at the visitor center. the trailhead for the South section is a short drive down the road from The Visitor Center. a nice Visitor Center that is staffed with a park ranger. It's a small Museum that gives the history of the Indian mounds. There are nice indoor bathrooms and a fountain for filling up water bottles inside the visitor center. it's a moderately strenuous hike up the bluff to get to the Indian mounds on either section. Pets are allowed but must be leashed. I would definitely go again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

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

Very nice out and back trail with incredible veiws of the mississippi river. The trails we just starting to get busy as we finished up at noon on Sunday.

Ancient history with the native americans. Unbelievable number of mounds in various shapes. Trails well maintained.

No Camping here but camping is found about 8 miles south at Pikes Peak state park.

Enjoyable hike through this national monument. The scenery was gorgeous and mounds were quite impressive. Definitely worth a visit if you live in the Midwest, or are passing through.

Peaceful! Bring your bug spray! The mosquitos can get quite thick. :)

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.

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.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Was ok.

Love this hike do it often

Their information center/gift shop lady was very informative and sweet. I wish we would have gone in before the hike:) we did get some great souvenirs & made a donation to the mounds (beautiful place that if your able to they have a box in there to do so but they don't pressure you to). The beginning of the trail is brutal, lol! There are benches for those of us who didn't stay in shape over the winter;) once you make it to the top WOW! The view is breathtaking! We even saw a group of wild turkeys!!! The mounds have signs so you can read about what you are seeing and the trees and plants of importance to the area are marked:) great for the family:)

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.

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.

Having first discovered this National Monument on our way out the the Badlands in 2013, my wife I have been back several times in the last year. We hiked all 12.5 miles as a magnificent day-hike during the height of color in the driftless region last Fall. As noted the 12.5 miles covers trails for both the north and south units, which due to the rolling hills that come up in the last mile to Hanging Rock and again headed up to the south unit's mound groups it offered an unexpected challenge in places.
I also came back again in Feb of this year and hiked Hanging Rock at about 2 degrees to 25 degrees with 24" of snow on the ground. Luckily others and the deer had stamped down a lot of trail. Though I still broke trail for about 1/4 mile to Third Senic View I was rewarded by being the only one out on the trail that day, and got to see a frozen-over Mississippi River. These trails and others nearby have been an easy weekender from Chicago that have proven well worth the drive.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Map only shows half of the trails

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

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