Eastern Iowa Parks to Explore

Explore the wonderful outdoors of Iowa in these unique state and county parks in eastern Iowa. Whether you’re looking for unique terrain for hiking, caves for cave exploration, or stunning views, there are 16 parks to consider here.

Iowa is a region known for its beauty and various natural attractions. Despite being in the middle of America, Iowa is very beautiful and has a very beautiful nature. Many people come to Iowa just to enjoy the natural beauty of Iowa.

Iowa Great Views Parks

These parks all feature unique and spectacular views.

Iowa Great Views Parks

Mines of Spain Recreation Area (Dubuque)

The Mississippi River cliffs are fully exhibited in the Spanish mining recreation area. One of the most famous scenic spots is the Julian Dubuque Monument, which honors the founders of the nearby city of Dubuque.

Amenities: Hiking and interpreting center.

Masquito Park (Burlington)

Although one of Burlington’s oldest and smallest parks in the city, Mosquito Park has much more to offer, including one of the best views of the Mississippi River in the state. It is a popular place for weddings, photography and relaxation.

Amenities: Seating area.

Bellevue State Park (Bellevue)

Observe up to 60 species of butterflies in the Butterfly Gardens at Bellevue State Park. Explore further trails with beautiful views of the Mississippi River.

Amenities: Camping, hiking, boating.

Rock Creek County Park (Camanche)

Close to Clinton, this county park has excellent cabins and campgrounds, a nature center, hiking, boating and fishing. There is also a Blue Heron Eco Cruise in the park, where you can get a closer look at the ecology of the Mississippi River.

Amenities: Camping, cabin, boating, fishing, hiking, nature center.

Pinicon Ridge Park (Central City)

This well-developed county park offers a Watercraft Rentals (canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating) and group canoeing. Landlubbers can explore walking and hiking trails, playgrounds, lookout towers, and animal sanctuaries with mousses and deer.

Amenities: Camping, cabin, boating, hiking.

Iowa Unique Parks

These parks in eastern Iowa are full of diverse and unique landscapes for exploration.

Iowa Unique Parks

Devonian Fossil Gorge (Iowa City)

The fossils on the limestone bedrock of this park were discovered after the 1993 flood. Fossils are part of the Devonian seafloor and have existed nearly 200 million years before dinosaurs.

Amenities: Hiking.

Backbone State Park (Dundee)

Named as “devil’s backbone,” the rocky ridge that divides the park, the Backbone State Park has unique rock formations, caves, natural hot springs, lakes, and simple to adventurous ones. There are miles of hiking trails.

Amenities: Hiking, cycling, camping, cabins, boats, rock climbing.

Pikes Peak State Park (McGregor)

Some of places with the best views of the Mississippi River can be found in Pikes Peak State Park. In addition to the vast landscape, hikers can see limestone cliffs, fossils and Bridalveil Fall, a natural spring waterfall.

Amenities: Camping, hiking.

Wildcat Den State Park (Muscatine)

Wildcatden’s trail system guides hikers through the canyons and cliffs names like Devil’s Punch and Fatman’s Squeeze. The most historical Pine Creek Grist Mill is also located in the park.

Amenities: Hiking, camping.

Pictured Rocks County Park (Monticello)

This county park is lined with limestone cliffs and surrounds the Macoquita River near Monticello. Climbing is popular in this park, where you can climb 14 different wall sections.

Amenities: Mountaineering, hiking, fishing.

Iowa Caves

Head underground for a unique park experience. Explore these natural caves.

Iowa Caves

Maquoketa Caves State Park (Maquoketa)

Maquoketa Cave State Park has more caves than any other park in Iowa. A recently updated trail system connects caves, limestone layers and observation decks.

Amenities: Camping, hiking, cabins, nature centers.

Crystal Lake Cave (Dubuque)

A guided tour of Crystal Lake Cave’s 3,000-foot corridor reveals stalactites, stalagmites, and various crystal layers.

Spook Caves (McGregor)

Spook Cave in McGregor is the only cave you can explore by boat in Iowa! The boat tour includes the history and development of the cave while watching the formation of natural limestone.

Wapsipinicon State Park (Anamosa)

Explore the caves of Wapsipinicon State Park as you hike the multipurpose trails. The horse thief’s cave is named after the legend that the horse thief used the cave as a camp. The cool temperatures of the ice cave provide peace of mind on hot summer days.

Ice Cave (Decorah)

One of the largest ice caves in the Midwest, ice caves usually maintain ice-covered walls and sub-zero temperatures during the summer. After exploring the cave, head to Dannings Springs, a natural spring waterfall accessible on foot.

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