With the furlough keeping us home, I couldn’t wait to show off Backbone State Park to my out-of-state co-workers. It’s a park my family and I frequented when I was a kid, and I appreciate it more and more each time I visit.
Backbone, Iowa’s first state park, sits 3 miles south of Strawberry Point in northwestern Delaware County and offers anything a nature lover could ask for: great hiking and biking, picnic tables and grills, campgrounds, cabins, a beach, a trout stream, a cave... Depending on the season, park goers can fish, climb, snowmobile, boat and more. Wildlife abounds, and as we entered the park, we saw a bald eagle resting on a pole; my birding co-worker was already in heaven.
As employees of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), we geeked out knowing our predecessors with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) had constructed many amenities in the park – cabins, the beach and boat house, an auditorium, bridges, roads, picnic shelters, restrooms, and trails. The park now hosts a CCC museum, which unfortunately was closed this day we came to visit. The DNR website says the museum is open weekends Memorial Day through Labor Day and by special arrangement through the park office.
Backbone has 21 miles of trails to explore. Before we hit the trails, we grilled out at one of the many grills to provide some sustenance before our hike. We decided to hike the park’s namesake trail – Backbone Trail, with beautiful views of the Maquoketa River below. The leaves have just started to change colors, so it is a beautiful time to visit the park. After our hike, we put our feet in the water and relaxed at the beach, as it was an unusually warm October afternoon. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better day at this Iowa gem.
For more information on the park, reserving cabins, or the many activities to participate in, click HERE.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.