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13 Wonderful Waterfalls in Iowa

May 1, 2018

13 Wonderful Waterfalls in Iowa

From nature's splendor to man-made spillways, these water features are definitely wonderful. Below is the full list of Iowa's waterfalls, how to get to each one, and more attractions to explore while on your waterfall tour.

1. Dunnings Springs, Decorah

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: The waterfall is located in Dunnings Springs Park, just off Ice Cave Road in Decorah. It’s a short and easy walk from the parking lot.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Just down the road, check out Ice Cave, featuring ice deposits that last until late summer. You can also bike or walk the Trout Run Trail to the next waterfall on the list.

2. Siewer's Springs, Decorah

Photo Courtesy Iowa DNR

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: Technically a spillway located in Siewers Springs Park, the falls are easily accessible and located near a parking lot.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: The Decorah Fish Hatchery is located in the park, as well as the Decorah bald eagle nest.

3. Malanaphy Spring Falls, Bluffton

Photo by Bob White

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: The Decorah area’s third waterfall on the list is located northwest of town. Getting to this spring-fed waterfall requires a two-mile (round-trip) trail hike along the Upper Iowa River.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: After your waterfall tour of Decorah, head back downtown and fuel up at Mabe’s PizzaMagpie CoffeehouseToppling Goliath Brewery or Pulpit Rock Brewing.

4. Bridal Veil Falls, Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor

Photo by Clay Smith, Courtesy Iowa DNR

WHEN TO GO: Spring/Summer, dependent on weather conditions.

HOW TO GET THERE: The falls are an easy one-mile (round-trip) trail hike from the Pikes Peak State Park parking lot. The trail is well-marked and kid-friendly.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Don’t leave the park without checking out the panoramic view of the Mississippi River. Effigy Mounds National Monument is just five miles north of Pikes Peak.

5. Beulah Springs Falls, McGregor

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: Located near the entrance to Spook Cave Campground, the falls are just to the north, on Bloody Run Creek.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Touring Spook Cave is a must – the only way to explore it is by boat!

6. Backbone State Park Spillway, Dundee

Richmond Springs, Photo Courtesy Iowa DNR

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: Walk the West Lake Trail or drive 129th St. through the park for a view of the spillway. Backbone State Park beach will be in the background.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Backbone is a hiker’s paradise with miles of trails, easy to rugged. More impressive than the spillway is Richmond Springs, where you can watch spring water bubble up from the ground and wade into the crystal-clear pool. The springs are located on the north end of Backbone, near the Richmond Springs Shelter.

7. MacBride Falls, Solon

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: Although this waterfall is technically a spillway, the rock formations still make it an impressive site. The spillway is located between Lake Macbride and the Coralville Reservoir and is an easy hike.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Lake Macbride has a popular beach and is located near several campgrounds and outdoor recreation areas. Iowa CityCedar Rapids and the Amana Colonies are all a short drive away.

8. Duck Creek Waterfall, Bettendorf

WHEN TO GO: Spring/Summer, very dependent on water flow.

HOW TO GET THERE: This small natural waterfall is located within Devils Glen Park, where Duck Creek flows down limestone bluffs on its way to the Mississippi River.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: The park has paved trail connections to the Mississippi Riverfront trails, as well as other hiking trails and picnic areas. The park is a quiet stop in the Quad Cities metro area.

9. Union Grove State Park Spillway, Gladbrook

Photo Courtesy Iowa DNR

WHEN TO GO: Spring/Summer, very dependent on water flow.

HOW TO GET THERE: This spillway waterfall can be viewed easily from a drive around Union Grove State Park.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: If you want to check out more of Iowa’s unique attractions, visit Matchstick Marvels in nearby Gladbrook or the Salt & Pepper Shaker Gallery in Traer.

10. Briggs Woods Waterfall, Webster City

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: A series of short drops on the Boone River, this waterfall is a short hike from a parking lot and viewable from the paved Boone River Recreational Trail that goes through the park.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Camp at Briggs Woods Park or check out the other nearby scenic areas, Brushy Creek State Recreation Area or Dolliver Memorial State Park.

11. Ledges State Park, Boone

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: There are several water features and beautiful views as you drive and hike through Ledges State Park, but perhaps the most fun and iconic is Canyon Road where shallow water runs over the road and kids play in the spray.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Nearby are the Boone & Scenic Valley RailroadHigh Trestle Trail and Reiman Gardens.

12. Beed's Lake Spillway, Hampton

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: Claiming to be the most photographed dam in the Midwest, Beed’s Lake Spillway is a short walk (over grass) from a nearby parking lot off Beeds Lake Drive.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: For another way to view the water, drive to Iowa Falls and take a ride on the Scenic City Empress.

13. Willow Creek Waterfall, Mason City

Photo Courtesy Visit Mason City

WHEN TO GO: Year-round

HOW TO GET THERE: The Willow Creek Waterfall can be viewed from the State Street bridge between 1st St. NE and S Carolina Ave. in Mason City. The waterfall itself is located on private property – please obey all posted signage.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Since the waterfall is in its backyard, visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright Stockman House and Architectural Interpretive Center is a must. Make a day of it by visiting the nearby MacNider Art Museum and spending the night at the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotel – the Historic Park Inn.

This content was republished from Travel Iowa. Access the original content here.



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