Pikes Peak State Park is a hiker's delight. On its trails, hikers can explore beautiful wooded bluffs and valleys. Along the trails, hikers will see sheer walls of Decorah limestone, and fossil remains including brachiopods, gastropods and cephalopods. The trail goes past Bridal Veil Falls, a refreshing spring. The other trail leading to the Point Ann overlooks and the town of McGregor offers an invigorating hike with breathtaking views.
Bird watchers are also attracted to the area. With thousands of acres of mature forest and hundreds of miles of hiking trails, the area offers a diverse range of habitat.
The Northeast State Park Bike Route is a 130 mile route which connects Pikes Peak State Park, Wapsipinicon State Park, and Backbone State Park utilizing county highways.
Few locations offer greater opportunity to explore by boat. The broad expanse of the Upper Mississippi provides hundreds of miles of both mainland and island shoreline to explore. The area also lies at the confluence of the Wisconsin River and other navigable tributaries. When you run out of options near home, the Army Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam system allows easy passage up and downstream for the entire length of the Mississippi!
There are ample opportunities for cross country skiing on miles of trails in and around Harpers Ferry. The Yellow River State Forest alone offers more than 6,000 acres of maintained trails to explore.
Nearly all of the Yellow River State Forest is open to hunting during Iowa's open seasons.
The first lands acquired for Yellow River State Forest were purchased in 1935 with funds that were appropriated to support the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.). The original purchase was adjacent to the Yellow River near its confluence with the Mississippi and the name "Yellow River Forest" was appropriate. In 1949, 1500 acres of the Forest was transferred to the National Park Service and became a part of Effigy Mounds National Monument. The larger units of the state forest are now located in the Paint Creek watershed, north of Yellow River. Subsequent land purchases consolidated scattered tracts and today the forest is 8,503 acres in size.
Beyond the expansive fishery that is the Upper Mississippi, the Harpers Ferry area offers challenging fishing venues in the nearby trout streams of the Yellow River State Forest and countless other tributaries.
For detailed information about Iowa's fishery, visit the Iowa DNR website.
Few vacation destinations offer the range of boating options that you'll find on the Mississippi near Harpers Ferry. The deep water main channel is just the start. You'll find hundreds of miles of shoreline to explore as the current slows to fill bayous and inlets formed by the islands in the river's path. Some of these islands offer opportunities to socialize on beaches that become summer gathering places. Others offer solitude — and a better than fighting chance at landing the "big one."
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