Believe it or not, there is more to Iowa than just cornfields. Dubuque offers a fascinating and diverse landscape that begs to be seen. With the promise of limestone cliffs, meandering streams, and dramatic canyons, it’s any outdoorsman’s dream. If you’re looking to get away from the city and experience the beauty of Iowa’s natural landscape for yourself, don’t miss our traveler’s guide to hiking in Dubuque, IA.
Not all walks should leave you breathless and sweaty. If you are looking for a little oasis of peace that doesn’t overload your muscles, Dubuque Arboretum is the answer. Tucked away on the northwest side of the city, the Arboretum covers a vast expanse of land with more than 60 different types of gardens. The gardens (including Rose, Hosta, English, Japanese, Grass, and more) are connected by a series of well-maintained walking trails. Fragrant, fascinating, and wonderfully peaceful, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.
The path of inheritance
Stretching 26 miles between Dyersville and Dubuque, the Heritage Trail is an incredible opportunity to get away from the city and get back to nature. The well maintained crushed limestone trail is flat and easy enough for all ages and skill levels to enjoy; understandably very popular with families. Passing through wooded areas and scenic landscapes, the trail winds alongside a stream for much of the way, providing a pleasant backdrop for what is already a very enjoyable hike. The trail is open year-round, but it does come at a cost – to access it, you’ll need to purchase a $ 10.25 annual pass or a $ 2.10 day pass.
Eagle Point Park
Eagle Point Park, described by Amongthnenglandandiowa.com as one of the best places to enjoy the outdoors in Dubuque, is the largest urban park in Dubuque and an incredible place to enjoy Iowa’s natural beauty. The park is perched on the High on a cliff overlooking the Mississippi River, it offers incredible and far-reaching views that are worth the trip alone. With tennis courts, pavilions, picnic areas, and even a fish pond, it is a popular place to have fun and relax. The trails and walking paths that run through the park are well maintained, flat, smooth, and perfect for stretching your legs. The park is open all year round, but if you can, schedule your visit for January or February, when it becomes an eagle nesting area.
Drive just 25 miles from downtown Dubuque and you’ll find Whitewater Canyon, a stunning area of natural beauty that was created several thousand years ago when an underground cave system collapsed. With numerous caves to visit and a good selection of challenging and easy trails (the Overlook trail and Stream Bottom trail come highly recommended), it is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon in nature.
Maquoketa Caves State Park
Technically, the Maquoketa Caves State Park is not in Dubuque. But it is such a fascinating place that it is worth the short trip to Maquoketa to see it. Described by stepoutside.org as Iowa’s most unique state park, the park’s sheer cliffs, spectacular limestone formations, and numerous natural caves offer fascinating insight into the geology that shapes Iowa. Many of the caves are accessible , some walking and some crawling. The 1,100 ′ Dancehall Cave features walkways and a lighting system; Equally worth visiting, Dugout Cave will require a flashlight to get around. Linking the caves and rock formations is an intricate network of trails that offer a glorious hiking experience. In recent years, the state has invested substantially in improving and maintaining the trails, with the result that they are now easy and enjoyable to traverse. Regardless of the season, there’s plenty to enjoy here, from wildflowers in spring to dramatic colors in fall to snowy peaks in winter.
Mines of Spain
The Mines of Spain were the place where the first inhabitants of Dubuque settled. Over time, it grew into a large lead mining community: its founder, Julien Dubuque, is now buried at a memorial site in the park. Today, it is a large recreational area that is immensely popular with visitors and locals alike. With picnic areas, benches, canoe launch pads, and a 15-mile trail network, it is an exceptional place to enjoy the great outdoors. Its trail network encompasses 10 hiking trails in total, all of which promise panoramic views and …