Step Outside - Iowa WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - Iowa 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Tue, 19 Feb 2019 13:52:56 -0600 6 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in Iowa Don’t worry campers, you don’t have to stop your favorite activity just because it’s getting cold. Across Iowa, you’ll find cabin rental options that feel like they’re straight out of a fairytale. From lakeside retreats to KOAs that your children will love, here are the best winter cabin camping locations in Iowa. 

Relaxation waits for you at Rathbun Lake with the wide selection of domiciles made available through Foxtail Cabins. Featuring a range of rental properties, spanning from one-bedroom cozy cabins to rustic homes that can sleep up to 10 people, every cabin option at Foxtail comes with modern amenities and a great place to stretch out and play. While visiting Foxtail Cabins, be sure to take the time to check out Rathbun Lake and the amenities accessed at the shore. 

Set near the largest lake in the state of Iowa, Lake Red Rock, Horn’s Ferry Hideaway provides two luxury cabins to rent for the weekend or season. Horn’s Ferry Hideaway is squarely set between a wooded eagle and prairie and savannah refuge, providing quite the quiet and beautiful scenery to relax in. Each cabin at Horn’s Ferry Hideaway comes stocked with a king-size, comfortable bed, a living room with sofas and a fireplace, and a hot tub made for two to really top off the night. 

Featuring a baker’s dozen of beautiful, Amish-made cabins and rentals, all with great views of the Mississippi River plain in northeast Iowa, Iowa Cabin Rentals provides perhaps the coziest cabins of all. The different cabins vary in size from one another, with large group accommodations available, and each cabin comes equipped with all the modern amenities you need to enjoy your vacation. The real appeal of Iowa Cabin Rentals comes from the front porch though, and the view it provides as the day passes by. 

Located just over an hour northeast of Des Moines, Pine Lake State Park offers the perfect getaway with four cabins available throughout the year. With an ability to sleep six people, and easy access points for those who are handicapped, the cabins at Pine Lake State Park are perfect for every member of the family. Featuring bedroom areas, a kitchen, and a roaring fireplace for the winter, no matter the season, you can find a great rustic retreat within the cabins at Pine Lake State Park. 

Christmas cabin with @darbyshaye and the turd on the couch. Hiding out from the world for a couple days.

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This Waterloo KOA will be a paradise for kids as it has an island theme. So even in the winter time, you can pretend that the weather is a little warmer. There are several cabins available to rent, but make sure you book yours early! Their range of deluxe cabins can sleep anywhere from four to eight people and feature amenities such as full bathrooms, full kitchens, and more.  

Deck the halls and the Deluxe Cabin walls. #KOACamping

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Situated on 10 acres, the Sherburne House at Springbrook State Park in Guthrie Center can be reserved year round. The cabin features four bedrooms, three bathrooms, two living rooms, and a full kitchen. It sleeps 12 comfortably and makes for a great escape if you have a family or college reunion coming up. Tucked away into bucolic wilderness, you’ll love this getaway. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/6-best-winter-cabin-camping-spots-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/6-best-winter-cabin-camping-spots-in-iowa Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0600
7 Best Ski Destinations for Families in and Around Iowa If you are in the mood for some skiing and snowboarding action this winter, Iowa will help you out. Spread across the state, from the bluffs and elevated outcroppings of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to a few across-the-border gems, these seven best ski destinations in Iowa are perfect for you and your family! 

Featuring 21 runs, four lifts, and a wide variety of terrain park features, Sundown Mountain of Dubuque is one of Iowa’s hottest spots for skiing. Featuring natural and man-made snow throughout the winter, half the fun of Sundown is flying down the slopes surrounded by friends and family, and the other half is enjoying the same company at one of the two lodges available at Sundown. 

we out here

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Located on the far western border of Iowa, only 15 miles northeast of Omaha, Mt. Crescent Ski Area is well-known as great learning grounds for skiing, and a pretty fun place to hop on a sled. Featuring runs up to 2,400 feet in length, it’s not just beginners that enjoy the constant and manufactured snow of Mt. Crescent. Alongside the winding slopes for skiing and snowboarding, Mt. Crescent also provides a 1,000-foot sledding hill that everyone can enjoy. 

Family owned and operated, Seven Oaks Recreation Area of Boone is one of the most popular spots in central Iowa to grab some vertical action. Serving as a great location to ski, snowboard, tube or enjoy a fire in the lodge, Seven Oaks creates their own snow throughout the season, ensuring some freshly groomed tracks on every visit. With guided lessons available, and top-of-the-line rentals on demand, Seven Oaks Recreation proves itself to be one of the best ski resorts in Iowa. 

Thanks for being the best ski teacher πŸŽΏπŸ’™

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Also located in Des Moines, Sleepy Hollow Sports Park offers awesome recreation throughout the year. Come winter, the elevated surroundings of Sleepy Hollow transform into the perfect sledding and tubing hills. You won’t find much room for skiing and snowboarding at Sleepy Hollow, as this winter destination is exclusively reserved for other downhill options, but with some serious speed and downhill exhilaration, you can find all the winter fun you fancy at Sleepy Hollow Sports Park.  

Venturing outside the state of Iowa, and just across the Mississippi River from Sundown Mountain, Chestnut Mountain also offers some downhill skiing options this winter. You can literally see Iowa as you make your way up and down Chestnut Mountain, and this rival ski resort to Sundown also stacks on the slopes, lifts, and comfortable lodges. 

The good people over at Mount Kato in Mankato, Minnesota, have been celebrating winter in style for over 40 years, and this across-the-Iowa-border ski resort has figured out a thing or two in that time about hosting a fun winter resort. Just over an hour north of the Iowa border, Mount Kato features long runs, daily grooming, and a community of skiers that welcomes everyone who hits the slopes. 

Located just across the Missouri River from Sioux City, Iowa, Great Bear Ski Valley can be found in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and provides some of the biggest ski terrain in the Midwest. Featuring over 220 acres of skiable terrain and 14 different downhill trails, Great Bear Ski Valley is good for those looking to pick up the sport of skiing, practice their skills, or perfect their downhill technique as they glide down the mountain.  

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Throw back to Fun Ski last weekend. Couple runs with @derek_pontoon βš’ — — — @gopro

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http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-ski-destinations-for-families-in-and-around-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-ski-destinations-for-families-in-and-around-iowa Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0600
7 Best Ski and Snowboard Stores in Iowa The winter is upon us, and hopefully with the dropping temperatures comes some big snow. If you are looking for the right equipment to enjoy the snow this winter in Iowa, you are in luck, because spread throughout the state, there are some great local ski and snowboard shops that can set you up right. Whether you opt for the downhill ride or cross-country glide, you’ll find everything you need at these seven best ski and snowboard shops in Iowa.

Offering activities and equipment throughout the year, Geoff’s Bike and Ski shop in Iowa City is one of Iowa’s top, local sporting stores in the state. Throughout the year you can find road, mountain and fat bikes at Geoff’s, and come winter, the skis, snowboards and winter accessories seem to dominate the shelf. Including such top-name brands as Burton, Salomon, Fischer, and Atomic, Geoff’s Bike and Ski has you covered for all of your manual snow sport needs.

The seasons change in Iowa, as does the inventory of Wayne’s Ski & Cycle in Mason City. Offering bikes, exercise equipment, hockey gear and outdoor furniture throughout the year, come winter, this locally owned and operated sporting goods store busts out the skis. Besides the stacked inventory of skis and skiing apparel, Wayne’s Ski & Cycle provides other services such as ski waxing, cross-country ski rentals, and perhaps some insider knowledge on the best places around to make some tracks.

Specializing in cycling, skiing, and fitness equipment, Free Flight in Dubuque is a relatively new outdoor gear and equipment shop in Iowa, and they are quickly becoming the number one spot for every season in Iowa. Come winter, Free Flight has everything you need to hit the slopes and cross country all winter long. Skis, boots, bindings, and poles are a good start at Free Flight, followed by helmets, clothing, and car racks, Free Flight has everything you need to celebrate winter right. 

This winter, Europa Cycle in Cedar Falls encourages you to go out and play. They make it easy to do that too, with a full line of skis, fat bikes, and the service you need to ride the entire winter away. Europa Cycle focuses solely on cross-country skiing, which means if you are looking to go downhill, you will need to look elsewhere. If you are the kind who can’t get enough glide in your day though, the cross-country ski selection at Europa Cycle is one of the best in Iowa. 

Back to where it all began. #gobybike #bicyclepilgrimage #supportyourLBS

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Featuring everything you need to ski and more, Active Endeavors is a great place to get set up for everything needed to enjoy some winter sports. Hats, gloves, base layers, technical jackets and wool socks, Active Endeavors has you covered there. Car racks, goggles, hand-warmers and hydration backpacks, Active Endeavors also has your back. Not to mention the many different cross-country skis, snowboards and snowshoes available, and it’s easy to see, Active Endeavors is there for you this winter. 

With three locations across Iowa, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Clive, Play It Again Sports is a chain retail store that specializes in quality used sports gear that they buy from consumers and resell in their store. That means, whatever you are looking for in Iowa, whether it be fitness equipment, sports equipment or snow equipment, you can always find it for a better price at Play It Again Sports. This includes all skis, snowboards and accessories every winter in Iowa.

Specializing as a nation-wide sporting goods store for adventures, the only REI in Iowa, the REI in West Des Moines, has one of the most comprehensive stocks of skis and snowboards in Iowa. Featuring every type of manual-powered winter sport you can have in Iowa and well beyond, including cross-country, downhill and backcountry skiing, as well as snowboarding, snowshoeing and all the attire you need to stay warm, REI is a great spot to go for a big selection. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-ski-and-snowboard-stores-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-ski-and-snowboard-stores-in-iowa Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0600
10 Best Ice Skating Rinks in Iowa While the winter cold may bring shivers to some, for those that enjoy ice skating, the dropping temperatures are always a welcomed sign. For those figure skaters and hockey players in Iowa, there are plenty of ice rinks to choose from. Whether you want to participate in some recreational hockey leagues, practice your figure skating skills, or simply show up and enjoy some public skating, you can find all of that and more at any one of these 10 best ice skating rinks in Iowa.

Backdropped by a beautiful city skyline, the Brenton Skating Plaza is an outdoor skating rink in the heart of downtown Des Moines. Offering rentals and opportunities to skate at night, Brenton Skating Plaza also offers events throughout the season ranging from broomball games to outdoor concerts. For those looking to pop the question to their significant other, Brenton Skating Plaza also offers a special “Promotion” package which includes private skate time for two.

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Situated in the Coral Ridge Mall, next to a 10-screen movie theater, the Coral Ridge Ice Arena hosts ice activity throughout the year. Whether it’s public skating, hockey leagues, or ice-skating lessons, there’s always something cool to do. Public skate can be found on the ice every day at Coral Ridge Ice Arena, and with the additional movie theater and dining options under the same roof, any visit can make for a full afternoon or evening.  

The Raccoon River Park Ice Rink in West Des Moines has been open to the public since 2016, and since its inception it has proven to be a fun spot to beat the winter blues. Outdoors and pristine, patrons to the Raccoon River Park Ice Rink need to bring their own ice skates, and public admission is always free. Hockey, broomball, and other ice activities are always welcomed, as long as there's enough ice to share for everyone to enjoy.

Home to the American Hockey League team the Iowa Wild, the Metro Ice Sports Facility hosts year-round ice rink activity. Besides watching the prowess of the Iowa Wild in their home habitat, patrons to the Metro Ice Sports Facility can enjoy figure skating lessons, recreation hockey leagues, and public skate. With two full-size ice rinks within the facility, the Metro Ice Sports Facility provides unique ice time every day of the week. 

Operating under the city of Waterloo, the Young Arena is home to the American Hockey League’s Waterloo Blackhawks, and besides hosting national champions, this open-to-the-public ice rink also hosts plenty of personal skating time. Public skate, adult hockey leagues, and Learn-to-Skate clinics—there are a lot of options for entertainment at the Young Arena. For those looking for the aesthetics of an ice rink, but not the slick surfaces, public walking is available on the upper concourse of the arena. 

Home to the junior hockey team, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena welcomes the public nearly every day of the week to enjoy the ice. The Cedar Rapids Ice Arena’s schedule is packed to the brim with public skates, adult hockey leagues, how to skate clinics, figure skating practice time, and even Cheap Skate Mondays. Operating throughout the year and every season, Cedar Rapids Ice Arena is always a great way to keep cool.

New year, same best friendsπŸ€—β›Έβ„οΈ

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When the weather cooperates just right in Clear Lake, the Marian Park Ice Skating Rink is a popular place to be. Completely free and open to skate anytime the conditions are right, the Marian Park Ice Skating Rink also features a warming house open in the evenings. Monday nights are high school-only nights, and the rest of the week is open to all ages. 

Completely free of charge and only open for public skate, the Frozen Landing Family Ice Park of Bettendorf is a great way to get your blood flowing on a cold winter day. Ice skate rentals are available for $2 a day, and while hockey skates are fine to use on the ice, no sticks or pucks are allowed. With open hours every day of the week, there’s little limit to the amount of fun to be had the Frozen Landing Family Ice Park. 

Featuring Learn-to-Skate clinics, figure skating practice hours, skate rentals, and recreational hockey leagues, the Mystique Community Ice Center always has something to keep you exercising and entertained. Public skate is available throughout the week, and for even more fun, the Mystique Community Ice Center also provides special camps, workshops and classes throughout the year. 

The North Iowa Ice Arena has a lot going on throughout the year and season. Home to the Mason City Youth Hockey League, the North Iowa Ice Arena provides a popular intro into the sport. The North Iowa Ice Arena also provides great access to figure skating as a home rink for the North Iowa Figure Skating Club. Come each hockey season, the North Iowa Ice Arena is also home to the Tier III Junior ice hockey team, the North Iowa Bulls, who never fail to put on a good show on the ice. 

we really are not very good but at least we triedπŸ‘πŸ»

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-ice-skating-rinks-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-ice-skating-rinks-in-iowa Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0600
The Best Cross-Country Skiing Adventure in Iowa Iowa’s beautiful landscapes make for a whimsical cross-country skiing experience come winter. And Decorah, Iowa, may be among the very best of those winter destinations. Not only are their well-groomed trails to explore, but the people of the town make your experience even more special. The shop owners, rental technicians, and all the friendly faces at the trailhead make everything more memorable. Add it all up and it’s easy to see why Decorah provides the best cross-country skiing adventure in Iowa.

For some of the best scenery for cross-country skiing in Iowa, your one-stop winter destination has got to be Decorah. Featuring a wide array of trails, including the state-famous 11-mile Trout Run Trail groomed for both classic and skate skis, it’s not just the tracks that draw winter enthusiasts to Decorah. It’s the hilly geography of northeast Iowa that draws the attention, complete with lush woodlands and serene winter scenes. But before you head out, you’re going to need some skis. 

If you are interested in the adventure, but don’t find yourself with the right gear, the first place you should stop at in Decorah is Decorah Bicycles. Don’t let the name fool you, because alongside their full arsenal of road and mountain bikes, Decorah Bicycles also offers cross-country skis, snowshoes, and ice skates. Add to it the friendly service and the insider’s guide on the best places to skate, and Decorah Bicycles can be your central hub of activity on your next visit. 

Nothing pairs better with the cold breath of winter than a hot cup of espresso or coffee. It’s highly recommended to bypass the gas station cup of joe on your next visit to Decorah, and instead indulge on the flavor and aromas found at the Impact Coffee Bar and Roasters. As a craft coffee shop, Impact Coffee Bar and Roasters offers exclusively pour-over brews and a wide variety of espresso drinks, all of which serve as some great jet fuel for your cross-country skiing adventure.

To add some culture to your cross-country experience, the ArtHaus in downtown Decorah is a great stop on any visit. Featuring local and regional art, the ArtHaus lends to a lot of different artistic mediums, including improv acting, acrylics, and finger paint. Whether you go for a class or just stop in to peruse the artwork, any visit to the ArtHaus compliments nicely with the natural art found on the trails. 

For a little extra wildlife fun on your Decorah visit, the Decorah Fish hatchery, alongside the Trout Run Trail, is a great stop along the way. Set in a picturesque part of the city, the limestone office of the hatchery is worthy of a postcard picture. Users might not find a whole lot of trout activity at the peak of winter, but just above their heads, the nationally known Decorah Eagles Nest is always supporting some wildlife activity. 

Nothing can top of your cross-country skiing adventure in Decorah better than a piping-hot slice of Mabe’s Pizza. Featuring a long list of specialty pizzas that will make your mouth water, and just about every customizable add-on item you can think of, Mabe’s pizzas are all made to order and served fresh out of the oven. For those oddballs and non-pizza-eaters, Mabe’s also provides on their menu many different delicious sandwich, pastas and salads. 

With over 33,000 artifacts to explore, the Vesterheim takes a deep dive into the Norwegian-American history that helps define the surrounding city. Named as one of the top small-town museums by Fodor, Vesterheim transports patrons to a whole new cultural world and reality, lending towards hands-on activities and deep interest along the way. As a great counterbalance to the blood-pumping fun of cross-country skiing, the mentally stimulating experience of visiting Vesterheim can even out your adventure quite nicely. 

For a little vino after your ski session, the Empty Nest Winery is the place to be. Featuring nine craft beers on tap, plus a few ciders, the real reason to visit the Empty Nest Winery is their house blends and bottles. Closed for the month of January, find this locally favorite winery in the other months of winter to really reward yourself after a long day of skiing. 

YUMMY tasting with Grandma!

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If you are looking for a cabin in the woods to link up multiple days of skiing in Decorah, there are quite a few options to choose from. No cabin is quite as fun, quite as cozy, or quite as eco-conscious than the Fern Hollow Cabin though. Patrons and long-term living guests have found shelter and solitude in the Fern Hollow Cabin for over 150 years, and you can be the next guest to continue the legacy. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/the-best-crosscountry-skiing-adventure-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/the-best-crosscountry-skiing-adventure-in-iowa Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0600
7 Best Cross-Country Skiing Spots in Iowa To really make the most out of an Iowa winter, it’s highly recommended to grab some cross-country skis and enjoy the weather. Spread across the state of Iowa, there are many miles of cross-country ski trails waiting to be explored, ranging from the rolling hills of Decorah to the wooded valleys of Boone. To find some winter fun, go ahead and check out these seven awesome cross-country skiing spots in Iowa. 

Some of the best cross-country skiing in Iowa is made possible by the good people at the Cedar Trails Partnership, who help maintain nearly 100 miles of trails in eastern Iowa. The largest of these trails, the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, provides over 50 miles of trail to explore throughout the winter. One of the most acclaimed and sought-after trails however, is the 17-mile Cedar Prairie Loop that showcases some of the best Iowa winter scenery found across the state. 

Serving as perhaps the capital of cross-country skiing city in Iowa, the city of Decorah provides much more than just a single trail to explore. Ranging from the routes found at Palisades Park and the Community Prairie to the more secluded Ice Cave and Twin Springs Park tracks, the crown-jewel of the Decorah cross-country ski system is the 11-mile Trout Run Trail. Groomed for both classic and skating styles, this loop is some of the best cross-country skiing in Iowa.

Big Creek State Park is a beautiful place to visit year-round, but the opportunity for cross-country skiing during the winter is particularly excellent. There are many miles of trails to accommodate bicyclists during the summer and snowmobilers and cross-country skiers during the winter. Be sure to take a look at Big Creek Lake when the weather gets cold—it’s truly a sight to see. 

While Lake Macbride State Park in Solon is a popular place to visit throughout the year, the winter provides its own fair share of fun activity. Winding throughout and around the massive Lake Macbride, this state park offers groomed and backcountry cross-country skiing, and found around every turn, some of the most beautiful Iowa winter landscapes waiting to be seen. 

Yesterday my friends @primalhacker taught me something. When you work out in a blue lit gym it creates scar tissue in muscle. Working out outside does not. Interesting! For any of you that know me personally or those of you that have been following me for sometime, you know that I'm a major outdoor enthusiast. Time outdoors, especially in wide open spaces really contributes a great deal to my happiness. Today I XC skied 4 miles, it was only 12 degrees but I got really hot, for any of you that have done it before you know it can be quite the workout. I agree with Chris and Thaddeus....find something that you enjoy that gets you outside! OUTDOORS OR BUST!!!! β˜€οΈ . . . #optoutside #rewildyourlife #winter #ketogirl #crosscountryskiing #lablife #fitness #fitgirl #nature #getyourassintonature #gooutside #snow #snowbunny #labradorretriever #natureheals #earthmedicine #fatfuled #happiness #naturelover

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With over 21 miles of trails to explore throughout the year, Backbone State Park remains as one of Iowa’s most popular parks throughout every season. Cross-country skiers and snowmobilers flock to Backbone come wintertime, but with so much space to explore, many times the only people you’ll see are the ones you’ll run into in the parking lot. Featuring great winter atmosphere, fresh tracks, and always a good workout, see for yourself why cross-country skiing in Backbone State Park is so popular. 

First adventure at Backbone State Park was a success!

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Featuring groomed and ungroomed routes spread out between 925 acres, the cross-country ski trails at Pinicon Ridge Park can keep you active all year round. With a wide variety of forested and woodland scenery, Pinicon Ridge Park is the perfect winter playground to glide through all season. While you are there, other fun winter activities are at your disposal, including a great sledding hill and more than one spot to drill a hole for ice fishing. 

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With proximity to Marion and Cedar Rapids, Squaw Creek County Park is a popular place to visit throughout the year. Spread out over 700 acres, the excitement only increases come winter at Squaw Creek Park, and a majority of the hiking trails receive grooming throughout the winter. A public warming house invites you to start a fire at Squaw Creek Park, and the adjacent sledding hill can also provide a full day of activity. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-crosscountry-skiing-spots-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-crosscountry-skiing-spots-in-iowa Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0600
Best Winter Weekend Getaway in Backbone State Park If you’re in search of a winter adventure, Backbone State Park will provide you with over 2,000 acres of fun. Backbone is the oldest park in Iowa and is named for a striking escarpment (the highest point in Northeast Iowa) formed by the Maquoketa River. Travelers will find everything from camping and fishing to skiing and snowmobiling within the park. Start planning your trip now. 

Backbone State Park has two campgrounds that are open year-round to both RVs/Trailers and tent campers. The modern South Lake Campground, however, offers two frost-free pumps that make water available to campers throughout the year. Not feeling like camping? Rent one of the park’s year-round camper cabins. 

If you love to snowmobile, you’ll be happy to learn that Backbone State Park is home to over 21 miles of multi-use trails through cedar and hardwood forests. From the South Lake Campground, jump onto the West Lake Trail on your snowmobile, and you can blaze along the southern portion of Backbone Lake until you connect with the East Lake/Bluebird Trails. Pay attention to trail markings, as snowmobiling is not allowed in the adjacent state forest.

Trout anglers will be pleased to learn that Backbone State Park boasts its own trout stream. Richmond Springs flows into a rushing, cold-water stream that is perfect for year-round trout angling. In November and December, and again in late winter, the trout are feeding aggressively—which is good news for those who are chasing them.

In addition to fantastic snowmobiling opportunities, Backbone State Park is home to almost seven and a half miles of cross-country skiing on the Forest Trail. The trail winds out of the northeast corner of the park and into the adjacent Backbone State Forest, through the hardwoods and pines that are native to the area.

Just northeast of and adjacent to the park, Backbone State Forest is open to public hunting. This makes the park an awesome basecamp for any outdoor adventure that includes hunting—during the appropriate season, of course. Make sure you have all the proper Iowa licenses and endorsements and be careful not to cross into the park: Hunting is not permitted inside state parks. Check out more Iowa hunting information here

No visit to Backbone State Park would be complete without visiting its namesake feature: The Devil’s Backbone. This feature is a limestone escarpment that was carved out by a tight curve in the Maquoketa River, leaving the park with one of the highest points in northeast Iowa. The trail can be difficult and rocky in the summer, so use extra caution in the winter. Assess the trail conditions before setting out and turn back if the going is too tough or slippery—an ascending 80-foot trek isn’t one to be taken lightly. 

A little southeast of Backbone State Park, near the town of Cascade, you’ll find the Whitewater Canyon Wildlife Area. One of only three true canyons in the state, the near 500-acre reserve is a gorgeous (pun intended) place for a winter snowshoe. Of the area’s many trails, Lost Canyon offers the most striking scenery in a sometimes-challenging loop.

Sundown Mountain Ski Resort is located less than an hour east of Backbone State Park, outside of Dubuque. With its 475 feet of vertical, 21 trails, four lifts, two terrain parks, and two lodges, Sundown is Eastern Iowa’s largest ski area. While you’re in the area, refuel at the famous Copper Kettle under 10 miles away in Dubuque.

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If you’re up for some fat biking during your stay at Backbone, feel free to explore the open trails in the park. But if you’d like a longer ride and a change of scenery, head to the Volga River State Recreation Area, about 30 minutes northwest of the park, near Fayette. The 25-mile trail system includes the Lima Trail, which will take you along 20-foot high limestone bluffs and through acres of white pines. On your return to Backbone, grab some grub at Barney’s in nearby Wadena.

Not too far from the trails at Volga River is this masterpiece of a restaurant. You never know what kind of culinary masterpiece they’ll be serving up at Shrubb’s Street Eatery in Fayetteville. With options like specialty gourmet flatbreads, fresh artisanal salads, and other drool worthy dishes, you’ll be satisfied no matter what. The dishes are composed of unique, fresh, and local ingredients; so, you could imagine that their quality matches their creativity—top notch! Not only are the prices very fair, the service is also very personal and laid back. This friendly eatery is certainly worth a stop. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/best-winter-weekend-getaway-in-backbone-state-park http://stepoutside.org/article/best-winter-weekend-getaway-in-backbone-state-park Wed, 12 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0600
SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Stone State Park Featuring a wide variety of trails, dense woodland, and scenic options for overnight adventures, Stone State Park is a western Iowa jewel of a natural space. Located just north of Sioux City, Stone State Park offers adventure throughout the year with hiking trails in the summer and cross-country ski tracks throughout the winter. Stone State Park also offers quick access to the many amenities offered by Sioux City. 

From art museums to historic homesteads, here’s how to make the most of your time in and around Stone State Park.

Situated in the magnificent bluffs and ravines near the Big Sioux River, Stone State Park spans 1,069 acres and boasts lush forested spaces. With many miles of hiking trails, camping areas (including cabins), and prime wildlife viewing opportunities, Stone State Park is a sight to see. 

v reckless

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Lined with a long row of late-19th-century buildings, all with a distinct Romanesque Revival flare, the Historic Fourth Street of downtown Sioux City could be a great accompaniment for your Stone State Park adventure. Filled with restaurants, nightlife and a handful of boutiques, half of the fun of visiting Historic Fourth Street is just catching the vibe of this preserved and pretty part of town. 

Celebrating the time spent in Sioux City by the Corps of Discovery, the Sioux City Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center adds a little contextual history to enhance your visit to Stone State Park. See for yourself the trials and tribulations faced by the team led by Lewis and Clark, and specifically the time in 1804 when Sergeant Charles Floyd, the first U.S. soldier to die west of the Mississippi, perished near this side of town. Full of interesting and hands-on exhibits, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center can add a little education to your visit.  

Because you are inevitably going to build up an appetite while exploring Stone State Park, a great place to top of your adventure with a delicious meal is Main + Abbey in Sioux City. Situated at the Hard Rock Casino, Main + Abbey is a gastropub with a London flair, and offers plenty of food and libations to find your fill. With a plethora of first-class American inspired entrees, and over 30 craft beers on tap, if you end your adventure at Stone State Park with dinner at Main + Abbey, you’ll be ending your day on a high note. 

To find some extra educational value with your time spent at Stone State Park, it’s worth checking out the Sioux City Public Museum in downtown Sioux City. Featuring a rotating selection of local and regional artworks, spanning all sorts of forms and traditions, with every visit you can find something new at the Sioux City Public Museum. Also featuring hands-on and interactive displays, the Sioux City Public Museum is a great way to round out the day for all members of the family. 

Operated by the National Park Service and located on the National Register of Historic Places, the Sergeant Floyd Monument in Sioux City commemorates the passing of the first U.S. soldier to die west of the Mississippi in 1804, and the only soldier in the Corps of Discovery who died along the journey. Upon your visit to this towering obelisk, you can learn more about the conditions of Sergeant Floyd’s passing, and further understand your knowledge of the Lewis and Clark expedition and the role the surrounding Sioux City environment played in it.  

Nothing pairs better with the nature you’ll find at Stone State Park than the art you’ll find at the Sioux City Art Center. Featuring a rotating collection of regional, local, national and international art, ranging from water colors to immense lawn sculptures, there is something to catch everyone’s eye at the Sioux City Art Center. Best yet, much like Stone State Park, admission is free to enjoy the Sioux City Art Center, making for an affordable day full of adventure. 

If you are looking for some overnight accommodations that aren’t the campgrounds at Stone State Park, one of the most luxurious options you can opt for in Sioux City is the Stoney Creek Hotel. Standing proudly as one of the nicest overnight stays in Sioux City, Stoney Creek Hotel offers comfortable rooms, a friendly staff and a beautiful courtyard that lends easy access to the sights and things to do in downtown Sioux City. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/spotlight-things-to-do-in-and-around-stone-state-park http://stepoutside.org/article/spotlight-things-to-do-in-and-around-stone-state-park Fri, 02 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
6 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Iowa There’s nothing quite as thrilling as taking out an ATV for an adventure. Spread across the state of Iowa, the Department of Natural Resources operates six OHV parks that welcome all sorts of off-road vehicles and levels of riders. Enjoy a variety of terrain, and vast open space at these off-roading locations. To get those wheels turning toward a fun journey, check out these six great ATV off-roading spots in the state. 

Located on the western edge of Iowa, the River Valley OHV Park features 23 miles of off-road track that explores over 190 acres of rolling terrain next to the Missouri River. You can expect some sandy track at River Valley, as well as a few hills and manicured berms along the way. Whether your transportation of choice is an off-road motorcycle or an ATV, it’s easy to spend all day exploring what this OHV park has to offer. River Valley is open year-round, but the trails are subject to close due to inclement weather or poor conditions, and it’s best to check on the status of the trails through the Iowa DNR before heading out. 

Located between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, near the small town of Solon and Lake Macbride State Park, Lakeview OHV Park is one of the top OHV destinations in the state of Iowa. Featuring multiple tracks to facilitate all levels of riders, the trails at Lakeview also feature a varying terrain including loose sand, hard-packed dirt and mud bogs to make your way out of. Lakeview is a popular place to play, but with over 160 acres to explore, there is plenty of room for everyone to explore. Camping is not allowed at the OHV trail system itself, but Lakeview is located within short distance to some of the best campgrounds in Iowa at the neighboring state park.

Located in the northwest section of Iowa, Nicholson-Ford OHV Park provides 20 miles of woodland trails that are free to explore year-round. In proximity to the Iowa River, the Nicholson-Ford trails tend to reflect the near-water environment it finds itself in, and can at times produce stagnant conditions and many dry and wet creek bed crossings to mix things up. Noted as a great place for beginners to ride, even expert OHV riders can find something they like in the large length of trails.

Located at what was once a working rock quarry, the Rathbun OHV Park features a unique set of trails that wind and loop through the land, crossing dirt, rock, and many different features. The 125 acres encompassing Rathbun OHV Park has something for every rider in your family to enjoy, including expert-only tracks to practice for competitions, a tot lot for the littler riders in your life, and roughly 20 miles of trail in total that covers everything in between. The entire facility is in proximity to Rathbun Lake, which provides plentiful views throughout your ride and a unique opportunity to cool off at the end of a hot summer day.

Noted around the state as one of the best places to find off-road trails, Gypsum City is located two miles southeast of Fort Dodge at what was once an active gypsum mine. Thanks to state and community support, Gypsum City has grown over the last two decades to include miles of trails designed specifically for off-road motorcycles and vehicles. Featuring rolling hills and perimeter trails, Gypsum City is welcoming for all levels and styles of riders. Despite this being a popular place during every weekend of warm weather, there is plenty and more to explore to let everyone enjoy the space. 

Encompassing 300 acres and including a public camping area to stay the night, the Tama County OHV Park is one of the largest in Iowa, and provides some of the best hard-packed trails to really let the throttle out. The 15 miles of trails found at the Tama County OHV Park spend a lot of time exploring the woodlands surrounding the Iowa River, including a handful of scenic bridge crossings. Alongside the winding routes through the trees, the park also provides 15 miles of perimeter trails to explore, as well as a kid track and motocross specific trail. With a camping area connected to the trails and staging space, the Tama County OHV Park is the perfect place to stay the weekend and rev your engines from morning to night.

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

Take me to the Bridge less traveled πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€

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Tereshchenko Dmitr/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/6-cool-spots-for-atv-offroading-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/6-cool-spots-for-atv-offroading-in-iowa Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Stunning Fall Foliage Hikes in Iowa It has long been a fact that the fall in Iowa is the best season in the state. Alongside the cooler temperatures, the state comes to life with college football games, apple picking opportunities, and a brand-new palette of color to enjoy. The best way to experience the changing colors of Iowa involves hiking atop the fallen leaves, and across the state amongst its many state parks. You can find stunning fall foliage hikes that can transport you to a whole new world. To get your hiking boots pointed in the right direction, it’s recommended to aim your compass to these five stunning fall foliage hikes in Iowa. 

Home to the colorful Paint Creek Unit, Yellow River State Forest is Iowa’s largest state forest, and perhaps its most notable when it comes to stunning fall foliage. With 25 miles of marked trails throughout the Paint Creek Unit alone, Yellow River State Forest is home to Iowa’s best backpacking trails, and there is little better way to enjoy the changing the colors than spending the night amongst them. Expect some bright colors in the Yellow River State Forest, it will surely leave you with sights to remember. 

Located in the scenic Loess Hills of Eastern Iowa, Stone State Park is a natural getaway to see some of the best fall colors in Iowa. Complete with picnic areas, hiking trails, and campgrounds, there are many ways to enjoy the changing colors of fall at Stone State Park. A recommended course of action when visiting this celebrated state park is to spend some time at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center to learn a bit more about the beautiful surrounding that encompass Stone State Park. After you’re done learning about the environment, it adds to the experience of exploring all the beautiful colors. 

Serving as one of Iowa’s most popular state parks, Ledges offers some of the best views of Iowa landscapes throughout the year, and when autumn rolls around, it really begins to pop with some color. Even the parking lot of Ledges State Park offers plenty of foliage to admire, but to really take advantage of this scenic state park, hiking the four miles of trails is really worth your while. For those limited in their mobility, Ledges State Park also offers a fully accessible interpretive trail that lends access to some fall color, making this state park a great place for the whole family to enjoy fall wonder. 

While the caves of Maquoketa State Park are fun to explore throughout the snow-free months of the year, when the colors of autumn surround this unique Iowa state park, it’s a whole other sight to see. Perhaps the most memorable experience to have at Maquoketa State Park is taking a stroll through the Grand Hall cave, which is easily big enough to drive a car through, and during the autumn is bookended by beautiful fall colors. While it may feel like you have traveled outside the state to experience it, a fall afternoon at Maquoketa Caves State Park provides an Iowa afternoon you’ll never forget.

Located in the far southeast corner of the state, Waubonsie State Park in Hamburg offers all types of fall foliage enjoyment. Whether you are looking for a scenic drive, a lengthy hiking trail or a great place to spend the night, Waubonsie State Park provides plenty of color to enjoy the experience. Offering both equestrian and hiking trails, Waubonsie State Park also provides tent site, RV sites, and camping cabins that can be utilized throughout the year. However you enjoy the changing weather at Waubonsie State Park, you’ll surely be provided plenty of fall foliage that can really add a touch of color to your experience. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-fall-foliage-hikes-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-fall-foliage-hikes-in-iowa Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Lakeview OHV Park It’s time to hop on your ATV and explore some trails. For a full-day of off-roading adventure in Iowa, from sunrise to sunset, one of your best bets will be to head to the eastern side of the state near Solon, where all your adventures and appetites can be easily met. And to get a little sneak-peek as to what the perfect off-roading itinerary looks like in this adventure-rich area of Iowa, you can check out this perfect trip! 

Any good adventurous day needs to start off with the right fuel, and if you begin your off-road adventure in Solon at the Salt Fork Kitchen, you’ll be ready to tackle everything that comes your way. Not only are the omelets and other breakfast items enough to satisfy a king or queen, but every ingredient is raised locally among the Iowa agriculture. Top it all off with a cup of freshly-brewed coffee or three, and after you visit the Salt Fork Kitchen, you’ll be ready to go riding. 

Located less than five miles from the Salt Fork Kitchen, the Lakeview OHV Park provides over 147 acres of off-road trails to explore. There is no fee to ride on the Lakeview OHV Park trails which is operated by the Iowa DNR, but registration stickers are needed on all motor vehicles. Open to ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles daily, the several miles of trails found at the Lakeview OHV Park wind through the forest environment with hill climbs, hard-pack trails, and plenty of opportunities to catch a little air.   

If you want to let your engine’s rest for a moment during the day, the neighboring Sugar Bottom Recreation Area provides more than one way to sit back and enjoyably kill some time. While the sandy beach and access to the Iowa River is always appealing, as well as the non-motorized mountain bike trails that sprawl through the area, it’s the professional 18-hole disc golf course that is worth some of your play. Whether it’s your first time throwing a frisbee or you’re a seasoned pro, the Sugar Bottom Disc Golf Course is fun to explore.

After your full day, it’s worth rewarding yourself with some award-winning food and a well-deserved craft beverage (or two). If you want to treat your taste buds right, the Big Grove Brew Pub in Solon perfects the dining-out experience down to the last detail. Whether you go for the menu items like the bacon and butternut squash, or the seasonal craft beer selection, the one thing that keeps people in their seats at the Big Grove Brew Pub and coming back for more is the comfortable ambiance and atmosphere of this friendly, local neighborhood gastropub.   

To finish your full-day off-roading adventure, it’s recommended to camp under the stars, and the nearby Lake Macbride State Park is the perfect place to do that. Featuring two different campgrounds and plenty of space to share, Lake Macbride is not only a great place to spend the night, but it’s the perfect home base for many more days of adventure. The campground in the northern unit of Lake Macbride features modern restroom facilities and full electrical hook-up. The southern unit campground is more primitive, with no electrical hook-ups and vault toilets, but provides perhaps some of the best campsite views in the state of Iowa. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-lakeview-ohv-park http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-lakeview-ohv-park Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Best Fishing Spots in Iowa From the state’s running rivers to its serene lakes to its secret destinations, Iowa is an incredible place to fish. Anglers will find everything from largemouth bass to crappie to catfish. With the right bait and in the right spot, you might snag that big catch. Here are the five best fishing spots in Iowa.  

Pinicon Ridge Park in Linn County is a popular place for many types of outdoor adventures including hiking and camping, but for those anglers out there, the one reason to check out this county park is the fishing. Featuring smallmouth bass, bigmouth buffalo, and northern pike, among many other fish species, fishermen and fisherwomen can cast out their bait into this river anytime of the year with a good chance to catch something. The Iowa DNR recognizes the Wapsipinicon River and the Pinicon Ridge Park access as some of the most premier fishing in the state of Iowa, so it’s no secret spot, but with plenty of fish to catch and plenty of room to cast out a line, you can see for yourself what makes this a great fishing location in Iowa.

Perhaps the only home to the prized Kentucky spotted bass in Iowa, Lake Macbride is an angler’s dream come true when it comes to high-quality fishing. Besides the Kentucky spotted bass, Lake Macbride also is home to walleye, catfish, and musky, and with seven boat ramps available, plus rentals on shore, the possibilities are endless for your next big catch. Lake Macbride is a popular spot not just for the anglers also, and within your fishing visit you can expect to see many other Iowa denizens playing on the shore, hiking the trails or staying at the campgrounds. Whatever activities you decide to add onto your fishing adventure at Lake Macbride State Park, you’ll be sure to catch a great time exploring the waters of this man-made reservoir. 

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Recognized as the first county conservation man-made lake in the state of Iowa, Hannen Lake within Hannen Park is a stocked-full fishing adventure waiting to happen. Featuring 45 acres of water to fish in and boat upon, there is good chance you’ll catch black crappie, bluegills or largemouth bass, making for an exciting moment every time you reel something in. The Iowa DNR also stocks this man-made lake with catfish throughout the year, giving every angler even more variety of what they can catch at Hannen Lake, and with an RV campground not far from the shore, this is one fishing hole in Iowa that can be easily explored for multiple days at a time. 

The Iowa DNR operates eight different trout hatcheries throughout the state, and while all offer excellent places to cast a line, the Big Spring location in Elkader seems to stand out the most. Perhaps it’s the flow of the Turkey River of which Big Spring flows into, or maybe all the amenities including a trout pond, a kid’s fishing spot and primitive campgrounds, whatever it is, this Elkader fishing spot is one of the best in the state. Anglers need both a fishing permit and trout stamp to catch this magnificent fish, plus some patience and a good eye, but land yourself the big one and you’ll be permanently hooked on the trout fishing found at the Big Spring. 

Comprising the main attraction for Lake Darling State Park, Lake Darling itself is a premier Iowa fishing destination featuring black crappie, bluegill, and largemouth bass. Located four miles west of Brighton, Lake Darling draws many visitors throughout the year, and while you can expect to find a lot of fishing poles on the shore and in the water, with over 300 acres of lake to explore, including a 1.5-mile paved fishing trail, there is plenty of space to play. The Iowa DNR does stock the lake periodically throughout the year, but the lake provides enough habitat for many fish to flourish on their own. While it’s never a guarantee to catch anything on any fishing trip, with the scenic surroundings of Lake Darling, it is a guarantee to have a good time at this great fishing spot in Iowa.  

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-fishing-spots-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-fishing-spots-in-iowa Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Awesome RV Campsites in Iowa Whether you’re looking for a spot to park a while or you’re searching for a weekend getaway, RV parks in Iowa offer beautiful spaces to escape. Spanning from the water-lined bluffs of northeast to the great lakes on the western side of the state, there are an abundance of excellent spots to park your rig. With clean showers, playgrounds, and other amenities, you can escape to nature without removing yourself from the modern world too much. Here are five awesome RV campsites in the state.  

The Deer Run Resort in Elkader is one of the premier spots for RV camping in the state of Iowa, and it’s not just the 80 different sites to choose from that makes it such a popular place. Featuring first-class showers and picnic tables, Deer Run Resort really tops the charts with immediate access to the great surrounding attractions. The adjacent five-acre Three Sisters lake is a great place to cast a line. Plenty of hiking trails can be found not far away, plus the nearby Elkader downtown district looks like it was ripped right from a postcard image. With plenty of places to stay, Deer Run Resort should be your first option when it comes to RV camping in Iowa. 

Miners Creek of Guttenberg covers all the camping needs. There are two cabins available to rent and plenty of tent and primitive camping spaces to choose from, but the most popular way to spend the night here is by parking your RV and plugging in. From the campsite, campers can enjoy the spring-fed, cold water stream that dissects the area, and with the many hiking options springing from the Miners Creek Hideaway, it’s easy to lose yourself in the nature of the area. 

Head on down to the Harvest Farm Campground to have yourself more than a few good nights of fun. Featuring 32 sites of full electric and water hook-up, what really draws the crowds to Harvest Farm Campgrounds is all the recreation options found all around. Whether you like billiards or lawn darts, hiking or biking, volleyball or canoeing, even day spa options, Harvest Farm Campground has it all. Fun for the whole family and capable of keeping anyone’s interest for weeks at a time, if you are looking for a full-service RV resort, look no further than Harvest Farm Campground in Cresco.

For fast access to the waters of Lake Okoboji, the Ranch RV Park doesn’t get any closer. This isn’t any ordinary RV park that caters towards the occasional customers though, and to spend any time parked at this acclaimed RV destination, a year-long lease is needed. That means whether the Ranch RV Park serves as your permanent home away from home, or your full-time residence, with a year-long lease you’ll have guaranteed access to Lake Okoboji and the many recreation opportunities that surround it. 

Located in the southwest corner of Linn County, Morgan Creek Park paints a pretty picture of the hilly woodlands defined by the moving water of Morgan Creek. To really get the most out of the scenic surroundings of Morgan Creek, it’s worth staying a few nights, and thanks to the adjacent and accommodating RV park that’s part of the park, it’s easy to do so. Featuring plenty of RV spots with full electrical hook-up, all RV sites at Morgan Park are obtained on a first-come, first-serve basis. With all that there is to do, see and experience at this first-class RV resort, Morgan Creek is a very inviting place that encourages you to park and stay awhile.  

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iStock.com/Moma7 http://stepoutside.org/article/5-awesome-rv-campsites-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/5-awesome-rv-campsites-in-iowa Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Iowa There are few better seasons in Iowa for camping than the fall. Alongside the changing colors that paint a beautiful scene, the dropping temperatures really add an extra layer of comfort in the campfire and sleeping bags, and lends to full days of exploring without suffering from blazing temperatures during the daylight. If you are looking for a great spot to camp in Iowa during the fall, you don’t have to look very far. Spread across the state parks and recreation areas of Iowa, you’ll find campsites that you didn’t think could be better than the last. To get those tents pitched in the right direction this autumn, a great place to start are these five perfect fall camping spots in Iowa.

Combining the natural side of Iowa with a touch of historical structures, Wildcat Den State Park is an attraction worth visiting anytime of the year. Come autumn though, when the temperatures first begin to drop out of their summer highs and the canvas of the entire area changes its palette, it is a truly special time to visit. The best way to explore the many trails and things to do at Wildcat Den State Park, is to stay the night within its extensive camping area, which provide both restroom facilities and plenty of opportunity to enjoy the changing season that surrounds the tent sites. 

Featuring electric hook-ups, modern restrooms, and even a concession area to provide the s’more ingredients, Pikes Peak State Park is the place to go. It’s not all the amenities that makes Pikes Peak such a great place to camp in the fall, rather, it’s the views that the camping spots lend to. With a short climb from the camping spots at Pike’s Peak State Park, visitors can enjoy the view of the mighty Mississippi from atop the Point Ann overlook, and with it, can enjoy the many changing colors of the new season. Multiple nights at the Pikes Peak State Park campgrounds are recommended, just to give you enough time to check out all this celebrated state park has to offer, including all the opportunities the neighboring town of McGregor can provide for a weekend adventure. 

Located in the scenic Loess Hills of Western Iowa, Waubonsie State Park offers year-round recreation and plenty of things to do throughout each season. When the leaves start changing color in the Loess Hills however, many people would consider this the best time to visit this state-famous state park. The campgrounds at Waubonsie State Park can provide electricity and access to modern restroom facilities, and can even accommodate equestrian parties, making Waubonsie a popular place for horseback riders. To really maximize your experience at Waubonsie State Park, the year-round cabin rentals can put a more sturdy roof over your head and a memorable experience living amongst the fall colors. 

To really step into the natural side of Iowa, the Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, located an hour and a half north of Des Moines, offers everything you’d expect from the Iowa landscape. No matter how you enjoy the autumn weather at Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, whether it’s fishing in the waters or exploring the 45 miles of multi-use trails, it’s easy to lose yourself in all the beauty. 

Home to a series of historical Indian mounds overlooking the Des Moines river, Lacey-Keosauqua State Park offers a great look into the culture of the area, and the natural beauty that still surrounds it. A lot of things add up correctly for Lacey-Keosauqua State Park to be one of the best spots to visit during the fall, and the combination of bluff-lined hiking trails and a high-foliage campsite, it should come as no surprise that this state park is a popular place to visit during the autumn. Check out this celebrated space in October, and alongside your stay you can have the chance to take part in the Scenic Drive Festival, which can give you a strong taste of what Iowa has to offer during the fall. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-iowa Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Start Your Trek: 7 Unbeatable Hiking Retailers in Iowa All four seasons in the state of Iowa provide excellent hiking opportunities. Whether you like the hot summer sun or the stillness of winter, perhaps even the preferable shoulder seasons in between, hiking trails are waiting to be explored throughout Iowa. To start your trek right, spread across the state from Davenport to Sioux City, there are some excellent hiking retailers happy to set you up for an adventure. Split between local shops and big box stores, to get your hiking career headed in the right direction, it’s recommended to check out these seven unbeatable hiking retailers in Iowa.   

Featured as the great outdoors store of Iowa, Fin & Feather of Iowa City can supply you with all your hunting, camping, and hiking attire. Featuring top hiking brands including Leki, Merrell and Osprey, Fin & Feather can cover you head to toe for your next hiking adventure. Alongside the big selection of hiking materials, Fin & Feather also has a friendly and knowledgeable staff that can ensure you are outfitted right for whatever hiking adventure you’re about to trek.  

Had a great time with @ospreypacks tonight!!! πŸ“·: @cbarb5

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Located on the east side of the state, Active Endeavors is the hub for the best hiking gear around. Featuring top technical gear and apparel including Patagonia for hiking ware, Keen for the perfect boots and Smartwool for some ever-lasting socks, Active Endeavors can help you tackle any adventure. While you are in the area, Active Endeavors of Iowa is situated in a prime adventure part of the state and the perfect place to test out all your new gear. 

Serving as a central spot for most of the nation when it comes to outdoor gear, REI is mainstay outdoor retailer in the country, and within the last three years REI has provided Iowa with a West Des Moines location. Featuring facets of every outdoor sport, REI provides everything you need and more for a great hiking experience. Featuring their own brand of excellent gear and clothing items, REI also features top brands including Outdoor Research, Salomon and Adventure Medical Kits.

Smoky Mountains in 9 days, people. This is not a drill. #fromwhereimstanding

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Featuring outdoor gear and athletic apparel, DICK's Sporting Goods is a national brand dedicated to providing everything you need to enjoy sports and the outdoors. When it comes to hiking, DICK's Sporting Goods can serve you right with brands like Columbia, the North Face and Garmin. While you are there, DICK's also supplies all the athletic gear you’d need ranging from cheerleading to hockey, making it a one-stop shop for all fun activities outside. 

Eddie Bauer is one of the original outdoor stores in the nation, and it’s their high-quality outdoor apparel that has built them a loyal fan base over all these years. Featuring technical outerwear including long underwear, thermal shirts, and down jackets, Eddie Bauer doesn’t just provide the right gear for a specific adventure, it provides a lifetime of accessibility to the great outdoors. For a wide selection and outlet prices, the Eddie Bauer Outlet Store in Williamsburg provides even more reasons to invest in Eddie Bauer. 

Featuring big brand names at low prices, Dunham’s Sports is a national chain that delivers on all your favorite outdoor and athletic apparel. Featuring brands like Timberland, Yeti and their in-house Aeroline, Dunham’s can get you the right boots, base layers and hydration methods for a great hike. Visit Dunham’s Sports, and you can expect to leave with everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors.

With a few different locations across Iowa, Scheels is a common spot for the outdoor lovers of the state. Whether you need to hike somewhere to hunt, spend the night or just enjoy nature, Scheels has you covered for the entire experience. Featuring top-name brands like Kelty, Carhartt and Itasca, Scheel’s can get you set up at the right price for many classic hikes in a lifetime. Whichever location you choose, whether it’s Coralville, West Des Moines, or Waterloo, you’ll be sure to find exactly what you are looking for and probably more. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/start-your-trek-7-unbeatable-hiking-retailers-in-iowa http://stepoutside.org/article/start-your-trek-7-unbeatable-hiking-retailers-in-iowa Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500