Is Iowa really just a flyover state, with nothing but corn and beans?  Although the corn and beans are great, Iowa has a lot more to offer than just agriculture. I am going to highlight two incredible state parks in the Hawkeye state that provide the opportunities for adventure, exploration, and possibly a little physical activity, all while remaining in the great state of Iowa. The first destination I will highlight is Ledges State Park located in Madrid, Iowa, followed by Pikes Peak State Park in McGregor, Iowa.

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Ledges State Park is located in Madrid, IA, just a couple miles south of Boone. Ledges is a beautiful park that provides thirteen miles of hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the Lost Lake and exquisite views of the Des Moines River below.  With the trails being fairly short and easy to maneuver, this is a perfect family trip location, even for those with younger children.  While driving through towering sandstone cliff surroundings patrons of the park have the opportunity to cool off in the main stream running through the park while taking in the beautiful landscape.  In addition to the beautiful views, Ledges State Park provides a prime fishing and canoeing experience for outdoor recreation enthusiasts.  Last time I was visiting Ledges with a couple friends on a camping trip we managed to find our way down to a sandbar on the Des Moines River, as the water levels were very low.  Out on the sandbar we were able to fish, skip rocks, and watch the sunset on the horizon.  Ledges is adorned with its own campground so explorers are able to make a weekend trip out of this location.  This wonderful park is reviewed at 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google Reviews. Photo above provided by Drew Mason.

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Pikes Peak State Park is located in McGregor, Iowa, which is in the northeast quadrant of the state.  This park is not to be confused with the Pikes Peak of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Ironically I have been to the Colorado location and never visited the Iowa location (as far as I can remember.)  I hope to come here this coming summer on a weekend trip.  Pikes Peak State park offers roughly ten miles of trails for hiking along the Mississippi. These trails are sprinkled with viewing platforms (see above), where hikers can take a break to appreciate incredible views of the Mississippi River.  This location is a great place to visit in the Fall as the leaves   Pikes Peak is also equipped with its own campground, making it a great weekend getaway spot for any travelers wishing to explore the diverse landscape offered in Iowa.  This destination also received a 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google Reviews. Photo provided by Wikimedia.

If you are looking for an outdoor getaway Ledges State Park and Pikes Peak State Park are great locations to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature.  With wonderful locations like these two located all over the state, I think it is fair to say, Iowa is much more than “just another flyover state”.  If you have any other locations in Iowa, or anywhere for that matter, I encourage you to comment and let me know!

Thanks for reading,

Nick