Pike’s Peak in Iowa is a state park is a great place for a hike. It sits on a bluff which overlooks the mighty Mississippi River near McGregor, Iowa. We stopped here during our short fourth of July road trip.
About Pike’s Peak State Park
Pike’s Peak in Iowa is a large 500 foot bluff. It rises over the Mississippi River. The bluff is named for Zebulon Pike, the same explorer Pike’s Peak Colorado is named after! Originally inhabited by Native Americans who lived in the area as early as 800 AD. The Native Americans were woodland dwellers. They are most known for their effigies just above the ground. You can visit some of these effigies just north of here. These are actually burial sites in above ground mounds, some in the shapes of birds and bears. My next post will be about our visit to Effigy Mounds National Monument.
Iowa was part of the Louisiana Purchase and after this event the government was curious to discover what they bought. Therefore, they sent Zebulon Pike to explore the area for the purpose of exploring and finding strategic areas to build forts. In 1805 Zebulon Pike found the area of Pike’s Peak to be perfect for the government’s wish to build a fort. Instead, the fort was built on the other side of the river which is now present day Wisconsin.
In 1806 Pike was again sent to explore, this time to the Colorado area, including the area around present day Colorado Springs. He made an attempt to climb Pike’s Peak and is believed to be the first European to try this feat. Unfortunately, he did not summit. In contrast, Colorado’s Pike’s Peak is quite different than Iowa’s. At that time, people referred to the Colorado mountain as “Pike’s highest peak” and eventually just Pike’s Peak.
Pike’s Peak Lookout
The lookout at Pike’s Peak is pretty fantastic. It is a great view across the Mississippi River and you can see quite a ways. As a matter of fact, when you look across the river you are actually looking at Wisconsin.
Bridal Veil Falls Hike
There are over 11 miles of trails to hike in this state park. We choose to hike to Bridal Veil Falls and then loop back on the Weeping Rock Trail to the parking lot. For some reason my Fitbit didn’t map it but I would guess the hike was at least a mile and a half after looping around. You will walk through a pretty dense forest most of the hike but the path is easy to follow and well marked. There are also some wooden boardwalks and stairs to the falls. Furthermore, if you end up in a grassy area, Turn around and go back. This area leads to a road that did not appear to be in the park!
There are more trails to hike in the northern area of Pike’s Peak Park but we were wanting to keep on with our Iowa road tripping. We enjoyed Pike’s Peak and although the waterfall wasn’t the most spectacular in the world, it was nice. Moreover, the walk was peaceful and the park well kept.