Nov 11 2010

Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor, Iowa

When most of us think of “Pikes Peak,” we picture a mountain in Colorado.  (I remember that the altitude and I did not get along particularly well, and learned that I was much better suited to life on the flatlands.)

Did you know that Iowa has its own Pikes Peak, named after the same explorer, and that theirs was there first?  That’s right, as Zebulon Pike was moving westward, he stopped in Iowa, and the area where he viewed the area from a bluff high above the Mississippi River is now part of Pikes Peak State Park.

Pikes Peak Overlook

Pikes Peak State Park is located just a few miles south of McGregor, Iowa.  (Incidentally, McGregor is a town where I’d like to spend more time.  We merely drove through, but it had a lot of interesting shops and restaurants that I’d like to return and explore.)  Pikes Peak State Park sits atop the bluff, and it’s a beautiful hilly drive to get there.

Iowa’s state parks offer free admission, so you can visit whenever you want.  There is a seasonal campground in the park if you want to stay there overnight.  We chose to spend just a few hours in the park and enjoyed our afternoon.

Perhaps the main draw of the park is the overlook, which is a short walk from the parking lot and is handicap accessible.  Also near the parking area are a playground and restrooms, as well as a hummingbird feeder that drew the attention of many people while we were there.

Pikes Peak hummingbird

After viewing the impressive river valley, we decided to take a hike to Bridal Veil Falls.

Pikes Peak waterfall

It’s not a difficult hike if you can manage a lot of stairs.  Most of the path to Bridal Veil Falls is a boardwalk with a rail on at least one side, but there are a lot of stairs.

Pikes Peak stairs

Continuing past the falls, the path turns to dirt as it winds its way up to some ancient mounds.  Since we didn’t have time to go to the nearby Effigy Mounds National Monument, it was interesting to see these similar mounds.

The majority of the hiking trails are in shaded woodlands but small portions break out into grasslands.  It was a pleasant hike for all of us, with benches here and there if we needed to stop and catch our breath.

Whether you prefer to camp, hike, find a playground for the kids, or enjoy the overlook, Pikes Peak State Park is a pleasant place to spend a summer afternoon.

Read more about Pikes Peak State Park at Uptake.


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Published by at 2:36 pm under Outdoors
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3 comments so far

3 Comments to “Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor, Iowa”

  1. Julia in West Des Moines on 11 Nov 2010 at 9:57 pm

    you HAVE to visit EfMo, walk the trails and get a guided tour of the effigies. You can also canoe or kayak the Yellow River a bit south at the Yellow River state park or go to Decorah. Excellent family time. I sort of blogged about it: and at

  2. Jenny on 15 Nov 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Beautiful pics. It reminds me a lot of my childhood home along the Mississippi.

  3. Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor, Iowa on 30 Mar 2011 at 1:38 pm

    [...] about family travel at Travels with Children.  Her family spent an entire vacation in and around Pikes Peak State Park last [...]

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