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Pikes Peak State Park, IA
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DescriptionPikes Peak State Park is one of the most photographed places in Iowa. Pikes Peak is rich in natural, cultural and historical resources, and famed for its majestic views of the Mississippi River. Stand atop the 500 foot bluff (1,130 foot elevation) for a breathtaking view and see the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. The park is named after Lieutenant Zebulon Pike, sent by the government in 1805 to select a site for a military fort. Pike chose this site but the government built the fort across the river. Pikes Peak officially became a state park in 1936.
A half-mile wooden boardwalk guides you down one of the park's glens to the picturesque Bridal Veil Falls. On your way to the fall, just north of the main overlook, you will notice Bear Mound, an effigy built by ancient American Indians of the Woodland Culture, who inhabited the area from 800-1200 A.D. There are 63 mounds in the park, most of them conical or linear in shape.
For the adventurer, take a longer, remote four mile trail to Point Ann, a bluff that overlooks the Mississippi and the town of McGregor. Bring a bottle of water and bug spray for the eight mile round trip. You can shorten the trip by parking at the Homestead or McGregor parking lots. The north end of the park does not have restroom facilities.
There are a total of eleven and one half miles of hiking trails, consisting of dirt, grass or crushed rock. The majority of the trails are shaded, as they lead you through old-growth forests of oak-hickory and maple-basswood stands. Keep an eye out for the elusive pileated woodpecker or red fox. A portion of the trail is open to mountain bikes.
The park concession is located a short distance from the campground and offers a variety of refreshments, firewood, ice and souvenirs to campers and other park visitors. The park store is open everyday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., May through October.
October is the busiest time of year at Pikes Peak due to the fall colors. The colors peak around October 9-15. The town of McGregor hosts an Arts & Crafts Festival and Marquette hosts a Flea Market during the first two full weekends in October. Learn more about the ancient Woodland Culture at Effigy Mounds National Monument, operated by the National Park Service. A visitor center, guided hikes and programs are available. It is located 7 miles north of Pikes Peak on Hwy 76.
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Getting There:GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
At the end of McGregor's Main Street follow County Road X-56 south, wind upward about 3 miles and arrive at Pikes Peak State Park. The physical address for the park entrance and campground is 32264 Pikes Peak Road.
Mailing Address:Pikes Peak State Park
32264 Pikes Peak Rd
McGregor IA 52157-8558
Phone Number:Information: (563) 873 - 2341