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  • CR Rae
  • Thu October 15 2020
  • Posted Oct 27

Known as the nation’s top pork producer and for its fields of corn, tremendous state fair and the Red Delicious apple nicknamed the Hawkeye, Iowa also has wide open spaces for visitors to explore.

Decorah

The city of Decorah is in the northeast part of the state. The best way to begin exploring Decorah is the Trout Run Trail, an 11-mile paved loop that encircles the town. Whether you walk, bike or run part of the trail or all of it, you will get the perfect view of the town. On the trail visitors will travel along the Upper Iowa River, which offers some of the best canoeing in the country.

A variety of art pieces are visible along the way. At times, trail travelers will feel they are in a rural area, yet at anytime they are never far from downtown, restaurants and shops.

Dunning Springs Park has a spectacular waterfall and is minutes away from downtown. Bike or walk to the falls. Pack a picnic — the scenery will not disappoint.

Before leaving Decorah, two places that are must-stops are Toppling Goliath Brewing, known to have one of the best beers in the world, and the Whippy Dip, the local ice cream shop.

Coon Rapids

Heading about 240 miles toward west central Iowa, visitors will find Whiterock Conservancy near Coon Rapids. Travelers come from all over to venture through the 5,500 acres of beautiful landscape. The conservancy is along seven miles of the Middle Raccoon River and is open to the public. With more than 40 miles of trails, there is plenty to see and experience for mountain bikers, paddlers, runners, hikers and equestrians. Those with mobility issues can use low-powered vehicles. Accommodations and camping are available.

Other outdoor activities include fishing and stargazing. Whiterock has the darkest skies in the state.

Madrid

About 50 miles from Whiterock is Madrid, a place where bike enthusiasts can enjoy a ride along the High Trestle Trail bridge. The trail runs 25 miles through five towns; there are a variety of access points. The trail was once a railroad line. For the most part, it is smooth and flat.

The main area visitors want to see is the High Trestle Trail Bridge. There are panels to explain the natural history of the area and six overlooks.


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