Backbone State Park

Hiking in Iowa’s first state park.

Our View From Iowa

by Melanie and Jim

Last Thursday we celebrated our anniversary hiking in Backbone State Park. These three short paragraphs provide a good description of the park:

Backbone State Park was dedicated in 1920. It was Iowa’s first state park and remains one of the most significant. Backbone is named for its narrow and steep ridge of bedrock carved by a loop of the Maquoketa River. Folklore named this high ridge of rock the “Devil’s Backbone”. Nearly a hundred years ago, State Geologist Samuel Calvin wrote these words about “The Backbone”:

“Its sides are in places precipitous, the rocky cliffs rising sheer for more than 80 feet. Erosion and secular decay have carved the rocks into picturesque columns, towers, castles, battlements and flying buttresses. ”

Backbone consists of 2,001 acres and is heavily wooded with a variety of tree species, predominantly oak and maple. This woodland serves as a valuable…

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