Wapsipinicon State Park is located in eastern Iowa, just outside of Anamosa.
I spent a great morning with my wife and daughter on super nice day in June of 2017. The park actually sits on the border of Anamosa, separated by the Wapsipinicon River. On the northwest border of the park is the local golf course. So there is almost always someone nearby enjoying the trails with you.
There are a ton places to park throughout the park. So if you just want to check out a specific feature, chances are high you’ll be able to park next to it.
Now we parked at the playground (orange star) where there would be restrooms accessible. As my standard, we hiked the park in a clockwise direction, heading to Hale Bridge (green star) which was relocated to park by the National Guard in 2006. It is a short paved walk from the road to the bridge that has been converted into a pedestrian bridge.
From there we began our actual dirt walking on the Prairie Trails (yellow), sticking close to the river.
For the most part the prairie trails are mowed grass. They are well maintained and easy to follow. My only criticism would be the junction where you need to turn westward back into the park (blue star). There could be a sign so you don’t accidentally continue down the river path like I did the first time I hiked the park.
As far as challenging, this is probably the closest this park comes with a decent climb up to the southern-most point. From there it descends to a 4-way intersection (pink star) where you could choose to take the other climb up to the overlook (purple star), or the better choice of heading west into the piney wood! (gray star)
Now this is the real highlight of this park. The best kind of woods walks are those that take you down a pine flanked trail. The colors, the sounds, the smells. All mind soothers. All of ours in Iowa are too short, and this follows suit. However, just slow your pace and it’ll feel longer. 🙂
Once we got to the end of the trail, we hooked west/southwest and followed the creek back toward Horse Thief Trail and the cave (black star). It is a shallow cave, but would have been more than sufficient to provide shelter to any horse thieves back in the day. Heh.
We quickly walked the road back to the car we drove up to the lodge by the overlook (purple star), and walked the short distance to check out the view. Mostly it is just a big hill that lets you see the park from edge to edge. Baby girl had a blast running around in the grass, picking the clover blossoms, so still a win.
Finally, we can’t leave off without discussing the playground. Super good playground. I know a certain 18 month old that thought it was the best place ever! If you want to enjoy those giggles, head on over to the Youtube video and see for yourself!
I hope you enjoy Wapsipinicon State Park as much as we did, and make sure to bring the little ones.