Hike Ledges State Park's Canyon Road

6.5 miles 700 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Brett Kelly

A scenic hike down through some of the most dramatic sandstone rock faces in Western Iowa.

From the main gravel parking loop at the top, begin your hike on the main paved road. Note: This road is currently closed to vehicle traffic due to heavy water damage on the road. This road also closes to vehicle traffic during the winter. However, it is always open to foot traffic. Follow the paved road .5 miles down to the first creek crossing. Pea's Creek will flow right under the main road, and visitors are allowed to wade the stream if they would like. I, however, would recommend to travel on the road, as it harms the stream habitat less. This creek however will give you the first view of the sandstone rock face ledges, from which the park received its name. Note, it is illegal to climb, or repel down these rocks as they are fragile. 

After Pea's creek continue on the main road another .25 miles which will take you through three more creek crossings. Some of the creek crossings actually flow directly over the paved road, so be careful of the slick surface. After you cross the creek 3 times, be on the lookout for the crow's nest trailhead on your right. This trail will challenge you as you gain all the elevation you lost while traveling down through the canyon, all while on wooden stairs. At the top you will reach the "crow's nest" one of the tallest parts of the park accessible by trail, and will give you a sneak peak of the quite large Des Moines River to the West. Continue west along this trail which will loop you back to the main road, further down from where you took the trailhead. 

At this point, you will be close to the end of Canyon road, so you will begin your hike back to the parking lot. You will walk about 1/8 of a mile and cross the creek twice and then the Reindeer Ridge Trail will be on your right-hand side. This trail offers a very short spur trail to Table Rock - a medium sized cliff which offers a view of the canyon and stream below, or you can follow the ridge up the wooden stairs up the remaining 1 mile trail back to the main parking area. This trail can be taken at the beginning of the hike as well, but I feel like you get a better view of all the habitats the park has to offer by making it one large loop!

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area

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🥈 Contributor

about 3 years ago

Love The ledges

The ledges is an amazing area in Iowa!

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