Hike the Horseshoe Bluff Trail

Rate this Adventure Iowa Horseshoe Bluff Trailhead

Added by Grant Whitty

Horseshoe Bluff offers great views of the Mississippi River and large limestone cliffs. Mines of Spain is home to many wildlife species from birds to white tail deer.

To get to the trailhead within Mines of Spain, drive to the Dubuque area, turn off of Highway 61/151, and on to Highway 52. From Highway 52, turn left onto Mines of Spain Road until you find the parking lot. 

Once you park your car, go up the wooden stairs to the trail. From here you can go either way, as it is a loop trail. I would suggest starting to the left. 

Once you take the left at the top of the stairs, continue along the trail and around the corner. Soon the trail will begin to get steeper. As the trail begins to crest the bluff, you will see a viewing area on the right. 

From the first viewing area you can look south, down the quarry. This is the iconic Horseshoe Bluff point-of-view. After taking in the view, go down to the second viewpoint to look at the rest of the park and the Mississippi River. 

After the viewpoints, make your way down into the valley and through the quarry. Be careful of the cliff sides; make sure you have a good footing. The trail will continue to exit the cliff area, and into a forest.  

The trail will turn to the right around some small ponds. The trail will come to a fork. If you go to the left, it will take you to the parking lot. If you go to the right, it will take you to the top of the stairs from where you started. 

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots
  • Light Jacket
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Activities:

Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

1.6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

208 Feet

Features:

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildlife

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Added by Grant Whitty

Iowa Raised, Colorado Living // Instagram: @grantwhitty

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