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Backbone State Park, Dundee

4.5
#9 of 25 in Nature in Iowa
Backbone State Park is Iowa's oldest state park, dedicated in 1919. 1200 acres were initially donated by E.M. Carr of Lamont, Iowa. Located in the valley of the Maquoketa River, it is approximately three miles (5 km) south of Strawberry Point in Delaware County. Backbone Lake Dam, a relatively low dam built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, creates Backbone Lake. The Civilian Conservation Corps constructed a majority of trails and buildings which make up the park.Measuring 2001acre, the region is heavily forested, mainly in species of oak and maple. The geology of the area is particularly noteworthy. As part of the Driftless Area, it was left unglaciated during the last Ice Age, with very ancient dolomite formations dating from the Silurian period. A large ridge of rock divides the park, resembling a spine, and lends its name to the park and adjacent forest. The area is characterized by active springs, caves, sinkholes and karsts. With cliffs measuring over 80 feet in places, climbing and rappelling are popular, but both require a permit.Twenty-one miles of multi-use trails support year-round recreational activities, including hiking as well as cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in winter. The lake is noted for its swimming, boating, and fishing. Backbone Creek is known to support both Rainbow and Brown trout, and is stocked by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources from local brood ponds. Campsites (49 electrical and 49 non-electrical) and cabins are available for rental (reservations recommended). Two shower buildings and a playground are also available.
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Backbone State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
62 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • I camped at this park for 3 nights in August 2017. It is one of my favorite parks to camp or hike in. The sites are inexpensive and large. You are allowed to gather firewood or their is firewood on sa...  more »
  • We took a two day trip to Backbone State Park and rented a cabin. We rented a $50 cabin and we had our 1 year old dachshund with us as well. We also brought kayaks. I'll do this in two parts: Cabin an...  more »
  • We actually came here to fInd Iowa's oldest geocache - which is the only one in the park but we ended up really exploring and enjoying the park. We took the full Backbone trail and really enjoyed the ...  more »
Google
  • Never visited until this year !! I've been missing out for sure ! For Iowa, you mostly see miles and miles of farm ground ! All of these beautiful places have been tilled up. It's topography helps, Beautiful Place and we'll Definitely return next year. Well worth the drive from central Iowa. There's a lot of great areas around to see, shop, or eat !
  • We love Backbone. We've stayed twice now. (Both off season) Staff is still great, helpful, the whole park is great. The kids have decided that we need to make this "our family's "place."" ;)
  • Very cool experience. Camping there was great. Had an awesome time.
  • Very pretty place. I proposed here. Great views, nature trails, and camp grounds.
  • Love backbone state park. Clean has great trails and plenty to do.

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1 day in Dundee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in Iowa BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, outdoors, historic sites, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 1 day in Dundee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Dundee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Iowa BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Iowa BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Dundee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, kids, popular PREFERENCES: October, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Dundee BY A USER FROM MEXICO September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Dundee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Dundee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Dundee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Iowa BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, relaxing, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy
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