Yellow River State Forest - Paint Creek Unit

Harpers Ferry, Iowa 52146

Yellow River State Forest - Paint Creek Unit

Yellow River State Forest - Paint Creek Unit Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"When you tell Iowa outdoor-lovers you’re going backpacking in the state, most assume your destination is Yellow River State Forest. With 25 miles of trails that wind through deep river valleys and over huge bluffs, happen upon overlooks with stunning vistas, and stop along the way at four “backcountry” campsites, it’s truly the place for a wilderness experience in Iowa.

The general view of Iowa is that it’s a flat expanse of cornfield stretching as far as the eye can see.While agriculture does encompass many millions of acres of land in the state,Yellow River State Forest doesn’t fit the stereotypical Iowan landscape (although you will encounter food plots in which corn is grown). The Paint Creek Unit, where the Backpack Trail is located, is dominated by rugged forest-covered bluffs that you can satisfyingly walk up, over, and around for days on end."

Yellow River State Forest - Paint Creek Unit Trip Reports

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6/27/2008
This is one of the only places that you can do a bit of hike-in camping in Iowa. There are several miles of trail in this park with some camp sites well off the road.

The first time I went here, we geared up for a mini backpacking trip. We had all our gear loaded on our backs and set out on the trail towards our camp site. Just about the time we hit our hiking rhythm, we came upon a little clearing and realized that this was our camp site. A bit of a let down if you're used to some serious backpacking, but it is a must do for serious hikers who live in Iowa.

There are also numerous stocked trout streams in the area.
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Trail Information

Harpers Ferry
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
25
Distance
Several options
Trail Type
Day hike or long weekend
Duration
Year-round
Season
USGS Harpers Ferry
Local Maps