Gitchie Manitou State Preserve Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"The preserve contains outcrops of Sioux quartzite, the oldest bedrock in Iowa. Designated a state preserve in 1969, Gitchie Manitou is bordered on the north by the South Dakota–Iowa state line and on the west and south by the Big Sioux River. A visit offers a day filled with birding along the river and rock-hopping on the exposures. Hikers are treated to beds of Sioux quartzite that abound with western flowers, mosses, and lichens.
In the extreme northwest corner of Iowa, a small preserve contains a big look at the geologic history of the state in its 1.7-million-year-old rock.The exposures of Sioux
quartzite were created by sand deposits on the braided stream channels and tidal estuaries along a Precambrian marine shoreline. Composed of tightly bound quartz grains interlocked with silicon dioxide, the hard rock’s red and pink tones resulted from iron-oxide staining."