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Lake MacBride Falls

6 Most Popular Waterfalls in Iowa (2023)

Beyond its pre-assumed image, Iowa is a state that offers so much more. Iowa may not be the most famous U.S. State when it comes to waterfalls, but it is definitely one of the worthy amongst them. Within the landlocked boundaries of Iowa lies an array of natural cascades as well as human-made waterfalls. From the artificial spillways to nature’s splendor, waterfalls in Iowa are definitely worth exploring at least once in a lifetime. Especially when the entire outdoors is burning with scorching summer heat, dipping in these falls feels like a blessing in disguise.

Waterfalls in Iowa tumble down through cliffs, and bluffs, picturizing a mesmerizing image. Whether you are a waterfall seeker, a nature enthusiast, or someone who loves picturing natural views, Iowa’s waterfalls are something you must not miss to visit. Of course, there are ones that require hiking long and advanced trails. At the same time, there are several others that are easily accessible yet quite beautiful. Here are the top 6 most beautiful waterfalls in Iowa. A visit to one of them will definitely make your trip to Iowa a memorable one.

6 Most Popular Waterfalls in Iowa

1. Siewers Springs

Siewers Springs is a human-made spillway on the south end of Decorah. The idea behind this human-made waterfall is to let the water flow in a controlled method. Siewers Springs is a part of a namesake park close enough to the Decorah Fish Hatchery. One has to hike the Trout Run Trail from the Ice Cave Road parking and reach the waterfall. Or take the Decorah Fish Hatchery route and enjoy both attractions one after another. Besides waterfall hopping, individuals also consider visiting here for fishing opportunities. Activities like swimming and picnicking too are pretty popular here. Siewers Springs and the entire nature around it is full of beautiful scenery, including plenty of hiking trails, excellent greens, old buildings, an underground spring, and more.

2. Dunning’s Spring

One of the most popular waterfalls in Iowa, the Dunning’s Spring is simply impressive. The waterfall is a part of the namesake park and is so exceptional that it stays busy throughout the year. To get to the fall, take the Ice Cave Road from Decorah, enter the park and then continue hiking on the trail. Within a short and easy hike, you soon reach and see the 40-foot cascade of Dunning’s Spring in front of you. It is a great summer spot to visit with small kids and older adults who cannot walk/ hike much. And since Dunning’s Spring Park is wheelchair accessible, local families often visits here to enjoy an afternoon/ evening picnic. However, young individuals who can walk to the top of the waterfall must do so and grab some astounding natural views. Or stop at the waterfall and dip your legs into cold flowing water.

Dunning's Spring

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3. Bridal Veil Falls

Almost every U.S. state has its own Bridal Veil Falls, and in Iowa, you can find it at the Pikes Peak State Park in McGregor. This small and scenic waterfall stays lush during the spring/ snowmelt season. The season also makes reaching the fall easier since the hiking conditions are no longer snowy and slippery. However, reaching and observing the frozen Bridal Veil Falls is a fantastic feeling for individuals who can take winter risks. Take the trail from the Pikes Peak parking lot and trek for half a mile on it to reach the fall. The hike is easy, less strenuous, and ideal for all individuals. Though it has a slight elevation change, the hike is doable for someone who is willing. Avoid the peak summer season or the early winters as you might have to go back disappointed.

4. Malanaphy Spring Falls

Malanaphy Spring Falls is a scenic mini waterfall in Iowa, within proximity to Decorah. It is located in the northwest part of the town and is a popular spot amongst locals. However, since not many people know about it, Malanaphy often stays isolated and less crowded. To reach the waterfall, one can take the mile-long trail hiking all the way along the Upper Iowa River. The trail wanders through a rugged, vibrant forest within this short distance, making the hiking experience even more wonderful. Malanaphy Spring Falls isn’t a big gusher but has a modest flow that cascades down through algae and tiny plants. The trail and waterfall are also popular amongst avid bird watchers.

5. MacBride Falls

Also known as the Lake MacBride Falls, this water destination is quite under-rated. However, in reality, it is one of the most scenic places in Iowa. The waterfall is a part of the namesake State Park and is located between Lake Macbride and the Coralville Reservoir. However, the waterfall appears more like a spillway due to the unique rock formation there. Though since it has a regular gushing flow, it looks extremely impressive regardless of the season you visit. One has to take an easy 1.7-mile hike on a shaded loop trail to reach the fall. The trails directly stretch towards the fall and are suitable for hikers of all comfort/ skill levels. On a hot summer day, visitors often prefer taking a dip under the waterfall and indulging in small swimming sessions. It is also a great place to enjoy a picnic afternoon.

6. Union Grove State Park Spillway

The Union Grove State Park Spillway is a seasonal fall and, of course, one of the most popular waterfalls in Iowa. One can easily observe the spillway through a drive around Union Grove State Park, dedicatedly to the lake. However, for a closer look, hike vantage point. The Union Grove Spillway isn’t a proper swimming and water sports space. However, photography enthusiasts and nature painters often gather here around and bring life through their skills. Therefore, this impressive human-made cascade is highly recommended for individuals residing in and near Gladbrook. Other popular attraction nearby includes the Matchstick Marvel, one of the famous tourist spots in Iowa.

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