The Iowa Waterfall Weekend Road Trip – Is It Worth It?

Only In Your State, a team of travel writers has over 90,000 articles that highlight the hidden hot spots, little-known attractions and natural wonders of each of the 50 states. Recently, they have brought attention to the waterfalls of Iowa. As a native Iowan, I was very interested in their article and thought that I should check out how much this road trip would cost me and my friends if we were to partake in it.

I currently am attending Morningside College in Sioux City, so to account for time, I would actually have to start my road trip in a different place than their original article which you can find here.

Willow Creek Falls, Mason City, Iowa.

The closest city in the road trip that is closest to Sioux City in Mason City, Iowa. A 3hr 16min drive and 207 miles away. There you can see the beautiful Willow Creek Waterfall. The waterfall itself is on private property, but you can apparently see it from a bridge on East State Street, so it will most likely be a pretty quick visit compared to the other waterfalls which are a part of state parks.

Malanaphy Falls, Decorah, Iowa.

From Mason City, we travel to the Upper Iowa River Access Area in Decorah, Iowa. It is another 87 miles and an hour and 44 minutes away from Mason City. Luckily, this and the next two waterfalls are all in the same area, so you can hit three in one day.

The Upper Iowa River Access Area is home to Malanaphy Spring Falls, one of Iowa’s most beautiful waterfalls.

Dunning’s Spring Falls, Decorah, Iowa.

The next waterfall is only 13 minutes away from Malanaphy Falls and is located in Dunning’s Springs Park on Ice Cave Road. You can hike up to the top of the falls for an incredible view of the falls from above.

Siewers Spring Falls, Decorah, Iowa.

Siewers Spring Falls is only an 8-minute drive from Dunning’s after a short jaunt across town to Trout Run Trail. It’s a beautiful cascade of water, and also an amazing fishing spot according to locals.

Beluah Spring Falls, McGregor, Iowa.

The Beluah Spring Falls is another 48 mins away from Decorah, Iowa. Located in the Spook Cave & Campground, it’s a great place to stay and discover the waterfall and also the famous Spook Cave.

Bridal Veil Falls, McGregor, Iowa.

Bridal Veil Falls is just 17 minutes away from Spook Cave and Campground, right next to the Iowa-Wisconsin border in Pikes Peak State Park. It is suggested to visit after a rain, or else the falls are not quite as impressive.

Macbride Falls, Solon, Iowa.

From Pikes Peak State Park, you need to travel 2 hours to Lake Macbride State Park in Solon, Iowa to see the impressive Macbride Falls.

An afternoon-long hike along the rocky shores of the Coralville Lake and Iowa River to the waterfall of Lake Macbride easily beats walking to the falls from the Coralville Boat Ramp parking lot. There are a few spots along the way that are perfect for skipping rocks and having fun with friends.

Union Grove Lake Waterfall, Spring Creek, Iowa.

The final destination is at Union Grove Lake, another hour and 33 minutes away. The lake itself offers boating, swimming and fishing, and some excellent hiking trails where you will find the Union Grove Lake Waterfall.

Cost

Route according to Google Maps

In total, if I were to take this road trip from Sioux City, I would be traveling a total of 751 miles to get to all the destinations and back. This is what I have figured for gas and hotels. My car gets around 25 MPG.

I also figured staying in Mason City, Decorah, Solon, and Spring Creek before heading back to Sioux City.

For food, I budgeted $30 per day and figured that this trip would take around 5 days.

Gas ($2.50 per gallon)$75.10
Hotels$259
Food$150
Total$484.10

Is it worth it?

I think that this could go both ways. It could be super fun or super boring depending on who you take along with you. If you are really into going out in nature and hiking, then this could be a really good idea for a week-long excursion. If this trip seems kind of boring, then I would suggest saving your money and going somewhere else later.

As always, be sure to like, follow, and share Grit, Wit, and Grace for more articles like this one.

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