About Backbone State Park

From the Iowa Department of natural resource’s website:

Backbone State Park was dedicated in 1920. It was Iowa's first state park and remains one of the most significant. Backbone is named for its narrow and steep ridge of bedrock carved by a loop of the Maquoketa River.

Backbone consists of 2,001 acres and is heavily wooded with a variety of tree species, predominantly oak and maple. This woodland serves as a valuable refuge for a variety of wildlife, including deer, raccoon, fox, turkeys, ruffed grouse, and many species of songbirds.

Backbone has 21 miles of hiking and multi-use trails. Visitors can hike along trails winding through old twisted and windblown cedars and up rough, rocky staircases to one of the highest points in northeast Iowa — the "Devil's Backbone.” 

Backbone is well known for trout fishing in its cold, clear, quick-flowing stream. Richmond Springs, the source that feeds the stream, pumps out more than 2,000 gallons per minute and is located near the north end of the park. Anglers can explore the stream through a variety of shady and easily accessible trails. 

Trip Itinerary

Friday

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  • Depart Des Moines at 9:00 am.

  • Set up camp and intro to basic camping skills.

  • Lunch at the campsite.

  • Explore Backbone State Park by hike, including the Devil’s Backbone — one of northeast Iowa’s highest points

  • Down time at the campsite. You can read a book, journal, take a nap, go fishing (we’ll bring the poles), take another hike — it’s up to you!

  • Indulge in a delicious dinner, complete with dessert.

  • Fire circle and reflection time.

Saturday

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  • Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea around the fire while we cook a healthy and filling breakfast for you to enjoy.

  • Head to Manchester, Iowa, for a fun-filled adventure at the Manchester Whitewater Park, where we will spend the day with whitewater enthusiast and expert Hannah Ray J. Hannah will be lead us in a river safety and whitewater workshop. Depending on your interests and comfort level, we will have a variety of whitewater devices for you to try, such as tubes, whitewater kayaks, and SUPs.

  • Lunch on the river.

  • Enjoy a drink at Franklin Street Brewing Company.

  • Head back to Backbone State Park.

  • Down time at the campsite. You can read a book, journal, take a nap, go for a swim in the lake, go fishing (we’ll provide the poles), take another hike — it’s up to you!

  • Indulge in a delicious dinner, complete with dessert.

  • Fire circle and reflection time.

  • Optional night hike.

Sunday

  • Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea around the fire while we cook a healthy and filling breakfast for you to enjoy.

  • Break down camp and a presentation on planning your own camping trip.

Your Investment

$350

Trip fee includes

  • Delicious meals made just for you from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, including snacks, dessert, wine, tea, and coffee.

  • Park admission and campsite fees.

  • Half-day adventure at the Manchester Whitewater Park, including small group whitewater and river safety instruction from Hannah Ray J, all water crafts (tubes, kayaks, SUP), life vests, and helmets.

  • Guided, hands-on outdoor skills instruction and facilitation from our experienced guides.

  • All the gear you need, including tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and camping chairs.

  • A Wander Women tote bag filled with goodies for you to enjoy after the trip.

  • Membership in our private Facebook group and exclusive access to Wander Women day hikes, happy hours, and other special events.

  • 1% of every trip purchase will be donated to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to help them fund future endeavors across the state of Iowa

We want our trips to be accessible to all women. Please contact hello@wanderwomeniowa.com to learn more about payment plans and alternative pricing plans.


Ready to treat yourself to an Iowa hiking and camping adventure?! Register now!

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