Chasing Waterfalls…In Iowa?

Who would have thought that there are waterfalls in Iowa?  Renee and I were surprised to discover that there are several.  What could be a better reason for a ride, than to visit some.

So May 21st, one week after the 2016 MayHem ride, Renee and I packed up and headed north.  Here is a map of our route:

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We put the bike on the trailer and drove to Dubuque where we parked the truck and loaded up the bike.  Soon we were on our way.  Our first stop was at Brietbach’s  in Balltown. It happened to be one of the stops on our Americana GLMC Grand Tour.

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From there, we dropped down to the river and visited the river towns of Wauperton and Clayton.

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After leaving Clayton, we stopped at a side road for a quick discussion.  However, when I tried to turn around, I quickly realized that I had the bike in the wrong gear and we did a low speed tip over.

The good news was, my mistake only resulted in some scratches to the panniers.  The bad news was, it’s never fun picking up the bike.

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After a quick stop in Guttenberg for gas and a drink, we pressed on to our first waterfall in Pikes Peak state park (named for Zebulon Pike who also managed to name a mountain in Colorado).

Here I am at Pike’s Peak getting ready to hike to the waterfall and testing out our new PacSafe.  Please notice I am wearing a T-shirt.  This is only 1 week after our fateful MayHem ride where we almost got frostbite.  That’s Iowa weather in the spring!

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To get to Bridal Veil falls requires a short hike.  It was a nice hike with a good trail.  Here is Bridal Veil falls.

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This fall is spring fed, but greatly enhanced by spring runoff.  Since most of the snow was long gone, and it was a pretty light snowfall year, the falls were pretty light and a bit underwhelming.

We hiked back to the bike, loaded up and rode into McGregor for lunch at the Cafe McGregor.  It was very good and we took some time to enjoy the nice weather.

Rejuvenated, we rode out to Spook Cave to visit Beulah Falls.  This was a really neat waterfall coming out of the side of the cliff.

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From there we rode back into town then North a small distance to Yellow River State Forest.  This is a fun little side trip on some narrow gravel roads.

After playing around in the forest for a while, we headed back to Marquette to our hotel the Cobblestone Inn.  This was our 2nd time staying at the Cobblestone, and we really like it.

The next day we got an early start for Decorah.  We passed through Waukon on the way and ran into these guys.  Who can resist a great photo-op like this?

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When we got to Decorah, the first waterfall we visited was called Siewer Springs Falls.  This is actually a man-made falls built over a natural spring.  Even though it’s artificial, it’s still pretty cool.

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Siewar Springs Falls is also on the site of a state trout hatchery, so we walked around the tanks looking at the fish.

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From Siewar Springs we rode across town to Dunning Spring Falls.  This was a great waterfall.  There were hiking trails up both sides of the falls, so we hiked both while we were there.

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From Dunning Spring Falls, it was just a short drive out of town to Manalaphy Spring falls.  This was another great fall, and this picture does not do it justice.

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The only downside to this fall is the “rustic” hike needed to get there.  Now, we don’t mind a nice hike, but the hike to this fall was very underdeveloped (and very spider-webby) and the distance was much farther than the signage indicated.  The best way to view this fall would have been to canoe or kayak to it, because it poured right out into the river.

When we left Manalaphy falls, we stopped in Decorah for a snack and then headed back South towards our truck.

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At home, after the ride was over…

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Thanks for coming along.

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