Located south of Dubuque along the Mississippi River, the 20-mile trail system provides opportunities for recreation as well as environmental education.
From Iowa Department of Natural Resources, State Parks Bureau
The trail system at the Mines of Spain Recreation Area was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2008. The system includes eleven trails covering approximately 20 miles. The trails include the Lead Mine/Pine Chapel, Mesquakie, Calcite, Catfish, Julien Dubuque, Horseshoe Bluff, Fox/Sauk, Prairie Ridge, Cedar Ridge, Cattesse and Eagle Scout.
These trails are all interconnected creating one long continuous trail system with loops and connectors. Main features found along the trail system include remnants of a lead mine, pit mine, Pine Chapel, 1880 Junkermann Farm site, Indian Rock Shelters, Indian Mounds, Native Tall Grass Prairies, Upland forests with 200-300 year old oak trees.
Other natural resources include 3 miles of Mississippi River Shoreline with views of the river valley and park at several trail locations. White birches, river birch, and an old quarry to illustrate the geology of the area are just some of the natural features that the trails pass through. The area also offers a 15-acre wetland with two floating trails as well as a wildlife observation blind. Areas of man-made prairies as well as native plant communities can also be seen along the trails.
Interpretive signs are found along several of the trail routes to illustrate the cultural histories and natural resources of the area. The park trails connect to Heritage Bike/Hike Trail and the Mississippi River Bike Trail.
Designated an official Iowa "Watchable Wildlife Area," the Mines of Spain area is home to such species as the bobcat, red-shouldered hawk, flying squirrel, and bald eagle. The Mississippi River bottomland is part of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, which includes the area from Minnesota to Illinoisas a preserve for migratory birds, fish, and mammals. TThere are five individual nature walks within the park, adding to a total of 14 miles of hiking trails.
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Updated July 6, 2012