Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, IA
It's not often that eastern Iowa sports a foot-and-a-half deep snowpack at the end of December. Treated with a beautiful clear day to burn, my family and I decided to search out a new place to hike and take advantage of it. The curiously named Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, just south of Dubuque, Iowa was a pleasant surprise. The recreation area is actually quite large, much too large to explore in just one afternoon, so upon a brief study of the trail maps we centered on the Catfish Creek Trail which, according the brochure, provided a little bit of everything the recreation area had to offer. Also, pictures of the view from the Julien Dubuque Monument, adjacent to the Catfish Creek Trail, looked promising.
Thus, my family and I found ourselves setting out on a 3-mile snowshoe hike in one of the most unlikely places I could think to find myself at the end of December, northeast Iowa. The weather was perfect, albeit cold, and the woodlands, views and trails were amazing...come take a walk with us...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 42.466639, -90.648372
Route Type: Loop + Out-and-back
Difficulty: MODERATE (HARD in conditions shown)
Mileage Hiked: 3.0 miles
Trailhead Temp: 15'F
Min. Elevation: 600'
Max Elevation: 730'
Trails Used: Catfish Creek, Julien Dubuque