Explore Underground Caves in Iowa

Did you know that the state of Iowa has several caves? Iowa has more than 1,000 caves, hidden out of sight, protected by their ruggedness. Many are open for exploration by the public. Here are some of the most popular in Iowa:

1. Spook Cave

Caves in Iowa: Spook Cave, McGregor

Photo courtesy Spook Cave

The only way to explore this cave is by boat! Guides explain the discovery, development and history of the natural limestone cave and surrounding area near McGregor. There are plenty of opportunities to photograph natural formations inside the fully-lighted cave. The temperature inside is always 47 degrees.

2. Maquoketa Caves State Park

Caves in Iowa: Maquoketa Caves State Park

Probably Iowa’s most unique state park, the Maquoketa caves vary from the 1100’ Dancehall Cave with walkways and lighting system to Dugout Cave. A trail system connects the caves, formations and overlooks. Trail highlights include the dramatic “Natural Bridge” and “Balanced Rock.”

3. Ice Cave State Preserve

Caves in Iowa: Ice Cave, Decorah

This cave in Decorah is famous for its rare ice deposits that exist until late summer. The ice is formed when the chilly air of winter lowers the rock temperature. Surface water seeps into the cave in the spring and freezes upon contact with the still-cold walls. The ice reaches its maximum thickness in June.

4. Crystal Lake Cave

Caves in Iowa: Crystal Lake Cave, Dubuque

Miners discovered this cave near Dubuque in 1868 while drilling for lead. Crystal Lake Cave was opened to the public in 1932. Tour guides lead visitors on a 30-45 minute adventure inside the cave where the temperature is always 52 degrees.

5. Wapsipinicon State Park Caves

Caves in Iowa: Wapsipinicon State Park Caves, Anamosa

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, a trip to Wapsipinicon State Park near Anamosa isn’t complete without visiting bowl-shaped Horse Thief Cave. Legend has it that two horse thieves used this cave for their camp. There’s also the Ice Cave, which offers cool temperatures in the heat of the summer.

 

Ride Worthy Bike Trails in Iowa

Headed to Iowa for Grand National Rally? Check out these great bicycle trails all over Iowa!

1. Cedar Valley Trails

Cedar Valley Trails

Cedar Falls, Waterloo

Choose your own adventure on more than 110 miles of trail loops in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area. Mapsprovide information on 11 trail loops ranging from 2 to 16 miles. The trails also connect to both the Cedar Falls and Waterloo downtown districts, museums, hotels, restaurants and bars. More than 75 wayfinding signs help direct you to points of interest on the trails. Need to rest for a bit? Then head to Cedar Falls’ Main Street for a sweet treat at Scratch Cupcakery, a tasty brew from SingleSpeed Brewing, and an overnight at the Blackhawk Hotel.

2. Fairfield Loop Trail

Fairfield

Fairfield Loop Trail

The Fairfield Loop Trail circles the southern Iowa town of Fairfield, making each mile of your ride different from the last. Cycle 15.9 miles through local parks and wetlands and over Louden Bridge, which features 171 ceramic plaques created by local art students. After making a loop of town, bike your way to Fairfield’s downtown square to dine at one of the town’s adventurous restaurants like the Istanbul Grill or Green Gourmet. Or stop at Jefferson County Ciderworksfor a glass of hard cider, brewed in-house. Too early for a drink? Try the coffee at Café Paradiso; it has been voted Iowa’s best coffee for seven years straight.

3. Great Western Trail

Rideworthy Routes: Great Western Trail, Des Moines Area, Iowa

Des Moines, West Des Moines, Cumming, Martensdale

The asphalt Great Western Trail is built on Chicago Great Western’s abandoned rail bed. In 16.5 miles you’ll cruise from the urban landscape of Des Moines to rural countryside near Cumming and Martensdale. Several picnic shelters along the way offer great stretch breaks. Be sure to stop at the Cumming Tap, a popular watering hole at the halfway point of the trail.

4. Heritage Trail

Dubuque, Durango, Dyersville, Epworth, Farley, Graf

The scenic 26-mile-long compacted limestone Heritage Trail passes through eight towns and spans all of Dubuque County. The gentle grade is less than 1%, making it suitable for use by all ages and abilities. Most of the trail is tree-covered but the further west you go the more exposed the trail becomes as it is surrounded by open swaths of native prairie grasses.

5. High Trestle Trail

Rideworthy Routes: High Trestle Trail, Central Iowa

Photo by Lee N.

Ankeny, Sheldahl, Slater, Madrid, Woodward

Art and nature collide on the beautiful 25-mile High Trestle Trail between Ankeny and Woodward. A canopy of trees shades you from the sun as you cycle to the iconic and award-winning Trestle Bridge. Standing 13 stories tall and half a mile long, the bridge offers a grand view of the Des Moines River Valley from beneath angular steel frames. Although the bridge is the focal point of the trail, there are plenty of places to eat, drink, shop, and camp along the route. Rider favorites include the Flat Tire Lounge in Madrid and the Whistlin’ Donkey in Woodward.

6. Raccoon River Valley Trail

Rideworthy Routes: Raccoon River Valley Trail, Central Iowa

Waukee, Adel, Redfield, Linden, Panora, Yale, Herndon, Jamaica, Dawson, Perry, Minburn, Dallas Center

The 89-mile Raccoon River Valley Trail loops through several small towns and the Des Moines suburbs – meaning you can start and end your ride from almost anywhere along the trail. Must-stops for refreshments include Bunkers Dunkers Bakery in JeffersonEthel’s Restaurant and Bar in YalePJ’s Drive-In in Panora and the bike-friendly Hotel Pattee in Perry that doubles as a perfect overnight stop. Many rides are held on the trail throughout the year, but the most popular is the annual BACooN Ride in June which features bacon food items at stops along the trail.

7. Sauk Rail Trail

Rideworthy Routes: Sauk Rail Trail, West Central Iowa

Photo Courtesy Sauk Rail Trail Facebook

Lake View, Carnarvon, Breda, Maple River, Carroll

The Sauk Rail Trail takes you 33 miles from Lake View to Carroll in western Iowa, with the opportunity for stops every few miles at local watering holes. Check out rider favorites The Angry Beaver in Maple RiverRed’s Place in BredaThe Bar in Lake View and B&S’s in Carroll. A two-day ride is easy to achieve with bike-friendly hotels like Boulders Inn & Suites or the Carrollton Inn on either end of the route. Check out Thursday nights on the trail for the weekly “T.H.I.R.S.T.” ride.

8. Three Rivers Trail

Rideworthy Routes: Three Rivers Trail, North Central Iowa

Photo Courtesy Three Rivers Trail Facebook

Rolfe, Bradgate, Rutland, Humboldt, Dakota City, Thor and Eagle Grove

Named for the fact that it crosses three area rivers, bikers on the Three Rivers Trail can view the west branch of the Des Moines River, the east branch of the Des Moines River and the Boone River. The 33-mile trail is a lovely mix of woodlands, grasslands, marshy areas and open prairie – and seeing wildlife is common.

9. Trout Run Trail

Rideworthy Routes: Trout Run Trail, Decorah Iowa

Decorah

The 11-mile Trout Run Trail provides a scenic trip around the city of Decorah. Much of the trail is flat, but you will find some sharp switchbacks and hills to challenge you as well. The trail crosses trout streams five times and runs next to the Decorah Trout Hatchery (where you can stop and feed the fish for just a quarter). The trail also passes by the world-famous Decorah Eagles nest. When you’re ready to take a break, head to the Whippy Dip for ice cream or Toppling Goliath for an ice cold beer (home of some of the best beers in the world, according to RateBeer). Stay overnight at the historic Hotel Winneshiek for a perfect end to the day.

10. Wabash Trace Nature Trail

Rideworthy Routes: Wabash Trace Nature Trail, Southwest Iowa

Council Bluffs, Mineola, Silver City, Malvern, Imogene, Shenandoah, Coin, Blanchard

The Wabash Trace is a converted railroad right-of-way that runs from Council Bluffs to Blanchard on the Iowa/Missouri border. A scenic adventure through Iowa’s countryside, this 62-mile trail creates a memorable experience. It’s one of Iowa’s longest and most popular rail trails as it travels through the unique Loess Hills and connects with the city trails in Council Bluffs. Every Thursday night, riders can join the Taco Ride from Council Bluffs to Mineola’s Tobey Jack Steakhouse and back.

 

Post originally seen on TravelIowa.com

Experience the Best℠ at Lichtsinn RV, the #1 Winnebago Dealer in North America for the last four consecutive years. Lichtsinn RV is located 1 mile north of Winnebago Industries in Forest City, IA and we proudly sell new Winnebago motorhomes and pre-owned RVs from various manufacturers. While at Lichtsinn RV, you can expect no delivery miles on new RVs, a complimentary half-day educational orientation of your RVexcellent guest reviews, an assigned support team from sales, parts, service and the business officesuperior accommodationsno-hassle pricing and competitive financing. See our extensive new and used inventory here.

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10 Hiking Trails in Iowa

10 Hiking Trails in Iowa

Are you planning your trip to Forest City, Iowa for WIT Club’s Grand National Rally? If you are planning on taking the scenic route, make sure to check out these 10 hiking trails in Iowa and enjoy the beauty of our great state!

1. Wapsipinicon State Park

Wapsipincon State Park

Named by Fodor’s as one of the “10 Best Spring Hikes in the U.S.,” Wapsipinicon State Park is located just south of Anamosa. The 1.4 mile trail “provides the perfect touch of nature along the Wapsipinicon River bank,” according to Fodor’s. Streams throughout the park provide opportunities for kids – and adults – to indulge in some splashing. Visitors can also check out the park’s small caves.

2. Ledges State Park

Named for the sandstone “ledges” that rise up to 100 feet around Pea’s Creek, this popular park near Boone is home to 13 miles of scenic hiking trails. While most of the trails are steep, a fully accessible interpretive trail around Lost Lake is located at the southern part of the park. In addition to hiking, check out the Des Moines River Water Trail that goes through the park as well as the Central State Park Bike Route (along county roads) connecting Ledges to Big Creek State Park and Springbrook State Park.

3. Backbone State Park
Dundee State Park

Located near DundeeBackbone State Park is Iowa’s oldest state park and boasts more than 20 miles of multi-use trails. The Backbone Trail is less than a mile but provides rocky terrain unlike anywhere else in Iowa. Many park facilities were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s including cabins, a boat house, bridges and trails.

Pine Lake State Park

Located in EldoraPine Lake State Park offers more than 10 miles of trails. The southern shore of Lower Pine Lake boasts 250-year-old white pine trees. A self-guided nature trail runs between the Hogsback Picnic Area and the beach area. Trail brochures available at trail heads, the campground and the park office correspond to marked areas of interest on the trails.

5. Waubonsie State Park

Take a Hike: Waubonsie State Park, Hamburg Iowa

Located on the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail near HamburgWaubonsie State Park’s trails feature scenic overlooks with views of four states. The popular Sunset Ridge Interpretive Trail gives visitors the chance to learn about native plants and trees as well as enjoy some of the best views in the park. For a true outdoor adventure, rent a camping cabin located in the park. If you are on the way up from Kansas, Missouri or south east Nebraska, Waubonsie State Park is the perfect stop for you!

6. Yellow River State Forest

Take a Hike: Yellow River State Forest, Harpers Ferry Iowa

Photo Courtesy Iowa DNR

The “Backpack Trail” at Yellow River State Forest in Harpers Ferry was once named Iowa’s best hiking trail by Outdoor magazine. Open year-round, the trails range from relatively easy to moderate. The Paint Creek Unit includes more than 25 miles of marked and maintained trails.

Harper’s Ferry is 2 and a half hours directly east on Highway 9. When you enter Forest City on Highway 9 make sure to stop by and say hi! Lichtsinn RV is located on the corner of highway 9 and 69.

7. Hillview Recreation Area

Take a Hike: Hillview Recreation Area, Hinton Iowa

In addition to a 6-mile network of hiking trails, this park near Hinton offers a little bit of everything for the outdoor enthusiast. Kids will enjoy visiting the resident elk herd and butterfly garden. After hiking, cool off at the beach at Hillview Pond or try dropping a line for a fish. The park also allows horseback riding, hunting, cross-country skiing and both campground and cabin camping. Visit in winter to try the snow tubing hill.

8. Hitchcock Nature Area

Take a Hike: Hitchcock Nature Area, Honey Creek Iowa

Explore some of the last remaining prairie remnants in Iowa with the 10 miles of trails at the Hitchcock Nature Area near Honey Creek. The trails range from easy ridgeline walks along the hilltops to steep climbs among rugged prairie terrain. The network of trails allows you to choose the length and difficulty you desire. The trails are open to hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. In the winter, Chute Trail is converted to a popular sledding hill.

9. Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

Take a Hike: Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, Maxwell Iowa

Chichaqua Bottoms is the perfect place to bring young or beginning hikers. With their short, easy (yet scenic) hikes along the Skunk River near Maxwell, you’re never far from shelters. You’ll be able to view natural habitats including oxbow river channels, marshes and wetlands as well as native prairie remnants. Don’t miss the 100-foot-long Warren pony truss bridge – one of only 17 remaining bridges in Iowa of this unique design.

10. Pilot Knob State Park

Pilot Knob State Park is one of the oldest units in the state park system. It was dedicated in 1923. Standing atop the tower on “Pilot Knob,” visitors have a spectacular view. From the tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, one can see great expanses of some of the most fertile farmland in the world. After glaciers leveled the prairies of north-central Iowa, they deposited the rocks and earth that formed the hills and valleys that are now Pilot Knob. In earlier times, pioneers used the Pilot Knob as a guide as they traveled west in covered wagons, thus giving the park its name. An open air amphitheater, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, is surrounded by scenic woods.

Pilot Knob is located outside Forest City and is a great location for camping, hiking and bicycling.

Experience the Best℠ at Lichtsinn RV, the #1 Winnebago Dealer in North America for the last four consecutive years. Lichtsinn RV is located 1 mile north of Winnebago Industries in Forest City, IA and we proudly sell new Winnebago motorhomes and pre-owned RVs from various manufacturers. While at Lichtsinn RV, you can expect no delivery miles on new RVs, a complimentary half-day educational orientation of your RVexcellent guest reviews, an assigned support team from sales, parts, service and the business officesuperior accommodationsno-hassle pricing and competitive financing. See our extensive new and used inventory here.

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The Era 70M

 

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In the motorized RV space, the Class B market continues to grow, in large part due to the success of the Era and this exclusive slideout version with Murphy Plus powered bed.  Its combination of fuel efficiency, maneuverability, and high-end features has introduced a whole new set of enthusiasts to the van style RV. With its fuel efficient and dependable Mercedes-Benz diesel engine, driving your Era more closely assimilated driving your own personal vehicle. Costing thousands less than Roadtrek and Leisure Travel Vans, the Winnebago Touring Coach Era never ceases to amaze.

Watch the Era 70M walk-around video here.

The Era 70M floorplan features a slideout, permanent dry bath, a very comfortable powered Murphy+ Bed, and Truma Combi heating and hot water system for even more indoor enjoyment.

This new 70M includes the latest in mid-year continuous improvements:

  1. Pure sine wave inverter, 1000 watts, which allows you to power household appliances directly off the dual deep cycle group 31 AGM absorbed glass mat maintenance free batteries
  2. Standard now is 200 watts of Zamp solar, expandable via rooftop or thru the portable quick port connection to charge the dual AGM batteries
  3. Dual door 6 cubic foot compressor driver refrigerator and freezer featuring contemporary flush mount styling and features a quiet, hermetically sealed compressor, which is self-ventilated for easier integration into RVs. The 12V fan aids airflow across the condenser and compressor for improved cooling and features a convenient automatic temperature control with storage for 2 liters, half gallon and full gallon containers.
  4. OmniGo omnidirectional amplified HDTV antenna
  5. Multiplex lighted wall switches with master light switch and control via Precision Plex app for Android and iOS Apple

All new interior refinements:

  1. High gloss cabinetry, which is lightweight to preserve cargo carrying capacity, yet is moisture and humidity resistant
  2. Under cabinet accent lighting
  3. Continuous dimmable race track ceiling lighting, which eliminates shadows
  4. New Firefly multiplex wiring allows single touch controls to lighting, monitoring systems, powered awning controls, energy management and so much more!
  5. Advanced all new climate control system:
  6. The Era features the new, 97% efficient, Truma Combi heating and hot water system.
  7. Provides quick hot water recovery and heat with LP and electrical heating.
  8. Zamp 200-watt solar system with solar panel battery charger and controller, junction box, and plug for additional portable solar panel
  9. Refined rear end interior finishing with concealed storage, finished in weather resistant synthetic leather
  10. New larger bath surround at 24 x 31 inches with a single control shower and faster adjustments to temp to conserve water.
  11. Corian bathroom countertops
  12. Textured glass show door
  13. New three burner range combo
  14. New single control faucet
  15. Decorative heat shield over the stove

This coach is powered by the tried and true Mercedes-Benz powertrain:

  1. Mercedes Benz 3.0-liter turbo diesel, estimated to achieve 18 to 22 mpg highway
  2. 325 lbs. feet of torque or power, which provides for 5,000 lb. factory installed towing
  3. 188 hp.
  4. Five speed automatic transmission with grade braking capability via the Tip Shift transmission
  5. Dual front airbags
  6. Four-wheel ABS

Includes the following factory installed options:

  1. Infotainment Center with Rand McNally RV GPS, including an all-new 9 inch higher resolution touch screen color monitor with capacitive touch screen much like an iPad or iPhone, Rand McNally RV GPS safe & easy routing, amenities and tools, trips and content, turn by turn voice guidance, CD DVD player, SiriusXM satellite radio, compass, outside temperature, iPod, iPhone, Siri Eye, audio integration, Bluetooth hands free calling, and so much more.
  2. Exterior stainless steel lower valance panel trim

Includes the following exterior highlights, in addition to the specifications on our website page and brochure:

  1. 24.5-gallon fuel capacity
  2. 9.5-gallon LP capacity
  3. Continuous unlimited water heater capacity, Truma Combi LP and 110-volt electric
  4. 30-amp electrical service
  5. 13,500 BTU high efficiency air conditioner

 

Contact at Lichtsinn RV sales consultant today to find out more about the Winnebago Era 70M!

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Why buy your next RV from Lichtsinn RV?

 

National Scenic Byways

Traveling along America’s growing network of Scenic Byways takes you off crowded highways and through areas of breathtaking beauty. The National Scenic Byways Program recognizes over 150 outstanding roadways that celebrate the pride and diversity of our communities as well as the stunning landscapes that have shaped our lives. America’s Byways include the National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads.National Byways Map

These All-American Roads are a sampling of America’s byways. For maps or a full list of National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads, visit www.byways.org.

Selma to Montgomery March Byway (Alabama)

This 43-mile byway follows the trail of the 1965 march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Seward Highway (Alaska)

This 127-mile highway passes jagged peaks, alpine meadows and crystal lakes in south central Alaska between Anchorage and Seward.

Death Valley Scenic Byway (California)

This 55-mile road journeys through one of the driest and hottest environments in the Western Hemisphere.

Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway (Colorado)

The 135-mile Gold Belt Tour follows historic railroad and stagecoach routes leading to North America’s greatest gold camp, three world-class fossil sites and numerous historic sites.

Tamiami Trail Scenic Highway (Florida)

This 49.5-mile highway traverses the Florida Everglades, one of the largest remaining tropical wildernesses in the continental U.S.

Creole Nature Trail (Louisiana)

Known as Louisiana’s Outback, the Creole Nature Trail meanders through marshes, prairies and along the Gulf of Mexico.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway (Maryland)

This byway brings to life the stories of the Underground Railroad, a secret network of roads, waterways, trails and hiding places along which enslaved African-Americans were helped to freedom before the Civil War.

Copper Country Trail (Michigan)

Pure copper! In Michigan’s northern wilderness, you will find the legacy of a mining boom that produced over 10 billion pounds of copper that assisted a nation’s growth.

Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway (New Mexico)

Immerse yourself in the Apaches’ history and the hot mineral springs used by Geronimo and his warriors. Visit the historic mining towns that flourished and died with the gold and silver fortunes.

Mt. Hood Scenic Byway (Oregon)

On this byway, volcanoes once erupted and mammoth floods scoured deep gorges. Discover geologic wonders, waterfalls, temperate rain forests and wild rivers. Experience the formidable last leg of the Oregon Trail, the Barlow Road.

12 Terrific RV Parks in Iowa

Pilot Knob State ParkIowa’s scenic roadways and family-focused attractions make it a wonderful destination. In fact, it’s scenery is some of the finest in the Midwest. Whether you’re passing through or taking time off to explore the entire state, there are an abundance of beautiful campgrounds where you can stay the night.

Briggs Woods Park, Webster City

Briggs Woods is a gorgeous campground that’s situated on an 18-hole golf course. The nearby Boone River and Briggs Woods Lake offer swimming, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. The campground itself features 30 full hookup sites, modern showers, a playground, and horseshoes. Rates range from $20 to $25 per night.

Pilot Knob State Park, Forest City

Pilot Knob State Park is one of the oldest units in the state park system. It was dedicated in 1923. Standing atop the tower on “Pilot Knob,” visitors have a spectacular view. From the tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, one can see great expanses of some of the most fertile farmland in the world. After glaciers leveled the prairies of north-central Iowa, they deposited the rocks and earth that formed the hills and valleys that are now Pilot Knob. In earlier times, pioneers used the Pilot Knob as a guide as they traveled west in covered wagons, thus giving the park its name. An open air amphitheater, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, is surrounded by scenic woods.

The park has excellent trails for hikers and horseback riders. In winter, a warming house with electricity and heat provides comfort for ice skaters, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers and ice fishermen. Hidden within the 700-acre park and enclosed by abrupt banks is Dead Man’s Lake, a four-acre floating sphagnum bog, the only one of its kind in Iowa. This is a botanist’s delight, bordered by native trees, shrubs and flowering plants. Waterfowl feed and breed in the tall grasses. Three species of pond lilies grow here, one found nowhere else in Iowa. Trees native to the Pilot Knob area include walnut, ash, basswood, wild cherry, burr oak, aspen, white oak and red oak. Pilot Knob’s natural features are so significant, the majority of the park has been dedicated as a state preserve.

Clear Lake State Park, Clear Lake 

Clear Lake State Park is located on the southeast corner of the beautiful 3,643 acre Clear Lake, one of the major outdoor recreation features of northern Iowa. Although the state park is only 55 acres, it offers a tremendous diversity of recreational opportunities due to its location on the lake as well as its natural beauty.

This park is characterized by rolling ground with open, mature groves of oak trees. Several small draws and thickets provide habitat for owls, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, rabbits, many species of songbirds and an occasional deer. Scenic Woodford Island is a 3 acre island managed primarily for wildlife habitat and is an excellent spot for fishing.

 Newton KOA, Newton

If you’re looking for RV rentals, RVshare has a handful of rentals in the Newton area. Then, head to the Newton KOA and enjoy a peaceful retreat for the whole family. It’s quiet and serene, yet full of things to do. The local pond offers fishing, while the campground pool is a nice place to take a dip. During the summer, they have weekend ice cream socials, fishing tournaments, and more. Campground amenities include fire pits, a meeting room, dog park, and a game room. Rates vary from $29 to $44 per night.

Lazy Acres, Urbana

If you’re looking for a family-friendly campground with plenty of space, Lazy Acres is the park for you. With 60 RV sites (29 of which have full hookups), and tons of activities for kids, your family will have more than enough space to spread out, run around, and enjoy the outdoors. Mini golf, paddle boats, fishing, and train rides are just a few of the things to do at Lazy Acres. Rates start at $33.50.

Morwood Campground and Resort, Hazelton

Morwood Campground is a highly-rated RV park in northeastern Iowa. It has an average rating of 4-5 stars across FacebookGoogle, and TripAdvisor. The park features large sites and pull-through lots, most of which have electrical hookups. All sites have water hookups. There are also two dumping stations, a laundromat, and a convenience store on the property. Families can enjoy hay rides, mini golf, horseshoes, volleyball, or swimming in the heated pool. Rates start at $27 for a site with water and electric.

Fieldstone RV Park, Arnold’s Park

Just a stone’s throw away from the Iowa Great Lakes and area attractions, Fieldstone RV Park offers the perfect home base after a day of adventure. The Park itself abuts the Emerald Hills Golf Course and a public park and boat ramp. Amenities include full hookups, fire rings, a laundry room, and a clubhouse. For outdoor activities, you can head into town and visit the amusement park or race track, enjoy fine dining and shopping, or partake in watersports on the lake. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, you can head back to the RV and watch movies using the free Wi-Fi. Rates start at $35.

 Red Barn Resort, Lansing

You’re definitely going to want to spend a few days at the Red Barn Resort. This beautifully landscaped retreat offers a host of RV sites with full hookups and fire rings. It’s just a few miles west of Lansing, where you can enjoy boating, fishing, and swimming in the Mississippi River. Best of all, the campground has an on-site bar and grille inside an antique barn from the 1900’s. You can sit on the patio and enjoy a cold drink and a hot meal while the kids explore the playground below. How’s that for relaxation? Rates start at $30 per night for full hookups with 30-amp service.

Shady Oaks RV Campground, Marshalltown

Shady Oaks is a privately-owned campground that’ll have you camping under the towering Bur Oak trees. As one of the oldest campgrounds in the state, its oaks have even made it into the Register of Famous and Historic Trees. One of the biggest draws of Shady Oaks is its massive, 12-level treehouse, where you and the family can get lost amongst the canopy and the maze of structures. It features running water, electricity, a grill, porch swings, and a spiral staircase. Park amenities include 13 sites with full hookups and pull-through spots for big rigs. Contact them for rates and reservations.

 On-Ur-Wa RV Park, Onawa

On-Ur-Wa is a Good Sam Club RV Park, located just miles before you hit the Iowa/Nebraska state line. Onawa itself has quite a few attractions, like the widest Main Street in the U.S., the Historic Iowa Theater, and a handful of museums and places to shop. On-Ur-Wa has large, pleasant RV sites with full hookups. Tire out the kids at the recreation area, which features soccer, horseshoes, and more. Amenities include free wi-fi, laundry, RV supplies, and a small wine kiosk. Rates start at $32 for full hookups with 20-amp service.

Timberline Campground, Waukee

A short drive from Des Moines, Timberline is convenient to the city and surrounding areas. Nearby attractions include AdventurelandScience Center of IowaBlank Park Zoo, and, of course, everything Des Moines has to offer. Facilities include a game room, playground, pool, on-site store, volleyball and basketball courts, and more. Rates start at $44 for full hookups.

 Deer Run Resort, Elkader

Deer Run is a premier RV resort in northeast Iowa. It’s immaculately manicured grounds include room for RVs of all sizes. Each site is paved and includes full hookups, a picnic table, and a fire ring. The six-acre lake provides a serene backdrop to the greenery of the park. Deer Run has a beautiful bathhouse with heated floors, air conditioning, and laundry machines. Family fun awaits you down the street in Elkader with activities like archery, bowling, kayaking, shopping, and more. Rates vary from $35 to $41.

Blog originally published on TravelIowa.com 

 

The Best Fall Camping Locations to See the Changing Leaves!

Fall camping is one of the best ways to enjoy a little more time outdoors before winter begins to set in. While fall camping may not be ideal for swimming or some of your other favorite summer camping activities, it does have its advantages over the other seasons as well. The main advantage is obviously the beautiful fall foliage that adorns our nation’s forests every single year. A quiet overlook casting a view towards tree-covered slopes flashing the brilliant colors of autumn can offer a chance for reflection and solitude that is all too rare in our busy everyday lives. So grab your (down-filled) sleeping bag and your warmest pajamas and plan a trip to one of these best fall camping locations!

Pawtuckaway State Park: The Northeastern reaches of the country offer some of the most iconic fall foliage destinations in the world, and Pawtuckaway State Park in New Hampshire is no different. You really can’t go wrong with any location in the Northeast when choosing your best fall camping location, though. The rolling hills and thick, deciduous forests complement nature’s most colorful display. This area in New Hampshire is especially great for fall campers who want to hike for their views!

Housatonic Meadows State Park: This park in Connecticut is another wonderful fall camping location. Like I said before, the entire Northeast region is great for those looking for some spectacular fall foliage. For those not wanting to hit the trails too much to see the colors, scenic Route 7 winds along the Housatonic River (which also offers great fly fishing opportunities) and visitors who choose to drive won’t be disappointed.

Rocky Mountain National ParkIf you can’t make it to the Northeast for some leaf peeping, what could be better than a spot in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado? Rocky Mountain National Park is an absolutely stunning location to spend some time camping this autumn. The views of the towering Rocky Mountains and the incredible variety of wildlife and environments make this one fall camping location you won’t soon forget!

For advice on the best time to camp out for maximum fall foliage-viewing, consult our handy-dandy color map:

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And if you don’t have time to visit one of these best fall camping locations this year, don’t sweat it! Just about every area with deciduous trees and cooling temperatures in the days between late September and early November will offer great fall scenery. Check out the websites of some local parks and you are sure to find some fall foliage festivals and other fun activities to share in with your friends and family while surrounded by the changing leaves. Enjoy it while you can… because winter is coming!

Article originally seen on Roadtrippers.com.

Winnebago Earns Ram Quality Membership

The FCA Commercial Vehicle Team has designated Winnebago Motorhomes, Forest City, Iowa,  as a member of the Ram Quality Professional Program.

As a qualified member of the Q-Pro program, Winnebago is joining a select group of upfitters and body manufacturers dedicated to exceeding customer’s expectations for quality, reliability and dependability. Winnebago is the first RV manufacturer to earn this designation.

To become a qualified member of the Q-Pro Program, FCA engineers evaluated Winnebago’s processes related to quality, regulatory compliance and continuous improvement. This involved an on-site visit by FCA’s team to validate that Winnebago’s processes met and exceeded the criteria in the three evaluation areas.

“At Winnebago, we strive to provide a superior product to our customers by doing things the right way,” said Brian Hazelton, vice president and general manager – Motorhome Business. “We work closely with suppliers to maintain the integrity of purchased components in order to ensure quality in the finished product. By following these guidelines, we believe it has allowed us to excel and become the first RV manufacturer to be named a member of the Q-Pro Program. Quality continues to be a priority for us as we work to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations and help create extraordinary experiences in the outdoors.”

Winnebago builds the Travato on the Ram ProMaster chassis. Since its launch in 2014, the Travato has been at the forefront of the campervan revolution. The latest evolution in the Travato lineup is the 59KL and 59GL, which features the Pure3 Energy Management System. This durable and easy-to-use lithium energy system allows RVers to “cut the cord” and replenishes power to the coach through multiple charging options.

Hiking Health Benefits: Hike To The Most Exotic Trails On The East Coast

Post originally seen on ConservationInstitute.org

Public green spaces like national parks and hiking trails offer us an affordable and easy escape from our daily routines. The combination of hiking and physical exercise outside has been proven to lead to increased physical, emotional, and behavioral well-being.

The presence and use of national parks is especially important in American culture because we have adopted a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, a study notes that 43% of the U.S. population is sedentary the majority of their lifetime. This percentage is by far the largest amount of inactivity in comparison to any other country worldwide.

Decreasing whole-body movements, like sitting inside, leads to an increase in sedentary behaviors and lifestyles in the United States. Within the past decade, more Americans have engaged in indoor-centered lifestyles leading to a range of health issues which studies note as nature-deficit disorder.

Nature-deficit disorder simply means that people are not outside enough. A study by the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health links sedentary behaviors and nature-deficit disorder to health issues like obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, depression, mental fatigue, and increasing stress levels. People who spend less than the recommended amount of time outside are more vulnerable to health issues like morbidity and premature death. Even though nature-deficit disorder is a fairly new term, we have known about the importance of being outside for centuries.

Dating back to the 19th century, parks were created to provide space for recreational activities when scientists and architects came to understand the connection between green space and health. Even so, we continue to build gyms indoors and promote 40 hour work weeks that require us to sit inside on a computer for a large chunk of our day.

So now the question is, how can we combat these health issues and the American sedentary lifestyle? We suggest hiking or biking.

So why choose hiking?

health benefits of hiking infographic

Based on the statistics, you’re most likely lacking time spent outdoors so we’re writing you a prescription for hiking.

In the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, research suggests that nature and green spaces increase well-being and health due to the following:

  • Exposure to daylight, nature, and fresh air
  • Participation in physical activity
  • Restoration of mental and emotional health
  • Time spent with other people

Benefits of Hiking

Even though there are trails all over the United States, some of the most beautiful and exotic hiking trails run up and down the east coast. Cure nature-deficit disorder for good with some of the most beautiful views along the east coast that we will outline for you in this article.

So without further ado, here is a list of unique hiking experiences that will lift your mood and have you feeling better than ever before.

Summary of Hiking Trails

1. Grandfather Mountain Crest Trails

grandfather mountain
  • Location: Linville, North Carolina
  • Trails included: Crest Trails are called Grandfather Trail and Underwood Trail.
  • Park Size: Grandfather Mountain State Park has 12 miles of trails across 2,456 acres along mountain ridgeline.
  • Cost: Access the Crest Trails for free from trailheads outside the state park attraction area. If you want to visit the swinging bridge, a pass is required which costs $20 per person.
  • Regulations: Must return to vehicle by 6pm or other specified time which can be found at the visitor center.
  • Parking: There is a parking lot with facilities in the visitor center.
  • Access: Crest trail access is at the Top Shop parking lot, Hiker’s Parking Area, on through the Profile Trail or Daniel Boone Scout Trail.

Grandfather Trail

grandfather Trail
  • Duration of Hike: up to 2.5 hours one-way.
  • Length: 2.4 miles one-way.
  • Elevation: 5,964 feet
  • Elevation Gain: 2,100 feet
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Pets: This trail is not pet friendly unless you have a little pup that you can fit in your backpack.
  • Who: Not recommended for pets, children, or inexperienced hikers.
  • What you’ll need: Water, snacks, proper hiking boots with good tread, and rain gear just in case.
  • What to expect: Cables, ladders, rocky terrain, steep ledges.
  • Regulations: Hikers are required to fill out a piece of paper with their name and vehicle descriptors. The park calls this a “permit” which is meant for safety purposes if you do not return to your vehicle by the designated time and is free.

2. Ricketts Glen Fall Trail

Ricketts Glen Fall
  • Location: Benton, Pennsylvania
  • Park Size: Ricketts Glen State Park contains 13.050 acres of land.
  • Duration of hike: About 6-8 hours depending on how long you stop at each waterfall to take pictures or rest
  • Length:
    • The full loop is 7.2 miles if you hike the upper and lower portions.
    • Take the 3.2 mile loop on Highland Trail, Glen Leigh and Ganoga Glen sides of the trail to see most of the waterfalls.
  • Elevation: The highest elevation in the park is Mohawk Falls at 2,165 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Cost: Free
  • Pets: Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash at all times.
  • Who: Dogs and hikers with all experience levels
  • What you’ll need: Sturdy hiking boots or sneakers, and water and snacks.
  • What to expect:
    • 21 waterfalls with the tallest waterfall standing at 94 feet
    • Rock stairs and some steep portions, slippery areas due to mist from the falls and moss
  • Regulations: Sandals are prohibited.
  • Parking/Access: 3 parking lots for fall trail access:
    • Lake Rose is at the end of the dirt road across from the campground and provides the closest access (5-10 minutes), but fills up quickly during peak times.
    • Beach Parking Lot #2 is at the beach. Leave the lot and walk down the Cabin Road (first road just outside of the lot), past a park gate, and onto a section of trail to the first intersection where you go right (15-20 minute access).
    • The parking lots on PA 118 are 1.5 miles from the first waterfall upstream on the Falls Trail, but allow a good view of old growth trees.”

3. Katahdin Knife’s Edge Trail

Katahdin Knife’s Edge Trail
  • Location: Millinocket, Maine
  • Park Size: Baxter State Park is made up of 200,000 acres.
  • Duration of hike:
    • 1-2 hours for Knife’s Edge Trail alone which is at the peak
    • Entire Katahdin hike will take about 8-12 hours
  • Length:
    • Knife’s Edge Trail is 1.1 mile rock scramble and is notorious for only being a few feet wide in some areas.
    • Entire Hunt Trail up the Katahdin Mountain is about 5 miles one-way
  • Elevation: 5,267 feet
  • Elevation gain: about 4000 ft
  • Difficulty: Extremely strenuous
  • Cost: Register at one of the two gatehouses coming in. There will be an entrance fee if you do not have Maine plates on your vehicle.
  • Pets: not dog or pet friendly
  • Who: experienced hikers
  • What you’ll need: water and food, hiking boots or proper footwear, hiking poles
  • What to expect:
    • Be prepared for heights, sheer cliffs that plummet 1,500 feet from either side of the trail into the Great Basin floor.
    • Part of the trail will only be a couple feet wide
    • No water on trail
    • Unexpected weather changes and extremely dangerous conditions if it rains
  • Parking:
    • Trailhead parking lots including Roaring Brook Campground, Abol Campground, or Katahdin Stream Campground
    • If you are day-hiking you may want to save your parking spot with a reservation.
  • Access:
    • Access can be found at the Roaring Brook Campground which is an hour from your vehicle on the opposite side of the mountain. There is no shuttle service.
    • You will end your hike at Roaring Brook Campground if you hike the Knife’s Edge from the Hunt or Abol Trails.

4. Precipice Trail (Loop)

Precipice Trail
  • Location: Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Park Size: Acadia National Park is 49, 052 acres.
  • Duration of hike:
    • 1.5-2.5 hours for the Precipice Trail to summit of Champlain Mountain
    • 3-5 hours to complete the entire loop
  • Length:
    • 1 mile for the Precipice Trail to summit of Champlain Mountain
    • 2.6 miles to complete the entire loop
  • Elevation: 1,058 feet
  • Difficulty: Extremely strenuous
  • Cost: annual entrance fee is $50, seven-day entrance pass is $25 for a private vehicle, $20 for a motorcycle, and $12 for an individual (can be purchased online)
  • Pets: no dogs or pet permitted
  • Who:
    • Experienced hikers
    • not recommended for small children, for people with a fear of heights, or for anyone in wet weather
  • What you’ll need:
    • Food and water
    • Sturdy hiking boots or sneakers
  • What to expect:
    • Rungs and ladders stapled into rock walls
    • Boulders, granite stairs
    • Sheer cliffs
    • Rocky and rugged trails
    • Rise over 1,000 feet in 0.9 miles
  • Regulations:
    • The trail can be closed late spring through mid-August because endangered peregrine falcons return to the area during that time.
  • Parking:
    • limited parking in the summer months from 9 am – 3 pm
    • Island Explorer Shuttle is free and available to hikers
  • Access:
    • Precipice Trail parking lot is about 2 miles from the one-way Park Loop Road
    • Champlain Mountain sites on the easter edge of the park. Use Highway 3 to go south and then look for the intersection with the one way Park Loop Road which will take you to the trailheads.

5. Franconia Ridge Loop

Franconia Ridge Loop
  • Location: Lincoln, New Hampshire
  • Park Size: Franconia Notch State Park is 6,692 acres.
  • Duration of hike: about 7 hours
  • Length: 8.6 miles
  • Elevation: increases about 3,500 feet in just 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Challenging but not too strenuous
  • Cost:
    • Entrance fee is Adults $12.00;
    • Children (6-11) $8.00
    • and 5 & under is free.
  • Pets: Pet friendly, but the leash cannot exceed 6 feet in length for safety purposes
  • Who: Hikers of all levels
  • What you’ll need:
    • food and water
    • sturdy hiking shoes
  • What to expect:
    • According to REI’s Hiking Project, you will encounter the second highest range of peaks in the White Mountains and multiple waterfalls.
    • Ridge encompasses 4 four-thousand footers: Mount Lafayette (5249 ft) Mount Lincoln (5,089 ft), Mount Liberty (4,459 ft) and Mount Flume (4,328 feet)
    • What is a four-thousand footer? A group of 48 mountains in New Hampshire at least 4k feet above sea level.
    • After hiking the Francis Ridge Loop you’ll be able to say you’ve hiked a few of New Hampshire’s 4,000 -foot peaks in one day.
    • 360 degree views of the entire Pemigewasset Wilderness, views of Vermont and even New York State weather-permitting.
  • Parking:
    • Limited parking options within the park
    • Most parking is for people visiting attractions in the park
    • Main parking areas including Flume Gorge, Lafayette Place CG, Aerial Tramway, and Echo Lake Beach are for paying guests only.
    • Flume Gorge has some limited hiker parking
  • Access:
    • Use the Trailhead Parking/Lafayette Place Campground to access the trail.
    • Falling Waters is a 3.2 mile direct route to the Franconia Ridge Trail.

Conclusion

Experts agree that inactive adults partake in less than 150 minutes of walking or moderately intense physical activity each week and children engage in less than 60 minutes of strenuous physical exercise each day. Sedentary, indoor lifestyles and minimal exercise are quite common in the United States in both adults and children. Studies show that this new and consistent lifestyle results in health issues that are potentially lethal.

Now that you are aware that a lack of outdoor exposure and increasing sedentary lifestyles are dangerous for your well-being, start making time for self-care. Plan a weekend or day-trip to one of these unique hiking trails along the East Coast to increase your well-being and quality of life today.

Your prescription for hiking will always have unlimited refills.

Top 8 Revel Parts and Accessories

So you just purchased a Winnebago Revel, you may be asking what parts and accessories do I need for it. We asked our RV parts team to identify the most popular parts and accessories Revel owners purchase. Check them out below.

Ram Mounts RAM X-Grip for cell phone or tablet – is appropriate for a wide variety of applications including driving, boating, cycling and performing. The spring loaded RAM X-Grip features expandable grip arms for quick insertion and release of your phone or tablet. For more intense environments, RAM X-Grip comes with a rubber tether that easily holds your device in place for added piece of mind. Features a high strength composite and stainless-steel construction, spring loaded holder that expands and contracts for perfect fit of your device, rubber coated tips will hold device firm and stable, holder allows for attachment to many RAM ball mounts, and lifetime warranty.

Aluminess Front Bumper – The Mercedes Sprinter vans are great vehicles for traveling. They have a ton of room and can be converted to motorhomes or mobile garages. The big drawback is their fragile front end. With the Aluminess front bumper, Sprinters finally have the protection they need from wildlife. They are even winch compatible for those sticky situations that you might find yourself in. They weigh only 85 pounds and are designed to fit the sleek lines that the Sprinter van is known for.

Aluminess Rail Kits, Box Shelves, and Storage Boxes – If you have a lot to carry or bulky items, then the deluxe box is for you. It is 30″ tall x 16″ deep x 24″ wide and is watertight. Many people will install a shelf (sold separately) to help organize storage. The drop down door is perfect for outdoor kitchens or to use as a work surface.

Culligan RV and Marine Drinking Water Filter – The Culligan RV water filters reduce sediment, chlorine, taste, and odor in the water supply to campers, trailers, motor homes, and boats. Culligan RV filters produce healthier, better tasting water for drinking and cooking while on the road. Filtering dirt and sediment is essential to keeping your RV storage tank clean and clear.

Zero-G RV and Marine Hose – Research with hose purchasers overwhelmingly indicates a preference for hoses which offer light weight, easy handling, kink resistance and lasting performance. The zero-G™ advanced hose design takes these must-haves to a higher level than ever before. Compared to traditional heavy and professional water hoses the Zero-G RV and Marine Hose is up to 40% lighter weight than heavy duty vinyl hoses, has kink-free uninterrupted flow, is easy to store – small and compact, has tough G-Force™ woven fiber jacket resists leaks, abrasion and punctures, has a 600+ psi burst rated, provides consistent, high flow equal to a conventional 5/8” hose, flexible and easy to maneuver even in cold weather down to 35°F, and provides lead free, safe drinking water.

RV Surge and Electrical Protection – Electrical Management System (EMS) helps to protect your RV against voltage fluctuations, power surges and incorrectly wired shore power which can cause severe and costly damage to RV appliances and electronics. Improved design features include: state-of-the-art microprocessors, all weather shield assembly, rugged pull handle, secure locking bracket, built-in scrolling digital display and a tough Lexan® housing. Sleek, compact portable design makes unit easy to use and store. Plug-and-play application.

WeatherTech Bump Steps – BumpStep is a trailer hitch mounted bumper protector that defends your bumper against rear end accidents, dents and scratches. Given its 12″ width, BumpStep can also be used as a step to reach the top roof of your vehicle.

Highland Retractable 6’ Ratchet Tie Downs – Highland Standard duty Retractable Ratchet Tie Down has coated S-Hooks to prevent marring and scratching. It measures 6’ long by 1” wide and has a load capacity of 400 lbs. Designed to rewind with just a push of a button for easy storage and no tangling, this strap makes it the perfect fit for keeping cargo in check with its 1200-pound break strength capacity. The quick and easy to use ratchet allows you to control the tension on the strap for a snug fit to your cargo or tarp. Highland is dedicated to helping you safely load, anchor, secure, carry, trailer and organize cargo. From aluminum ramps to fat strap bungees and cargo securing products, Highland products are manufactured to quality standards designed to meet, and exceed, every expectation.

Order your parts online here or call us at 1-800-343-6255 or email us at parts@lichtsinn.com for assistance!