Welcome to the American midwest. Land of adventure! That's right, while so many people flock to the Rocky Mountains or epic coastline, it's key to note the centre of the continent has so much to offer as well.
Start off with these three adventure zones:
Hike the Backbone, Iowa
With 21 miles of trails, plus camping, picnic shelters, trout fishing and even rock-climbing onsite, the 2,000-acre Backbone State Park is an attractive outdoorsy destination. Hiking is the best reason to visit, and also the way to reach one of the highest points in the state. The West Lake and East Lake Loop is our favorite trail in the park—a 6.3-mile undulating, wooded path. And don’t forget the rocky staircase up the Devil’s Backbone to hit a Midwest high point!
Float the Ozarks, Missouri
Ozark National Scenic Riverways, in southeast Missouri, is the first federally designated National Park dedicated to the protection of a wild river system. Created by an Act of Congress in 1964, the park encompasses two of America’s most beautiful waterways: the 186-mile-long Current River and its tributary, the 46-mile-long Jacks Fork River. These are two of the finest floatable rivers you’ll find in the state. Start your Current River float at the Akers Ferry Canoe Rental, or in Montauk State Park. For Jacks Fork, try floating The Prongs—Missouri’s wildest paddle.
Waterfall hunt in Starved Rock, Illinois
Starved Rock State Park is a like a fairyland dreamscape. Water-sculpted rocks. Lush mixed-woods forest. Thirteen miles of serene hiking trails. And waterfalls galore. Unlike the rolling farmlands the state is known for, ancient glacial runoff carved up the landscape of Starved Rock and stripped it down the limestone. The result? Some 18 canyons with 14 stunning waterfalls. Wander the gorges in spring, when runoff is high, and marvel at the sight of everything from veil-thin falls to raging cascades. Trails range from 0.3 miles to about five miles long, so most guests will find a way to spot a waterfall.
And if you need any outdoor gear—we can help.