When you think of hiking through the wilderness what comes to mind? A long winding hike through the Appalachian Mountains? A journey through Rocky Mountain National Park? Those destinations will not disappoint the avid hiker, however, you might be surprised to learn that there are beautiful picturesque locations in Eastern Iowa.
Bald eagles and white-tail deer are abundant and much of the fertile land and trails of Iowa serve as a bountiful habitat for some of the Midwest’s most beautiful plants, trees, and wildlife.
One of my favorite trails to hike is at the Coralville Reservoir. It’s a perfect destination for a hiker, an avid bicyclist, or a nature photographer seeking that perfect shot of a peregrine falcon soaring through the sky or a bald eagle diving for the catch of the day. If it becomes too hot and muggy on a July day you can always dive into the crisp cool waters of the reservoir.
Another trail system that I enjoy hiking is the Cedar Valley Nature Trail that runs from Waterloo to Cedar Rapids. It’s a 60-mile trail so it takes some time to complete however you will not be disappointed. There are a bunch of trails that connect other cities and most of the surface is crushed limestone. When you get to the northern portion of the trail it turns to asphalt and you will find more bikers in this area.
I am really looking forward to the changes coming this fall to Johnson County, Iowa. In October of 2010 it was announced that the Johnson County Conservation Board would be receiving a grant in the amount of $512,642.00 that will be used for the construction of a hiking, walking, and biking trail along the north side of Clear Creek from Ireland Avenue in the City of Tiffin to county road Half Moon Avenue.
I live right near this trail system and I can tell you first-hand that the improvements are being anticipated by many people throughout the community. According to the Johnson County conservation website the project will include a ten-footwide cement trail that is six-inches thick and it will have two bridges that will be constructed from recycled railroad flatcars and will be supported on piles or caissons. Motorized vehicles will be prohibited on the trail and use will be limited to hiking, walking and biking, with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing permitted in winter. Visit http://www.johnson-county.com/dept_conservation.aspx?id=3943 for more information.