Hiking in the Coon Creek Wildlife Area, Iowa; Photograph by Brian Button

Hiking in the Coon Creek Wildlife Area, Iowa; Photograph by Brian Button

Find solitude with a backpacking trip in a hidden Iowa wilderness.            

What Is It? The nearly thousand-acre Coon Creek Wildlife Management Area offers hikers, backpackers, and nature lovers a largely untouched, rarely visited spot to explore. Spend a day or the weekend bushwhacking off-trail or wandering the dirt paths and roads that snake through this expanse. Spend the night; chances are you’ll have the place to yourself.

Why Do It? This is a haven for hikers and a birder’s paradise. Coon Creek winds through thickly forested, rolling countryside that is so varied you’ll find yourself rambling through a lush riparian corridor, old oak forests, aspen stands, and open meadows all in one day. Flowers thrive in summer, as do opportunities to see bobcats, opossums, and hawks. Make sure to stop and soak sore feet in the cool creek.

Make It Happen: For information call or visit the Department of Natural Resources. For directions on how to access trailheads, read this article by Lauren Kraus.

What is your favorite summer weekend adventure in Iowa?

See all the summer weekend adventures.

More: See America’s 100 Best Adventures and Long Weekends Like a Local

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50 Best Summer Weekend Adventures: Great adventures are all around us—and summer is the ideal time to seek them. To give you some ideas and inspiration, every weekday we will be sharing a different U.S. summer weekend adventure, state-by-state from A to Z. We invite you to share your favorite summer weekend adventures in the comments section below when your favorite state is featured. Report back after the weekend to tell us about the outdoor adventures you had.