Hiking Decorah: Lovely Nature in a Beautiful Town
I am a Wartburg Graduate and played soccer through my college years, so usually when I made the trip to Decorah it was to "beat up" on the Norsemen (Luther College). This time my 2-hour trip to Decorah, was to enjoy the town for what it was. No rivalry attached, just some beautiful sites to take in with my wife.
Decorah is in a driftless Region, a part of the country that the glaciers missed, leaving hills, rivers, and limestone bluffs. When you visit, you may want to bring: your bike, binoculars, kayak, or hiking gear. We picked the latter and had a blast, although bikers were EVERYWHERE; and that seems to be a major mode of enjoying the outdoors around Decorah. We started our trip by taking a nice drive through the Palisades Park and made a quick stop at the overlook.
You can see most of the town from this overlook, and trust me, the camera just doesn't do the view justice.
From here, We went to a small parking area right by the entrance to Dunning Springs. We walked down Ice Cave Road from there, until we came to Ice Cave. What a cool experience it was. Ice can still be seen farther back in the cave; it glistens and shines as light hits it. And believe me, you'll need a flashlight to get to the back of the cave. Pitch black is an understatement when I killed the lights.
From here, we went back down the closed road to our parking area, right by the beginning of the Dunning Springs trailhead. This entire area is gorgeous. The walk takes you along the spring which empties in to the Upper Iowa River.
Once you reach the top where the springs come out, you can really see the full beauty. A waterfall appears. And not just any fall, a spring fed fall. The stream of water flows from a small cave inlet above the falls area.
You can even see the mist rising off the water in the photo. Families of all kinds were here taking photos and enjoying a beautiful day, after the heavy rain falls.
From here we took a small drive to check out Pulpit Rock. We parked at Will Baker Park and hike to the top of Pulpit Rock. The short climb takes you to the iconic stone structure, and stair steps up Pulpit Rock which continue the trail loop. The view looks over the Upper Iowa River and Community Prairie.
Our trip was beautiful, fun, and the hikes we did were fairly easy. All-in-all, everything we did would probably only take about a day. However, the entire area is full of hikes and trails, with many biking enthusiasts fixating on this town specifically. We didn't just do hiking while were there. Watch for more posts to come about the always amazing Toppling Goliath Brewing Company, and Pulpit Rock Brewing Company. Ice Cold beverages and good times incoming.
Before I leave you, check out this awesome montage my better-half put together of our full day.
Check out our other hiking experiences, like our recent trip to Michigan!