2850 Prairie Du Chien Rd NE, Iowa City, IA 52240
P: (319) 338-3543 ext. 6300
This place is one of my favorite places in Iowa. One of the best places for a stroll. What may start out being a 5 minute visit to pass some time, easily turns into an hour or more of hiking. Even if fossils aren't your thing, I think you'll find yourself a little more curious with every few steps along the gorge. I'm 30 years old and this place has been exposed for most of my life, yet I just discovered it's existence a week ago. How had I not heard about it that entire time? Blows my mind. Wear proper shoes for hiking. Best enjoyed in nice weather. Oh and it's free. As far as I know, all year round.
Hood Rat Stick Fight (Hood Rat Stick Fight)
If you ever find yourself on a car trip that goes anywhere in Iowa, see how far out of your way this place is. So beautiful! I don't know much about fossils but was really impressed by what was here! They have a nice brochure online to read off what the numbers mean as you meander through! I had the whole place to myself. I saw in other reviews that people have observed eagles down by the water as you walk this gorge. And I'm happy to say that's absolutely true, I watched two adult eagles hunting for fish in the water, something I have never seen IRL and was so excited to witness. I was by myself but it would be a great place for kids to explore. Could have a picnic down by the water and make it a whole afternoon!
We only stopped by for a short time but it was really worth a visit. Our children just learned formation of fossils in classes, and now they get to see what a fossil really looks like and where to find them out! Want to make your trip more educational? I'd strongly recommend this place to all families with children in elementary school!
Don’t take the fossils and don’t smash the rocks! Saw plenty of people messing with the fossils which isn’t a cool thing to do. Careful with your step though, obviously this place has plenty of rocks and unstable steps. Also if you go during winter, dress warm. It can get plenty of wind there.
It's interesting to see so many fossils in one place. Children can easily spot the fossil formations embedded throughout the rock, so you can spend as much or as little time exploring as you want. Signage information explains what is embedded in the rocks. Not very handicap accessible because the rocks are horizontal across the ground and quite broken up. They were exposed during the flood of 1993. If you have time for a scenic walk, head toward the back of the park for a paved trail along the Iowa River. Autumn is a great time to see the leaves changing along the riverbank and trail. We also saw a trio of deer in the woods.
Monday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Tuesday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Wednesday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Thursday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Friday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Saturday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
With options ranging from comfort food and traditional staples to unexpected combinations coupled with the freshness of local ingredients, your taste buds are sure to be quite pleased.
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