North Iowa is home to the state’s second highest observation at Pilot Knob State Park.
The tower at the park is more than 1400 feet above sea level. The view from the top of the stone turret is impressive. The day we visited, it was cloudy. I’m pretty sure that while we enjoyed a nice view, blue skies would have enhanced the view.
Standing at the top of the tower, you could see for miles. I am fairly sure that if you could tell the difference, you could see as far away as southern Minnesota.
Leaves on trees were just starting to turn during our visit. I wish we could visit the park during peak season because I believe the colors would be beautiful in the area.
The park is located about four miles from Forest City, or about 20 miles northwest of Clear Lake.
The park is home to several hiking and walking trails. Dead Man’s Lake is unique to Pilot Knob State Park. It’s the only floating sphagnum bog in Iowa. It is basically floating moss that can create deposits of peat, according to Webster’s dictionary. Several types of wildlife breed here, as well the lake being home to several plant varieties.
We didn’t make it to the lake, though it would have been an interesting hike. We will have to check it out next time we’re in the area.
A 15-acre man made lake is on park grounds for recreational use, such as fishing and boating.
Pilot Knob State Park has several trails for hiking and horseback riding. During the winter, visitors can ride snowmobiles in the park.
There are about 60 campsites in the park. Modern showers and restroom facilities are available. Half of the campsites are available on a first come, first use basis, but the others can be reserved through the park system.
As we drove through the park, we saw a lot of trees and vegetation. One field looked like it had goldenrod.
I am impressed with Iowa’s state parks. It appears to me that the state government is proactive in managing the state’s natural resources. Admission to the state parks is free. I wish all states did this for their citizens and guests.
For more information on Pilot Knob State Park or other Iowa parks, please visit the state’s parks website at http://www.iowadnr.gov/.