Iowa's oldest state park and also one of its most beloved, Backbone State Park is found in the Maquoketa River Valley, approximately three miles south of Strawberry Point. Known for its unique and diverse terrain, the park gets its name from the Devil's Backbone, a steep and narrow ridge of bedrock formed by the river which also happens to be the highest point in northeast Iowa.
Backbone State Park offers a plethora of opportunities for outdoor recreation, from hiking and rock climbing to boating and fishing, but the best part of all is that pets are welcome in the park and at its campgrounds. If you are planning a holiday with your dog, you'll need to make sure you abide by all the park rules and regulations regarding pets. These include keeping your pet on a leash of six feet or shorter, ensuring that your dog is always supervised and controlled, and disposing of their waste whenever necessary.
Once you're aware of your responsibilities, it's time to set about exploring this beautiful park. With 21 miles of hiking and multi-use trails, you can explore everything from rocky staircases up steep inclines to lovely lakeside views. Backbone Lake offers ample opportunities for swimming, boating and fishing, and there's a boat launch ramp at the lake's southwestern end.
Backbone State Park is also a popular destination for rock climbers keen to take on the challenge presented by steep cliffs of rugged dolomite limestone. If you like to enjoy life at a slightly more laid-back pace, you might prefer sitting down to a picnic in one of several open shelters or the park's auditorium.
There are two campgrounds available - the South Lake Campground and the Six Pine Campground - providing a range of electric and non-electric sites. Many of the park's cabins are lso pet-friendly, so keep them in mind if you want to spend each night in comfort during your visit to Backbone State Park.