Backbone State Park is located near the city called Strawberry Point in Delaware County, Iowa. This state park was established and opened to the public in 1919, making it Iowa’s oldest state park. To get to the main entrance of the park, just travel four miles southwest of Strawberry Point, off IA 410.
This park encompasses a total area of 2,001 acres of land in an area that is predominantly wooded with Maple and Oak trees. The biota within the park also includes a wide variety of wildlife including turkeys, deer, ruffed grouse, raccoon, fox, and many species of songbirds.
The park is named after what was described as the ‘Devils Backbone’ describing a steep and narrow ridge of bedrock carved by the Maquoketa River. Most of the park’s buildings were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) which was established in 1933 as an effort to provide work for unemployed Americans during the Great Depression.
Some of the amenities within the park include playground, stone lodge, 125 campsites, seasonal rental cabins, boat ramp, swimming beach, boat rentals, picnic areas, Civilian Conservation Corps museum, hiking and multi-use trails, food concession, and open picnic shelters. Activities that are popular at the park today include mountain biking, camping, swimming, boating (electric motors only), lake and stream fishing, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, hunting (designated areas), hiking, and snowmobiling.
If you have a dog, you can bring them to the park at no additional cost. Like all other Iowa state parks, you will, however, need to follow strict park rules. Some of the rules with regard to dogs and dog owners include the following. First, you are not allowed to let your dog wander aimlessly around the park. Furthermore, you are meant to always keep your dog under leash or safely confined. The leash must be no longer than six feet long. If you choose to camp at the park, you are only allowed a maximum of two dogs per yurt or tent.