Exploring Waterfalls, Caves, and Springs in Northeast Iowa

Posted: December 27, 2023 | Updated: December 29, 2023

Nestled within the scenic landscapes of Northeast Iowa lies a hidden world of natural wonders, where the earth’s artistry takes center stage. From majestic waterfalls to mysterious caves and refreshing springs, this region invites adventurers and nature enthusiasts to embark on a journey through a realm shaped by time, water, and geological marvels.

Spook Cave

Location: McGregor
Contact: 13299 Spookcave Road | 563-539-4114

Step into the depths of Spook Cave to witness a mesmerizing spectacle of cave formations. Traverse the limestone walls adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, and be enchanted by the whimsical world underground. The perpetual 47-degree temperature creates an otherworldly ambiance as you explore the two to six feet deep waters within the cave, adding an air of mystery to the adventure.

Richmond Springs at Backbone State Park

Location: Clayton

Nestled within Backbone State Park lies the tranquil Richmond Springs. It’s a sanctuary where the coldwater spring meanders, creating a picturesque natural stair-step effect over limestone bedrock features. Embrace the serenity of this spot and let the soothing sounds of cascading water rejuvenate your spirit.

Bridal Falls (Pikes Peak)

Location: McGregor
Contact: 32264 Pikes Peak Road | 563-873-2341

The iconic Bridal Veil Falls stands tall as a testament to Iowa’s natural splendor. Nestled near the Pike’s Peak Overlook, this waterfall boasts a boardwalk trail allowing up-close encounters with its majestic beauty. A hidden cave behind the falls adds an extra layer of allure to this enchanting spot.

Ice Cave at Bixby State Preserve

Location: Edgewood
Contact: 2 mi N of Edgewood along Fortune Ave | 563-924-2527

Despite being only 30 feet deep, the Ice Cave at Bixby State Preserve maintains its icy allure year-round. While the entrance remains gated due to safety concerns, visitors can still relish the rush of cold air as they venture along the trail leading to the cave. Nature’s ability to create a perpetual ice haven is a marvel worth experiencing.

Dutton’s Cave

Location: West Union
Contact: 25218 Ironwood Road | 563-422-5146

Discover the serene beauty of Dutton’s Cave within a 46-acre county park. Trails wind through this natural oasis, offering opportunities for peaceful strolls, picnics, and camping amidst the tranquil ambiance of this natural haven.

Ice Cave State Preserve

Location: Decorah
Contact: Quarry Street, Decorah IA 52101

Experience the Midwest’s expansive ice caves at this preserve. Ice forms within the cave when winter air enters, dropping the temperature of the rock walls. The result? A stunning display of nature’s artistry, offering visitors a glimpse into a frozen wonderland.

Malanaphy Springs State Preserve

Location: Decorah
Contact: 2834 Bluffton Road, Decorah IA 52101

This preserve, situated on the Paleozoic Plateau, encapsulates rugged forests, a grand spring, and a captivating 10-foot waterfall. Explore the diverse landscape and revel in the raw beauty of this natural gem.

Dunning’s Spring Park & Waterfall

Location: Decorah
Contact:  Ice Cave Rd, Decorah, IA 52101 | (563) 382-4158

Just minutes from downtown Decorah, this spectacular 200-foot waterfall serves as a natural spectacle. Its proximity to amenities like ample parking, picnicking areas, and hiking trails makes it an accessible marvel for visitors.

Siewers Spring Waterfall

Location: Decorah
Contact: 2321 Siewers Spring Road, Decorah IA 52101

Though technically a spillway, the stone columns at Siewers Spring are a sight to behold. Located near the Chuck Gipp Decorah Fish Hatchery, this spot supplies cold water essential for trout farming, presenting a unique intersection of nature and industry.

Twin Springs

Location: Decorah
Contact: 2149 Twin Springs Rd, Decorah IA 52101

Park along Twin Springs Road and follow the stream “up river” until it vanishes into the ground – you’ve discovered the source of Twin Springs! Trace nature’s flow to its origin in this serene and picturesque setting.


Northeast Iowa’s waterfalls, caves, and springs presents a symphony of nature’s finest compositions. Whether you seek the tranquility of a serene spring or the awe-inspiring majesty of cascading waterfalls, this region offers a canvas upon which to paint unforgettable memories amid the wonders of the natural world.

Embark on an adventure through Northeast Iowa’s hidden treasures, where every turn unveils a new marvel carved by the hands of time and nature.

Are you ready to keep exploring Northeast Iowa? Discover area attractions, upcoming events, and start planning your visit now. Follow Visit Iowa on social media. Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube


You May Also Like…