In Kansas, flatness is a way of life, in Iowa, it's an art. Hawkeye Point is the highpoint of Iowa. Although the Mississippi River areas offer some hills and rocks in Eastern Iowa, Western Iowa is flatter than can be. However, one of those flat points rises above the rest, and although it does not tower over the landscape in any way, there is a value in reaching its farmland summit. Hawkeye Point gradually rises 20 feet above the surrounding farmland offering excellent panoramic views of the Iowa landscape. While the land around the site is privately owned, the owners have championed the site as a tourist destination and has worked with the County to make sure it remains accessible (see Red Tape section). While the landowners are friendly and happy to have visitors, please make sure respect the land, visit at a reasonable hour, and do not leave any trash behind.
From I-90. Go to Worthington, Minnesota and take Exit 45, which is rt. 59 South. While still in Minnesota, look for signs to route 60 South. Once you hit the Iowa border, it is about 3 miles to the turn. Make a left on to 130th street. Their is a sign marking the turn for Hawkeye Point on route 60. Once in the driveway, drive up about a tenth of a mile, and look for the silo to the right. Behind it is the highpoint marker and the highpoint of Iowa. There is a summit register.
Some may ask why anyone would want to travel to this remote midwestern farmland area. Hawkeye Point certainly does not provide the best Iowa has to offer, but highpointing takes you places you would never think of going. Like a unique tour of America that few get to experience. The site was recently remodeled and celebrates highpointing. Hawkeye Point is one of the few flatland highpoints, and it is accessible from I-90, a highway that goes from Boston to Seattle, and is used by many to drive cross-country. For more information on highpointing, check out the Highpointers Club.
Entry is free. The high point is now owned by Osceola County (more details are below). Please show respect for the area and don't leave any trash. The Sterler family owned this land for many years and were always welcoming to the public. Let that tradition continue with the new owners. To make certain this State Highpoint always remains free and accessible for anyone wanting to come, the Sterler family offered to donate 1.6 acres around the highpoint to Osceola County. Osceola County then took that idea a step further, signing an agreement with the family in 2007 to purchase 5 acres around the highpoint. The highpoint is still always open to the public, but the county plans to eventually have a Visitor's Center, campground, restrooms, historical display areas, and an observation tower. These are long-range plans, because funding is by donation. The site has already been remodeled and looks much better. For more information about future plans for this highpoint, or to contribute a donation, please contact the "Hawkeye Point Committee" at (712)754-2523.
Any time of year.
Yellow River State Forest is located in Allamakee County in northeast Iowa (far away from Hawkeye Point), yet it is one of the hilliest areas in the entire state, with rises in the vicinity of 300'. There are even some nice rock outcroppings to visit that overlook the Mississippi River. The elevations in this area are above 1,000', but none approaching the height above sea level at Hawkeye Point. Check out this page for information on hiking in the forest. Check out this page for photos of the hills.
Hiking, camping, and several lakes are available at Gull Point State Park about 25 miles away. Check out Gull Point Check out this site for some rock climbing areas in Iowa. Some of the included parks are: Backbone State Park in the Northeast in Delaware County. Palisades-Kepler near Cedar Rapids in the East Wapsipinicon State Park near Cedar Rapids in the East For a list of more Iowa State Parks and Recreation Areas see this site.