Local Summer Fun: Pinicon Ridge Park

Just a short drive north of Cedar Rapids in Central City, is one of our favorite summer places to visit. Pinicon Ridge Park has it all – a playground, animals, water activities, fishing, hiking, and camping. The park is located right off highway 13 so it is easy to find. It is 966 acres of nature and located along the Wapsipinicon River.

Pinicon RidgeWhy we love going to Pinicon Ridge Park:

-Paddle boats! My legs got quite a workout after doing this for 45 minutes, but it was a fun and inexpensive family activity to do on a nice day.

-You can climb the observation tower, it is one of the highest points in Linn County and gives you a beautiful view of the river and nature below. I’ll admit, even I got a little freaked out climbing that high, but the tower is sturdy and covered in fencing so is safe to climb.

-The Elk! There is a 6.5 acre wildlife area that has American Elk. If you come at a good time, you can see them right up by the fence. This area is right by the entrance so it’s always worth a quick stop to see if the Elk are out and moving.

-My kids love the playground here. The zipline and round swing are some of our favorites, but the overall nature theme of the playground equipment makes it fun too.

-Lots of things to do; fishing, boating, canoeing, playground, hiking, camping, it’s all great!

pinicon ridgeThings to Know about Pinicon Ridge Park:

-Camping spots and cabins fill up well in advance! Sometimes even a year ahead of time, so plan accordingly.

-They also have canoes and kayaks you can rent from the park and you can schedule a canoe float down the Wapsipinicon if you want to make the trip longer.

-The trails range from about 45 minutes to about 2 hours to walk, so make sure to plan enough time if you want to do the whole trail. You can find more information on the options and where the trails lead here.

-There are lots of picnic tables and shelters scattered around the park making it a great place for a picnic.

Looking for more summer fun ideas? Check out our posts on Mount TrashmoreMorgan Creek, and Pleasant Creek


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Jessica is a mom of four (3 energetic boys and 1 little girl) who moved back to Iowa after living eleven years in Phoenix, Arizona. Jessica is a former teacher and former co-owner of Scottsdale Moms who has spent time as a working mom, a work-from-home mom, and now a stay at home mom. Her favorite things are crocheting gifts for loved ones, spending mornings at local coffee shops with friends, getting outside for a family bike ride or run, and enjoying a good book.

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