Dunning Springs Park is right down the road from the Ice Cave and it is certainly worth a visit. Again when I think Iowa, I don’t think of waterfalls. Yet there it was in all of its spectacular glory. Even my parents were shocked to find a water fall in Iowa.
Dunning’s Spring, a city park in Decorah, is the site of the first mill built in the county seat. A boulder near the stream marks the spot where William Painter built a gristmill in 1849. By 1861, E.C. Dunning owned the property and replaced the original mill. Usage changed through the years. The structure was torn down in 1897. The park has ample parking, picnic tables, benches, and a fire pit. When we arrived we found a ton of people enjoying the park. Everyone was climbing up the sides, playing in the water, and taking pictures of the 200ft water fall.
When I saw the spring I knew I had to climb up to the top, I had to know where the water was coming from. I kicked off my flip flops, donned my sneakers and headed up the side of the falls. The source of the falls is groundwater that flows through an open, cavernous cave. Yes! Two caves in one day! it was almost to much for me to handle. Then I remembered I was in IOWA and clamed down. Anyways it was super cool and the water was extremely clear.
There I was huffing it up the side of the falls when I spotted what appeared to be steps through the woods. Yep there was steps, damn it! Steps, I could have taken the steps. I made my way back down the side of the falls grabbed my parental units and headed up the steps. The steps took you all the way to the top of the falls and ended at a platform that over looked the cave opening. It was well worth the climb.
We had a great time hanging out and climbing around the falls. The sun was starting to set and one could hear our tummies grumbling. I backed out of out of the crowded parking lot like a boss and headed on down to the Pizza Ranch. Hey, don’t judge. A girl’s gotta eat.
Our drive home was not fun, we ended up driving back to Red Wing through a nasty rain storm. Luckily it had died down by the time we hit Rochester and it was smooth sailing from there. If you are looking for adventure head on down to Iowa. Yes I really mean this, head on down to Iowa, it is more than corn and turkeys.