|Distance||0.25 miles roundtrip|
|Terrain||A few hills|
- Views of the town of Bellevue and the Mississippi River
- Low effort, high reward
If you're seeking the best view in Bellevue State Park, look no further. This short "hike" leads to a shady viewpoint with a birds-eye view of the town of Bellevue perfect for taking pictures of the Mississippi River and dam. In the winter, bald eagles often fish in the unfrozen waters downstream from the dam. This is the one worthwhile hike in the Nelson Unit of the state park.
The hike follows a paved path to the official overlook. While the view at the railings is nice, further down you'll enjoy a more private, less obstructed view. Follow the railings to the left downhill and into the forest for a short distance, and you'll reach the rock pictured below.
Dogs are allowed on leash. This hike is super short and alright for kids, just be sure to watch them near the edge of the overlook since there are no railings at the end of the trail. You can hike this trail in all four seasons, though be careful when ice is present. You might have to share the view with others for a bit, but since the hike is so short you can have it to yourself if you're willing to wait a few minutes.
At over 3 hours away from both Des Moines and Chicago, Bellevue State Park requires you zigzag through the country away from major highways. Use the Google Maps link below to navigate the rural highways you'll take to get here.
Google Maps Directions
Parking, Fees, and Facilities
Parking is free! There are pit toilets on the far south end of the parking lot.