Located about an hour’s drive north of Cedar Rapids, Backbone State Park is Iowa’s oldest state park. Established in 1920, it was named for a narrow limestone ridge—the Devil’s Backbone—along the Maquoketa River. At its founding, it was one of the largest state parks in the U.S. to offer camping, picnicking and hiking opportunities. Since that time, the park has expanded to 2,100 acres—almost double its original size—and offers even more opportunities for locals and visitors to get outdoors and enjoy some time in nature. Whether it’s wandering the woods, fishing on a quiet creek, lounging by the lake, or just napping in shade under a swinging hammock, there’s something for everyone here. The two campgrounds at Backbone State Park offers 125 campsites for tent and RV campers. The large South Lake Campground has nearly 100 sites, about half with electrical hookups, with flush toilets and showers. The smaller Six Pines Campground has 27 primitive tent sites with vault toilets. Most sites are open and grassy, but there are plenty of shade trees around. Both locations have drinking water faucets and trash receptacles; a dump station is located at the South Lake Campground. The park also offers a few 1- and 2-bedroom cabins for those visiting sans tent or RV; bedding not provided. Many sites and facilities are ADA accessible. A small store in the park sells bait, firewood and some concessions. Reservations are accepted, but some sites are held open for first-come, first-served campers. Seasonal campsite rates range from $6–$16/night; cabins range from $50–$100/night. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy at Backbone State Park. The park features several playgrounds, picnic areas, an outdoor auditorium, and a museum. More than 21 miles of multiuse trails explore the woods and waterways within the park. Taking a hike or ride is the best way to see some of the park’s natural rock features, including the Stone Arch, Balance Rock, and the Devil’s Backbone. In winter, many of these trails are open for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Swimming, paddling and boating can be enjoyed on Backbone Lake, with kayak and canoe rentals available from the park, and angers can fish for trout on the creek out of Richmond Springs. And rock climbers will find several challenging routes on the park’s many limestone cliffs.