Pikes Peak and Effigy Mounds now open, but some trails remain closed

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

Point Ann Trail, in the north part of Pikes Peak State Park, was heavily damaged July 19. Park manager Matt Tschirgi said it’s unlikely the trail will be open the rest of the year.

The Effigy Mounds visitor center, as well as some of the park’s main hiking trails, reopened to the public on Friday. Until further notice, the entire Hanging Rock trail and all trails in the South Unit are closed to public access.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Two of northeast Iowa’s most well-known natural and recreational sites—Pikes Peak State Park and Effigy Mounds National Monument—are open again after a tornado ripped through the area Wednesday, July 19, but some trails remain closed.

Pikes Peak sustained considerable tree damage from the storm, said park manager Matt Tschirgi.

“We got everyone into the shower building before the storm and there were no injuries,” he said, “but some trees fell on vehicles and lots of trees were down in the picnic areas and trails.”

Tschirgi said power was restored to Pikes Peak on Thursday and, by Saturday evening, the campground, picnic areas, restrooms and concession stand were all open.

“We have most of the trees and debris cleaned up in the campground,” he said on Saturday. “There are some trees in the picnic areas that we have to clean up still.”

The boardwalk trail to Bridal Veil Falls is also clear, but Tschirgi said the north end of the park is not so lucky.

“It’s a complete disaster area,” he said. “Those trails (Point Ann Trail, Chinquapin Ridge Trail and Horn Hollow Trail) will be closed probably the rest of the year. I’m heartbroken from all the work over the years on those trails and working on oak regeneration in that part of the park. It was one of the best white oak stands in Iowa.”

The Effigy Mounds visitor center, as well as some hiking trails, reopened to the public on Friday. All buildings in the park escaped damage as a result of the storm, but power was disrupted for a day.

Crews spent Thursday assessing the damage throughout the 2,526-acre park and clearing fallen trees and limbs along the park’s most popular hiking trails.

“We’re thrilled to have the visitor center open again,” said Effigy Mounds superintendent Jim Nepstad in a press release. “We’re saddened that we had to temporarily close some of our hiking trails, but after looking around Thursday, there was no doubt it had to happen. The storm did some very significant damage to trees in some parts of our park. Fortunately, damage around the mound areas was relatively light, so once trails are opened, the park will be as spectacular as ever.”

The two most popular hiking trails in the park—the Fire Point Loop and the Yellow River Boardwalk—received a lot of attention from park crews on Thursday. By the end of the day, all of the boardwalk was cleared and open. Most of the Fire Point Loop is open as well, although the section between the Little Bear mound and Fire Point will remain closed until a problematic tree hanging over the trail can be addressed by a specialist. Until further notice, the entire Hanging Rock trail and all trails in the South Unit are closed to public access.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Comment Here