frequently asked questions
How can I choose a trail?
We have many trails from our handicap accessible John and Alice Butler Trail to the Eagle Scout Trail. Want some advice? Stop in at the EB Lyons Center and ask one of our guides which one is right for you.
MINES OF SPAIN TRAIL MAP CLICK HERE
Can ATV/UTV use the park?
ATV and UTV users are allowed on the Mines of Spain Road only as it is a through street. No ATV or UTV are allowed on trails or off roads. We have fragile plant and animal habitats that must remain undisturbed. There are also sacred Native American burial grounds in the park. Thank you for your respect
Is there a cost for the park?
The park and E.B. Lyons Center are free of charge. The park is open daily 4:30 am to 10:30 pm and the E.B. Lyons center is open 9am to 4pm weekdays and weekends during the summer.
Can we rock climb or rappel?
There is no Rock Climbing or Rappelling at the Mines of Spain
Free climbing, and climbing or rappelling activity which uses bolts, pitons, or similar permanent anchoring equipment or ropes, harnesses, or slings is prohibited in state parks and recreation areas, except by persons or groups registered with the person in charge of the area. Individuals participating with groups must each sign a registration form before climbing or rappelling. Climbing or rappelling is not permitted at the Ledges State Park, Boone County; Dolliver State Park, Webster County; Wildcat Den State Park, Muscatine County; Mines of Spain Recreation Area, Dubuque County; Maquoketa Caves State Park, Jackson County; Elk Rock State Park, Marion County and Stone State Park, Woodbury and Plymouth counties.
Rock Climbing is unsafe due to the bridle limestone rock, it can break apart easily, with freezing and thawing the limestone rock continually sluffs off the bluffs.
Can we mountain bike trails?
Mountain bikes are allowed on hard surface roads only and in our parking lots. No bikes are allowed on any of the trails including the John and Alice Butler Trail.
Is there anything handicap accessible?
The E.B. Lyons Center is a handicap accessible facility with entrance to the main level and elevator available to the lower level of the interpretive center. We have one wheelchair to use while in the facility. It is located inside the front doors. Several handicap parking spaces are located near the EB Lyons Center. The John and Alice Butler trail is a paved, .5 mile ADA trail which takes you into a prairie area near the EB Lyons Center.
Is there canoeing/kayaking in the park? Do you rent canoe/kayaks?
Canoeing and kayaking is permitted on Catfish creek from 4:30 am to 10:30 pm every day which opens to the Mississippi. Canoe access dock is available adjacent to the Canoe access parking lot on Mines of Spain Road. We do not rent or have a rental company that services the park. There is little to no current in the creek since it is so close to where it opens to the Mississippi River. Water levels vary, but are usually deep enough to paddle upstream about a mile. Bring bug spray, sunscreen and some water.
The City of Dubuque’s Port of Dubuque Marina offers(partnering with Fever River Outfitters) the following services:
In June and July Port of Dubuque offers walk-up rentals for kayak and stand up paddle boards on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm and Saturdays from 8 am to 12 pm. No advance reservations are required for these rentals. If a large group is coming, they should call Fever River Outfitters to be sure there is enough equipment available 815-776-9426. Leisure Services also offers classes on kayaking, paddleboarding and yoga www.cityofdubuque.org/recreation.
Can I have a wedding in the park?
To have a wedding at a state park that will be held outside of a day-use lodge or open shelter rental, it will require a special use permit. You can read more about them here: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Things-to-Do/Camping-Facility-Rentals/Rules-Regulations/Special-Events
To create a special use permit you will want to go to the following link and “schedule an event:” https://programs.iowadnr.gov/specialevents/ and select “State Park Weddings.”
If it asks you to log in then you will need to create an account (in the upper right corner). Once logged in you will fill out the application – there is also a $25 nonrefundable application fee. You must keep the authorization letter on site during the event, held by the responsible party.
If you would like to reserve the Auditorium at the EB Lyons Center, please view the online reservation form here. There is no alcohol allowed in the EB Lyons Center for weddings and receptions.
Is there Hunting in the Park?
Yes. Areas and dates vary. Please see our Hunting Page for current information. Please call the visitors center at 563-556-0620 with any questions
Shotgun dear season is varies in the Mines of Spain park. Hikers please read this brochure on suggestions to stay safe. Hunters please know the guidelines of the park and report any deer taken to 556-0620. Click here for Deer Hunting Information sheet.
Is there snow shoeing in the park?
You can snowshoe any place in the park. No trails are specifically designated for snowshoeing. The Cedar Ridge and Prairie Ridge Trails are groomed for cross country skiing and we ask that you not snowshoe on those. We have a limited number of snow shoes available at the EB Lyons Interpretive center. Call to see if available 563-556-0620
We recommend the following trails to snow shoe on:
1. Sauk Fox
2. Horseshoe Bluff – lower portion
3. Lead Mine and Pine Chapel Trails at EB Lyons Center – use service road behind the Latrine by main parking lot to go into valley. Other trails leading down into valley have steps. Okay if snow is deep.
4. Catfish Trail – Lower portion only, upper portion has steps at the east and west ends.
Is there camping in the park?
There is no camping in the Mines of Spain.
The closest State Parks with camping are Bellevue and Maquoketa Caves located south about 20-25 away miles by towns of Bellevue and Maquoketa Iowa.
There are two county parks – Massey Station which is about 3 miles south off Massey Station Road it is a small park and and gets a lot of traffic located along the Mississippi River. There is also Swiss Valley Park which is off HWY 20 or HWY 151. Swiss Valley is about 12 miles from the Mines of Spain and has a stream and fishing. You can get more park information at the county website here www.dubuquecounty.org
For other area camping options please check out Travel Dubuque
Are dogs allowed in the park and on the trails?
Yes, dogs are allowed in the park. They must be on a leash no longer than six feet long. Please pick up after your pets.
Do you rent kayaks or canoes?
No, we do not rent kayaks or canoes. We use them for public kayaking and canoeing events that we host. Please check our events calendar to see when these events take place. Click here for our events calendar.