Autumn Beauty: Ledges SP LbNA # 29216
|Placed Date||Mar 16 2007|
Replaced January 7, 2008
Ledges State Park is a beautiful place at any time of the year, but my first time there was when my husband and I first moved to Iowa, Fall of 2006. So I named this letterbox in honor of our move to Iowa and our drive-about in this gorgeous autumn setting.
Bring your own ink.
Level of terrain difficulty: medium - includes a short climb uphill. Wear long pants and sturdy shoes.
Time required after parking: 10 minutes.
Caution: During certain times of the year, Canyon Road is closed. See Notice at bottom of page.
Use URL below to see map of Ledges SP -
From Luther, head North on S Ave. (Hwy 17) about 2 mi. Take a left on 250th St. and travel West about 3 mi. to Ledges State Park. The road will curve around past picnic shelters and parking areas. Proceed down "Canyon Road" for this scenic drive. Just before heading downhill, you will pass a turn-off to your left. Make sure to stay right and continue down Canyon Rd. You will drive through a sequence of switchbacks, which will include a sharp curve to the right, a sharp curve to the left, and a more gentle curve to the left, until it levels out at the bottom. Drive across the bridge and park in the parking/picnic area on your left.
From the parking area, continue on foot in the same direction you had been driving (if your back is to the picnic tables, walk left down the road). The road will start to gently curve around to the right, and you will see a 4-ft. stone, chimney-like structure on the right. Go to it.
With the chimney and the road both at your back, take 5 hefty steps up the hill toward a tree with a mossy stone at the base of it on the side nearest the chimney. A small landing will be in front of you.
With the tree and mossy stone at your right shoulder and the chimney at your back, look ahead and slightly to the right to see a small tree on the landing that bends way over to the left and leans against a clump of 4 trees growing from the same base to make an archway. The clump of 4 trees (2 big trees & 2 small trees) will be uphill and slightly to the left of you. There are several small down trees lying on the ground behind this clump.
Taking about 20 big steps, go to that clump of 4 trees. You will find the "Autumn Beauty" letterbox ledged at the base of the tree clump. Congratulations!
To exit the park:
Return to your car and proceed in the same direction you had been driving before. Do not turn around and re-trace your path... this is a one-way road! When you come to the T-intersection, turn left and proceed South on Dragoon Trail. Go about 2 mi. to a T-intersection, and turn left on P Ave. Go about .5 mi. to a final T-intersection at the park entrance, and turn right on 250th St. to make your way home.
Canyon Road is closed at certain times of the year (when there's snow, ice, or high water). You might want to call the Park Office (Ph. 515-432-1852) before embarking on your journey to see if Canyon Road is open. It IS walkable (in fact, I had to walk it when I planted this letterbox), but it will add at least another 30 minutes round-trip to your adventure. It's also a steady incline to hoof up on the way back to your car. If the gates to Canyon Rd. are closed, turn left just before them and park in the parking spots in front of the picnic shelter. Walk back to the gates and follow the directions above on foot.