Hawkeye Point
And there it is folks, the highest point in Iowa

In the exciting journey of conquering the 50 state high points, I've reached a thrilling juncture where luck and special trips are essential to check off the final destinations. As fate would have it, Hawkeye Point of Iowa became my 45th conquest, leaving only Alaska, Hawaii, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Montana to go. Luckily, amidst a family gathering in Minneapolis, a golden opportunity presented itself. Imagine my delight when I discovered that the goal was merely a three-hour drive away from our accommodation. With a mixture of gracious blessings and accompanying eye rolls, I managed to secure permission to dedicate a day to conquering the illustrious Iowa high point.

Background and Directions

For navigating to this highpoint, Google Maps will be your best companion. It's more of a roadside oddity than a popular destination, except for dedicated peakbaggers. If you're coming from abroad, the closest international airport is Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP). The closest general airport is Des Moines International (DSM). However, if you're specifically a peakbagger flying in, MSP is the better choice. From there, it's a scenic 3-hour drive through the countryside of southern Minnesota. There's a handful of picturesque state parks along the way. If you happen to be on a cross-country road trip via I-90, it's only about 20 minutes south of the Worthington, Minnesota exit.

Hawkeye Point
One of the many markers on Hawkeye Point
Hawkeye Point campground
The campground is nice enough.

The highpoint is near Sibley, Iowa, less than 3 miles south of the Minnesota-Iowa state line. It's situated on county-owned land and is open to the public free of charge. It's open all year and hours. There's also a nearby campsite with rustic accommodations, including a showerhouse, RV sites, and flush toilets.

Interestingly, the true highpoint of Iowa, known as Hawkeye Point, was "discovered" in 1971. Previously, people mistakenly believed nearby Ocheyedan Mound, reaching a height of 1,655 feet, held the title. Despite Ocheyedan Mound better resebling a "mountain", the USGS determined that Hawkeye Point, standing just 15 feet taller, deserved recognition as Iowa's highest natural point.

"Ascending" Hawkeye Point

From Iowa State Highway 60, a short 0.2-mile drive (or walk) on a well-maintained gravel road leads you to the high point. The road practically ends right at the spot, requiring just a 40-foot walk. Without the marker, the high point would blend seamlessly with the rolling farmlands surrounding it. Nevertheless, it's a charming location. At the true high point, there's an Iowan mosaic and signs pointing to the other 49 high points. Close by, there's a grain silo with a lookout offering a more expansive view of the picturesque scenery. The small patch of trees had many birds and I'm fairly confident I heard the song of an American Goldfinch, Iowa's state bird. Additionally, there's a well-preserved barn and a collection of farming machinery spanning a century, which are open for viewing. It exudes quaint and distinct Iowan charm.

Hawkeye Point - Highpoint of Iowa
Yours truly claiming highpoint #45, Hawkeye Point
Hawkeye Point
The sign for the highpoint
Signs with directions and distances to other US state high points
Hawkeye Point farm
Despite popular perceptions, the high point of Iowa is NOT in a cornfield (it's in a soybean field)
People started leaving license plates at the summit over time.
Antique farming equipment displayed near the summit

I enjoyed exploring the summit area for approximately 40 minutes. It's a delightful place that certainly warrants a visit.

While I was in the vicinity, I couldn't resist checking out the Ocheyedan Mound, the "former"Iowa highpoint. It was just a short 20-minute drive away, followed by a pleasant half-mile hike up a hill. Additionally, I took the opportunity to soak in the beauty of the Spirit Lake area, affectionately referred to as the "Great Lakes of Iowa". I'm already planning my next visit, and a kayak will definitely be on my packing list.