Whitewater Canyon

Whitewater Creek
Whitewater Creek
Rock Wall With Caves
Spring Beauties
CCC Structure

Lost Canyon Rock Shelter
Lost Creek
Scenic Upland
Ice Formations in Active Cave

This 562 acre wildlife management area of forest, upland, and riparian habitats is located just 5 miles east of Cascade in extreme northeast Jones County. Watch for and follow the familiar brown arrowhead directional signs as you travel east on Hwy 151. 

For Dubuque County Conservation, this area was purchased from Cliff and Jennie Waller through the cooperation of the state and federal agencies, a REAP grant, Habitat Stamp funds, and donations from private citizens/wildlife groups. An additional 140 acre tract from Dick and Arlene Henneberry was purchased by the Jones County Conservation Board and is referred to as Lost Canyon.  (Both Dubuque and Jones County Conservation Departments partner in preserving this wildlife area.)

Appropriately named this unique location features 200 foot cliffs and scenic overlooks in a narrow valley along Whitewater Creek.  It is one of three true canyons in the State of Iowa.

A unique section of Whitewater Canyon, “Lost Canyon”, can be found tucked into the southeastern corner of the Whitewater Canyon Area and will impress anyone with its plethora of caves and concave bedrock walls.  Both Whitewater and Lost Canyon are believed to have formed when an ancient cave system collapsed about 16,000 – 21,000 years ago.   Large pieces of dolomite, some nearly 25 feet in diameter, can be found scattered along the narrow valley floors.  

Native animal and plant life abounds here in this hidden corner of Iowa.   Anyone wishing to “get away” for a bit of solitude can immerse themselves in nature here.  Spring wildflowers paint the forest floor from March thru May while the beauty of the restored upland prairie will astound you from summer thru fall.  Bring your binoculars and check out the array of birds who call this area home.  A winter cross country skiing foray will show you tracks and animal sign of those hardy enough to stay thru the winter.  

Preservation and enhancement of this site’s unique habitats and plant and animal communities are a primary goal of future management.  This site will provide many outdoor opportunities, including serving as an educational area as well as being open to hunting, hiking, fishing, and nature appreciation activities.  It is truly a hidden gem.  Whitewater Canyon


Whitewater Canyon Rules & Regulations



Located 5 miles east of Cascade.  Take Hwy 151 east and turn south onto Curoe Road.  Follow the familiar brown county conservation board arrowhead signs.  Keep traveling south on Curoe Road until it turns to gravel. (Do not follow curve on highway.)  Turn right into the parking lot.


Google Map Whitewater Canyon Wildlife Area

Whitewater Lost Canyon Map

Whitewater Canyon Map #2


This area features a large parking lot, interpretive signage, and hiking trail system.  Scenic overlooks and vistas as well as several caves and rock shelters await to be discovered.  Those willing to work can enjoy hunting and stream fishing.  Winter opportunities include snowshoeing and cross country skiing on ungroomed trails.

Operating Hours & Seasons

Open 4:30 AM - 10:30 PM Daily.


Road access may be closed during and directly following severe winter weather.