As we studied our handy Madison County map—complete with all the standing Bridges of Madison County and John Wayne’s birthplace—we happened to spot Clark Tower, a three-story limestone structure hidden in Winterset City Park.
The tower was built in 1926 in honor of Caleb and Ruth Clark, two early pioneers who settled in Madison County in the 1800s. Visitors may climb to the top of the tower—word of warning for those afraid of heights and/or tall ladders—and the view over the Middle River Valley is incredible, especially in the fall.
If you’re prepared, hiking to Clark Tower would be a fantastic option. Since we weren’t expecting any nature hikes the day we visited, we decided to drive. Another word of caution for drivers: the road up to the tower is extremely narrow and, at times, filled with large potholes, proceed with caution.
Clark Tower, Winterset City Park in Winterset, Iowa