List of Iowa state parks

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Iowa Locator Map.PNG
Map of State Parks of Iowa
Hold cursor over locations to display park name;
click to go to park article.
Green pog.svg State-managed parks; Red pog.svg County-managed parks

This is a list of Iowa state parks and recreation areas. These state parks of the U.S. state of Iowa can be split into two groups based on management. The first group are those state parks managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The second group are those state parks managed by the county in which they are found.

DNR-managed state parks[edit]

Park name County or counties Nearby city Area in acres (ha)[1] Date estab-
lished
[2]
Body of water Remarks[2]
Ambrose A. Call State Park Kossuth County Algona 130 acres (53 ha) 1925 Des Moines River Features heavily wooded hills and a reconstructed log cabin on the site of the first cabin in Kossuth County, built in 1854 by settler Ambrose A. Call.
Backbone State Park Delaware County Strawberry Point 2,000 acres (810 ha) 1919 Maquoketa River, Backbone Lake Features a rock ridge up to 80 feet (24 m) high, a recreational reservoir, and a museum on the Civilian Conservation Corps in Iowa.
Badger Creek State Recreation Area Madison County Van Meter 1,162 acres (470 ha) Badger Creek Lake Features a 276-acre (112 ha) fishing lake outside Des Moines.
Banner Lakes at Summerset State Park Warren County Indianola 222 acres (90 ha) 2002 Banner Lakes Provides fishing and mountain biking opportunities on the site of a rehabilitated open-pit coal mine.
Beed's Lake State Park Franklin County Hampton 319 acres (129 ha)[3] 1934 Beed's Lake Surrounds a 99-acre (40 ha) reservoir crossed by a 170-foot (52 m) causeway built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Bellevue State Park Jackson County Bellevue 770 acres (310 ha)[4] Mississippi River Comprises two units on high river bluffs, with a nature center and butterfly garden.
Big Creek State Park Polk County Polk City 3,550 acres (1,440 ha) Big Creek Lake Surrounds an 866-acre (350 ha) recreational reservoir originally created as a flood control project.
Black Hawk State Park Sac County Lake View 86 acres (35 ha)[5] 1935 Black Hawk Lake Comprises shoreline on the southernmost glacial lake in Iowa.
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area Webster County Lehigh 6,500 acres (2,600 ha)[6] Des Moines River, Brushy Creek Reservoir Forms one of the state's largest public outdoor recreation properties, with a 690-acre (280 ha) reservoir.
Cedar Rock State Park Buchanan County Quasqueton 423 acres (171 ha)[7] 1981 Wapsipinicon River Offers tours of a Frank Lloyd Wright house built in 1950 in his Usonian style.
Clear Lake State Park Cerro Gordo County Clear Lake 55 acres (22 ha) 1924 Clear Lake Abuts the south shore of 3,643-acre (1,474 ha) Clear Lake.
Dolliver Memorial State Park Webster County Lehigh 600 acres (240 ha)[8] 1925 Des Moines River Showcases tall river bluffs and narrow ravines.
Elinor Bedell State Park Dickinson County Spirit Lake 80 acres (32 ha) 1998 East Okoboji Lake Provides public access to one of the Iowa Great Lakes.
Elk Rock State Park Marion County Knoxville 850 acres (340 ha)[9] 1978 Lake Red Rock Comprises two parcels on Iowa's largest body of water.
Emerson Bay State Recreation Area Dickinson County Milford 12 acres (4.9 ha) West Okoboji Lake Provides public access to one of the Iowa Great Lakes.
Fairport State Recreation Area Muscatine County Muscatine 17 acres (6.9 ha)[10] Mississippi River Provides water recreation opportunities 6 miles (9.7 km) from Wildcat Den State Park.
Fort Atkinson State Preserve Winneshiek County Fort Atkinson 5 acres (2.0 ha)[11] 1968 None Interprets the remains of a U.S. Army frontier fort manned from 1840-1849 to monitor the resettled Ho-Chunk tribe.
Fort Defiance State Park Emmet County Estherville 221 acres (89 ha) 1930[12] None Commemorates the site of a fort built to protect the Iowa border during the Dakota War of 1862.
Geode State Park Henry County Danville 1,641 acres (664 ha) Skunk River, Lake Geode Features a 187-acre (76 ha) recreational reservoir and a display of geodes, the Iowa state rock.
George Wyth Memorial State Park Black Hawk County Waterloo 1,200 acres (490 ha) 1940 Cedar River and several lakes Protects a natural area within the Waterloo – Cedar Falls metropolitan area.
Green Valley State Park Union County Creston 990 acres (400 ha)[13] Green Valley Lake Surrounds a 390-acre (160 ha) recreational reservoir.
Gull Point State Park Dickinson County Milford 195 acres (79 ha)[14] 1933 West Okoboji Lake Protects a natural area on one of the Iowa Great Lakes.
Honey Creek State Park Appanoose County Moravia 828 acres (335 ha) Rathbun Lake Provides outdoor recreation opportunities on the north shore of 11,000-acre (4,500 ha) Rathbun Lake.
Honey Creek Resort State Park Appanoose County Moravia 828 acres (335 ha) 2008[15] Rathbun Lake Mixes outdoor recreation with higher-end amenities such as a lodge, luxury cabins, golf course, and indoor water park.
Lacey-Keosauqua State Park Van Buren County Keosauqua 1,653 acres (669 ha) 1921 Des Moines River Protects Indian mounds and a 30-acre (12 ha) lake on a bend of the Des Moines River.
Lake Ahquabi State Park Warren County Indianola 770 acres (310 ha) 1936 Lake Ahquabi Surrounds a 115-acre (47 ha) recreational reservoir named "resting place" in the Fox language.
Lake Anita State Park Cass County Anita 1,062 acres (430 ha) 1961 Lake Anita Surrounds a 171-acre (69 ha) recreational reservoir.
Lake Darling State Park Washington County Brighton 1,387 acres (561 ha) 1950 Lake Darling Honors Ding Darling, two-time Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning winner and early conservationist, with a 171-acre (69 ha) recreational reservoir.
Lake Keomah State Park Mahaska County Oskaloosa 366 acres (148 ha) 1934 Lake Keomah Surrounds an 83-acre (34 ha) recreational reservoir.
Lake Macbride State Park Johnson County Solon 2,810 acres (1,140 ha) 1937 Lake Macbride, Coralville Lake Borders an 812-acre (329 ha) recreational reservoir.
Lake Manawa State Park Pottawattamie County Council Bluffs 1,529 acres (619 ha) Lake Manawa Provides boating opportunities in the Omaha – Council Bluffs metropolitan area on a 772-acre (312 ha) lake created by the Missouri River changing course after the Great Flood of 1881.
Lake of Three Fires State Park Taylor County Bedford 1,155 acres (467 ha)[16] 1935 Lake of Three Fires Surrounds an 85-acre (34 ha) recreational reservoir named for a Council of Three Fires meeting once held there by three Native American tribes.
Lake Wapello State Park Davis County Drakesville 1,150 acres (470 ha) Lake Wapello Surrounds a 289-acre (117 ha) recreational reservoir.
Ledges State Park Boone County Boone 1,200 acres (490 ha)[17] 1924 Des Moines River, Pea's Creek Showcases a 100-foot (30 m) deep sandstone gorge with concretions jutting from its side like ledges.
Lewis and Clark State Park Monona County Onawa 176 acres (71 ha) Blue Lake Commemorates the site where the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped on August 10, 1804; with a replica of their keelboat on a 220-acre (89 ha) oxbow lake.
Lower Gar State Recreation Area Dickinson County Arnolds Park 7 acres (2.8 ha) Lower Gar Lake Provides public access to one of the Iowa Great Lakes.
Maquoketa Caves State Park Jackson County Maquoketa 323 acres (131 ha)[18] 1921 Raccoon Creek Preserves 13 caves, some developed with lighting and walkways and others in a natural state.
Marble Beach State Recreation Area Dickinson County Orleans 64 acres (26 ha) Spirit Lake Provides the largest campground in the Iowa Great Lakes region.
McIntosh Woods State Park Cerro Gordo County Ventura 62 acres (25 ha) 1943 Clear Lake Provides the primary boating access to 3,643-acre (1,474 ha) Clear Lake.
Mines of Spain State Recreation Area and E. B. Lyons Nature Center Dubuque County Dubuque 1,387 acres (561 ha) 1981 Mississippi River Features a monument to Julien Dubuque, the first European settler in Iowa, and recipient of a 1796 land and mining grant from then-owner the Governor of Spain.
Mini-Wakan State Park Dickinson County Spirit Lake 20 acres (8.1 ha) Spirit Lake Lies on the north shore of the state's largest natural lake, in the Iowa Great Lakes region.
Nine Eagles State Park Decatur County Davis City 1,119 acres (453 ha) Nine Eagles Lake Features a 64-acre (26 ha) recreational reservoir and surrounding woods.
Okamanpedan State Park Emmet County Dolliver 19 acres (7.7 ha) Okamanpeedan Lake Provides fishing and boating access on the south shore of a lake on the Iowa – Minnesota border.
Palisades-Kepler State Park Linn County Mt. Vernon 840 acres (340 ha) 1922 Cedar River Features dramatic river bluffs and deep ravines on the site of an early 20th Century resort.
Pikes Peak State Park Clayton County McGregor 970 acres (390 ha) 1935 Mississippi River Features a 500-foot (150 m) river bluff named by Zebulon Pike several years before documenting Pikes Peak in Colorado.
Pikes Point State Park Dickinson County Spirit Lake 15 acres (6.1 ha) West Okoboji Lake Offers one of the most popular swimming beaches in the Iowa Great Lakes region.
Pilot Knob State Park Hancock County Forest City 528 acres (214 ha)[19] 1923 Pilot Knob Lake, Dead Man's Lake Features an observation tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps on Iowa's second-tallest point, and the state's only sphagnum bog.
Pine Lake State Park Hardin County Eldora 585 acres (237 ha) Iowa River, Upper and Lower Pine Lakes Encompasses two lakes surrounded by 250-year old eastern white pines.
Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area Linn County Palo 1,927 acres (780 ha)[20] Pleasant Creek Lake Surrounds a 410-acre (170 ha) recreational reservoir located between the cities of Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.
Prairie Rose State Park Shelby County Harlan 661 acres (267 ha) 1962 Prairie Rose Lake Surrounds a 218-acre (88 ha) recreational reservoir.
Preparation Canyon State Park Monona County Moorhead 344 acres (139 ha) None Preserves a section of the Loess Hills on the site of a town founded in 1853 by a Mormon splinter group led by Charles B. Thompson.
Red Haw State Park Lucas County Chariton 649 acres (263 ha) Red Haw Lake Surrounds a 72-acre (29 ha) recreational reservoir.
Rice Lake State Park Winnebago County Lake Mills 15 acres (6.1 ha) Rice Lake Abuts a 1,200-acre (490 ha) lake.
Rock Creek State Park Jasper County Kellogg 1,697 acres (687 ha)[21] 1952 Rock Creek Lake Surrounds a 602-acre (244 ha) recreational reservoir.
Springbrook State Park Guthrie County Yale 920 acres (370 ha) 1926 Middle Raccoon River Features a conservation education center, a rental retreat, a 17-acre (6.9 ha) lake, and public hunting areas.
Stone State Park Woodbury and Plymouth Counties Sioux City 1,069 acres (433 ha)[22] 1935 Big Sioux River Preserves a natural section of the Loess Hills.
Templar State Recreation Area Dickinson County Spirit Lake 10 acres (4.0 ha) Spirit Lake Provides a sheltered lagoon for launching boats on the Iowa Great Lakes.
Trapper's Bay State Park Dickinson County Lake Park 57 acres (23 ha) Silver Lake Offers additional public recreation space on the periphery of the Iowa Great Lakes region.
Twin Lakes State Park Calhoun County Rockwell City 15 acres (6.1 ha) North Twin Lakes Comprises two day-use areas on a 453-acre (183 ha) natural lake.
Union Grove State Park Tama County Gladbrook 282 acres (114 ha)[23] 1938 Union Grove Lake Surrounds a 110-acre (45 ha) recreational reservoir.
Viking Lake State Park Montgomery County Stanton 1,000 acres (400 ha) Viking Lake Preserves natural areas surrounding a 110-acre (45 ha) recreational reservoir.
Volga River State Recreation Area Fayette County Fayette 5,500 acres (2,200 ha) Volga River, Frog Hollow Lake Provides wildlife habitat and extensive recreation options along a waterway featuring limestone bluffs and old steel bridges.
Walnut Woods State Park Polk County West Des Moines 250 acres (100 ha) Raccoon River Preserves a bottomland hardwood forest within the Des Moines metropolitan area featuring the largest stand of black walnut trees in North America.[24]
Wapsipinicon State Park Jones County Anamosa 390 acres (160 ha) 1923 Wapsipinicon River, Dutch Creek Features rocky cave- and crevice-ridden bluffs, a nine-hole golf course, and an 1877 steel bridge that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Waubonsie State Park Fremont County Sidney 1,247 acres (505 ha)[25] 1926 Lake Virginia Showcases unique Loess Hills topography, with rental facilities restored from a former Girl Scout camp.
Wildcat Den State Park Muscatine County Muscatine 423 acres (171 ha)[26] Pine Creek Features 75-foot (23 m) cliffs, rock formations, and several historic structures, including an 1848 gristmill that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Wilson Island State Recreation Area Harrison County Missouri Valley 547 acres (221 ha) Missouri River Showcases a bottomland hardwood forest on a former sandbar island named after former governor George A. Wilson.

County-managed state parks[edit]

The following state parks are managed by local county conservation boards:[27]

Park Name County or Counties Nearby City
Bobwhite State Park Wayne County Allerton
Cold Springs State Park Cass County Lewis
Crystal Lake State Park Hancock County Crystal Lake
Eagle Lake State Park Hancock County Britt
Echo Valley State Park Fayette County West Union
Frank A. Gotch State Park Humboldt County Dakota City
Heery Woods State Park Butler County Clarksville
Kearny State Park Palo Alto County Emmetsburg
Lake Cornelia State Park Wright County Cornelia
Lake Icaria State Park Adams County Corning
Margo Frankel State Park Polk County Saylorville
Mill Creek State Park O'Brien County Paullina
Oak Grove State Park Sioux County Hawarden
Oakland Mills State Park Henry County Oakland Mills
Pammel State Park Madison County Winterset
Sharon Bluffs State Park Appanoose County Centerville
Spring Lake State Park Greene County Grand Junction
Swan Lake State Park Carroll County Carroll
Three Mile Lake State Park Union County Creston

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Iowa State Parks & Recreation Areas [brochure]". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 
  2. ^ a b All data come from respective Iowa Department of Natural Resources webpage unless otherwise noted.
  3. ^ "Beed's Lake State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  4. ^ "Beed's Lake State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  5. ^ "Black Hawk State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  6. ^ "Brushy Creek State Recreation Area". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  7. ^ "Cedar Rock State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  8. ^ "Dolliver Memorial State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  9. ^ "Elk Rock State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  10. ^ "Fairport State Recreation Area". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  11. ^ "Fort Atkinson State Preserve". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  12. ^ Tidemann, Michael (2008-07-27). "Wittenben tells Kiwanians of Fort Defiance progress". Estherville Daily News. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  13. ^ "Green Valley State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  14. ^ "Gull Point State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  15. ^ Operations Manager, Rathbun Project Office. "Honey Creek Resort State Park". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  16. ^ "Lake of Three Fires State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  17. ^ "Ledges State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  18. ^ "Maquoketa Caves State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  19. ^ "Pilot Knob State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  20. ^ "Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  21. ^ "Rock Creek State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  22. ^ "Stone State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  23. ^ "Union Grove State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  24. ^ "Walnut Woods State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  25. ^ "Waubonsie State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  26. ^ "Wildcat Den State Park". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  27. ^ Iowa Department of Natural Resources (2006). "Iowa State Parks Managed by Other Government Entities". Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 

External links[edit]