Iowa State Outdoors

Iowa State collage of images.

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State Parks
Camping and Hiking
Hunting and Fishing
Other Outdoor activities

Iowa State Parks

Ambrose A. Call State Park
Is a 138 acres of rugged hills heavily wooded with virgin timber in an area of gently rolling farmland. Activities: picnicking, 16 camp sites (13 sites have electrical hookups), modern vault rest room is located in the campground, two miles of trails, cross-country ski trail is available in the winter. For information call: (515)295-3669


Backbone State Park
It is Iowa's first state park and is known for its narrow and steep ridge of bedrock carved by a loop of the Maquoketa River. Backbone consists of 1,780 acres and serves as a valuable refuge for a variety of wildlife including deer, raccoon, fox, turkeys, ruffed grouse and many species of songbirds. Activities: South Lake Campground contains 77 non-electric sites, 23 electric sites, 2 shower buildings, a playground and a dump station. Six Pine Campground, near the west entrance of the park, contains 27 non-electric sites and provides pit latrines. Cabins are available for rent. Picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing, 21 miles of hiking and multi-use trails, climbing and rappelling, and bicycling. For information call: (319)924-2527


Beed's Lake State Park
It provides more than one-third of a mile of great shoreline fishing as well as a convenient pathway for hikers and joggers. Another focal point of the park is the unusual 170 foot-long spillway with horizontal layers of limestone dropping abruptly 40 feet. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Activities: picnicking, swimming, fishing, boating, camping and trails. For information call: (515)456-2047


Fort Defiance State Park
This park consists of 191 acres . Activities: picnicking, trails, cross-country skiing during winter months, 16 campsites (non-modern sites), eight sites have electrical hookups. For information call: (712)337-3211


Pikes Peak State Park
It is the highest bluff on the Mississippi River. Activities: picnicking, 77 campsites with 60 electrical sites, modern shower and restroom facilities and a trailer dump station, hiking and bicycling. For information call: (319)873-2341


Camping and Hiking in Iowa

Arrowhead Park (Neola, IA)
Arrowhead Park is an ideal spot for a family get-a-way. This park features a 17 acre fishing lake filled with Bluegill, Bass, and Catfish and visitors are invited to fish from shore, off the equal access fishing dock, or from your own boat. Extend your visit to Arrowhead and stay in one of our modern camping cabins. Tent camping is also allowed throughout the park. Arrowhead also features canoe and paddleboat rentals, a new playground area, basketball and volleyball courts, woodland hiking trails, equestrian trails and wildlife viewing. For information call: (712)485-2295


Botna Bend Park (Hancock, IA)
Botna Bend Park is a favorite for campers who enjoy a small town atmosphere. Park visitors can enjoy the new playground area, basketball and volleyball courts, spacious RV and tent camping spots and hiking trails that wind along the Nishnabotna River. While at Botna Bend, anglers commonly catch Flathead Catfish, Carp, Bluegill, Gar and Walleye. Bison and elk herds reside in the parks pasture areas and provide visitors with the opportunity to observe these magnificent animals up close and personal. The park also offers two relaxing journeys along the Nishnabotna River. For information call: (712)741-5465


Elk Rock State Park
Elk Rock provides a fine setting for camping. A modern shower building and trailer dumping station are available. The camping area contains 3 circles with 9 non-electrical sites. Electrical hookups are available at 12 additional sites. The equestrian campground features 51 sites, 23 with electrical hookups. A modern shower building, horsestalls, hitch rails and riding arena are available. For information call: (515)842-6008


Gull Point State Park
The campground is well shaded and features paved roads, playground equipment, modern restroom and shower facilities, as well as a sanitary dump station. There are a total of 112 campsites, 60 with electrical hookups. The western portion of Gull Point State Park contains a 1.3 mile self-guided interpretative trail. For information call: (712)337-3211


Hitchcock Nature Center (Honey Creek, IA)
This 1,003 acre preserve is located in the heart of the globally significant Loess Hills and harbors some of the largest remaining prairie remnants in the state. At Hitchcock, visitors can enjoy many low-impact recreation opportunities. Visitors can explore the Loess Hills via a network of 10 miles of trails, stay overnight at the backpack campsites, rustic cabins or modern tent and RV campground, test their birding skills at our nationally recognized Hitchcock HawkWatch, attend seasonal recreation programs, climb our 50' observation tower and visit our new Loess Hills Lodge facility. This facility will feature exciting new permanent Loess Hills exhibits and a children's play area. For information call: (712)545-3283


Lake Manawa State Park
The campground provides space for 73 camping units, 37 campsites are equipped with electric hookups. Modern shower and rest room facilities are available and a trailer dump station. For information call: (712)366-0220


Maquoketa Caves State Park
The campground contains 28 campsites and 18 have electricity, with a modern shower facility. Hikers can enjoy the scenery along the 6 miles of trails. In the western area of the trail, hikers will go past a restored prairie, an experimental oak savanna restoration and a wildlife food plot. For information call: (319)652-5833


Waubonsie State Park
There are 55 campsites, 20 with electrical hookups, modern shower and rest room facilities and a trailer dump station. The equestrian campground contains 32 campsites and non-modern rest room facilities. There are 7 miles of foot trails and 8 miles of equestrian trails. For information call: (712)382-2786


Hunting and Fishing in Iowa

Casey Lake
Fishing is good for 8 to 9 inch bluegills on small worms, flies or wax worms fished around structure. Channel catfish fishing is excellent using worms, liver and stink baits. One angler caught a 14-pound fish over the holiday weekend. Anglers are catching a few largemouth bass on crankbaits in the early morning and evening hours. For information call:


Lake Hendricks
Bluegills are biting in 6 to 8 feet of water on jigs tipped with a nightcrawler. Anglers are having the most luck in cooler evening hours. For information see: (800)285-5842


Lake Delhi
Crappie fishing is good in deeper holes on minnows or small twister tails. Fishing at Volga Lake (Fayette) is slow but starting to pick up. For information see: (800)285-5842


Turkey and Upper Iowa Rivers
Smallmouth bass fishing is good on black twister tails during late evening or early morning hours. On the Volga River (Fayette), smallmouth fishing is fair to good on a variety of lures. Anglers on the Maquoketa River (Delaware) are catching channel catfish on cheese baits. For information see: (800)285-5842


Public Hunting Areas
The boundaries of DNR wildlife areas are posted every 1/8 mile with green and white "Public Hunting Area" signs. These areas provide all users equal access to public lands, but include few, if any, public use facilities such as rest rooms, drinking water, hiking trails and other conveniences. For information see: (800)285-5842


Other Iowa Outdoor activities

Iowa also offers the following outdoor activities:
  • Climbing
  • Rappelling
  • Golfing
  • Swimming
  • Boating
  • Horseback Riding
  • Cross-country Skiing