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We are so thankful we found this park. Most occupants are simi-annual residents, but there are still several nice, quiet, shady spots to be found. Everyone is friendly. There are 2 clean but dated bathhouses available. It’s the most reasonably priced campsite that we have found so far.
I’ve camped here several times at the primitive sites. It’s a decent hike in but once you get there, the view of the lake is worth it. It’s just a nice, peaceful place to camp. I’ve always been able to find a campsite since it is first come first serve. The host is very friendly and seems like he’s been the host there for years. They have canoes to rent and you’re bound to see cranes and ducks along the way. Just be weary of the geese by the reservoir because they can be moody! My boyfriend and I try to go at least once a year because we just love it there.
Little Bear Campground is located right off I-80 at the West Liberty exit. It is right next to a trailer park. There are a few tent sites ($22/ night)and Rv sites($33/night). We pulled in late to stay the night. It had full hook ups with a fire ring and picnic table. The spot was good sized and clean. There is an office/ gift shop and a convent store within walking distance. There is 2 cute little cabins which run $49 a night. There is a pool(closed for season), and a playground for kids. I was surprised that the interstate noise was much quieter than I thought it would be. All and all it was a pleasant place to stop over.
They don’t take reservations but while it is usually full you can still get a spot.
Wildcat Den State Park is somewhat of an unknown gem. Surrounded by cornfields, rolling hills and the Mississippi River, this park is tucked neatly away in Southeast Iowa. We've been here in all four seasons and each one provides a different landscape.
The park offers non-electrical campsites with pit toilets located in the campground area. A portion of the sites are available on a first come first serve basis. The remaining sites have to be reserved. Each campsite has a fire pit and picnic table. There is well water available. There is also a large shelter across the road from the campground area. The bottom portion of the park, where the Pine Creek Grist Mill is located has modern restroom facilities as well as another shelter.
Hiking the Wildcat Den Trail Loop is a must. Looming sandstone cliffs, tall pines, and rock formations are all part of the park's landscape. This is also a great place to view spring wildflowers. There's several spots of interest you'll want to be sure to take in while there, including the Devil's Punch Bowl, Steamboat Rock, The Pine Creek Grist Mill built in the 1800's, the Melpine School, and most recently, a renovated log cabin. The Mill offers tours during the warmer months and it's worth the time to take the tour.
While the trails at the Den are very scenic, they're not well-marked. This is perhaps the only downside of the park. The park is dog-friendly, but they must be on leash at all times.
This is one of my favorite "hidden" parks in Iowa.