Millions of years before the plains of Iowa were inhabited by the Sauk, Fox and Sioux peoples, much of the American Midwest was covered by a shallow inland sea. It was at this time that the area’s sandstone deposits began forming. Fast-forward to just 13,000 years ago, with the inland sea now long gone, Ice Age glacial meltwater raced across the dry plains, carving and scouring channels and canyons into the sandstone terrain. One of these canyons can be found in Iowa’s Ledges State Park. This 1,000-acre nature preserve and recreation area is located on a wide bend on the Des Moines River, and is just 40 miles north of the city of Des Moines. The park is subject to frequent flooding when the river breaches its banks, but is otherwise a popular year-round outdoor recreation destination. Visitors to Ledges can enjoy a variety of hiking, fishing and paddling opportunities, as well as explore a prehistoric river canyon that showcases nature’s ability to sculpt the landscape.
The campground at Ledges State Park features 94 tent and RV sites situated among deciduous woods not far from the Des Moines River. Campers can choose from full-hookup, partial-hookup, or primitive tent sites. Most sites are back-in; only a few are pull-through for larger vehicles. Tent sites are located in both in the main camp area, and in a secluded walk-in area. There is also a youth group site. All sites are equipped with picnic tables, fire pits and cooking grills, and all have access to water faucets, flush restrooms, showers, and trash receptacles; a dump station is located near the campground entrance. The campground also features a kids’ playground, outdoor amphitheater, and is within walking distance of trails and picnic areas. Some roads and/or facilities may not be open or available in the winter. Reservations are accepted, however the park saves about half of the sites for first-come, first-served campers; sites are $11–$19/night.
One of the best in the state!
The park is well maintained, clean bathrooms and showers in camping area.
Very nice trails. The campsite, we have a RV, was very clean, and like many other parks, we were not right on top of each other. They have water and sewer hook up at the site.
The views are beautiful of the sand ledges. Definetly plan on returning.
Growing up in Iowa maybe 50 miles from the Ledges was one the the best things for me. Campground is clean and well kept with both electric and primitive with a few hike in spots. It is a beautiful park with some good trails and a creek running through the bottoms of the "canyon". Loved going all the time when I was a kid and now 30 years later I have taken my family there several times making the drive from Kentucky just for some relaxation time.
We had a great time camping here with several family members. The trails were very nice and scenic for the little amount of work to hike them. The Des Moines river passes right through here and I’d love to make a float trip out of it some day.
Excellent hiking trails!
Nice place. Family has camped here a few times. Had immense fun playing in the river as a kid. Enjoyed the hikes too.
Ledges State Park is one of the most visited parks in Iowa. I loved coming to this park as a kid and I can't wait for it to re-open. It has been closed since January 2018, but it scheduled to re-open in January of 2019. Here is a link to a local story explaining the closure and flooding and the schedule to re-open the park.
Stayed at this campground for my college visit to ISU and I nearly went to the university just because I wanted to be here at this park every weekend.
The views around the park are some of the very best in Iowa. Hiking trails often found you coming face to face with deer who look at you inquisitively. Fun for family as the waters over the roadways are a splash for adults and children alike. It's a hidden gem, just outside Boone Iowa.
This park offers wonderful hiking trails and easy access to campsites, water play, and restroom facilities. Great place to camp for individuals and groups. I went in the fall with a church group and absolutely loved hiking among the colorful foliage!