RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Unknown
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Drinking Water
About Prairie Flower Recreation Area

Prairie Flower Recreation Area is located on the 26,000-acre Saylorville Lake Project, which stretches more than 50 miles up the Des Moines River Valley.

The lake provides a wide variety of recreational activities, including boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and hunting.


Visitors enjoy Saylorville Lake for its excellent boating, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing and swimming opportunities. Anglers will find walleye, wiper, largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and northern pike.

The paved Neal Smith Trail winds 24 miles from Des Moines to Big Creek State Park and connects the campgrounds on the east side of the lake. It is designated as a National Recreation Trail and is used for biking, hiking, jogging, walking and in-line skating.


Prairie Flower is a large, open campground covering more than 60 acres. It offers 153 family sites and 10 group sites, all with electric hookups. Many of the family sites in the south end offer a pleasant view of the 6000-acre lake. The north end is made up of mostly group sites in a circle-the-wagon design. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, drinking water and a dump station. The campground also provides educational programs, group shelters, playgrounds and a swimming beach. Nearby amenities include a visitor center, hiking trail, volleyball courts and a disc golf course. Boat ramps and a fishing dock are also close by.

Natural Features

Iowa's prairie heritage is celebrated in more than 40 acres of prairie plantings throughout the campground. The wide variety of grass and flowers provides vivid colors from mid-summer to fall. Wildlife is abundant throughout the project. White-tailed deer, turkeys, waterfowl and other small game animals roam the lands around the lake.

ADA Access: N

$20.00 - $308.00
US Army Corps of Engineers
Drive In
Boat In
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
Firewood Available
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Sanitary Dump
Trash Available
Prairie Flower Recreation Area is located in Iowa
41.7483 N
-93.6875 W
Get Directions
From I-35, take exit 90 to Ankeny/Oralabor Road and go west for 4.8 miles. The road turns into Highway 415, continue and follow signs to the campground.
7 Reviews of Prairie Flower Recreation Area
Prairie Flower Campground

It is a COE campground. We stayed in site A25. Not all loops are paved. A is not. But the site was pretty level, wasn't too much trouble to get our trailer backed in and leveled. No water hook ups, so fill up after you get in the campground before you park. Lots of prairie area around, spacious sites. Varying levels of shade. A25, had a good amount of shade and was near the nice playground and nice bathrooms. No view of the lake from loop A. Nearby bike paths. A few minutes to restaurants.

A lovely COE campground with wide level spaces

The individual sites are quite spacious. They are paved and level and can accommodate large rigs. We have never looked for a pull-through site, we back in with our 37' Allegro Bus, so I cannot comment on them. There are several group camping loops that can accommodate small and large groups of campers. The campground, including showers and restrooms, is clean and well-maintained. There are beautiful views of the lake in the Cornflower loop. There are playgrounds for the children and plenty of space for them to run and play. Saylorville Reservoir has a marina, with a restaurant/bar. We have to keep our motorhome in storage, so we use Prairie Flower campground as our staging area when we get ready for an away trip. We can get in an out with food and whatever else we need to take with us, and we can utilize the dump station before leaving. We also like to go camping there mid-week and enjoy the quiet time.

Fantastic Space and View!

This quickly became one of our favorite close to home spots. Sites are large and there is plenty of space between sites. We had a concrete pad with a picnic table and fire pit with grill grate. Most are back in sites, but once settled we had a gorgeous view of the lake and sunsets. Restrooms were clean and dump stations were easily accessible. This is now our go to spot when we want to camp but stay close to home!

Large, beautiful campground

Spacious spots. Some are concrete pads. Near a lake. Playgrounds. Very clean shower houses. We are camp here often.

Round about campsite

We were sent to this campground b/c our reservation for bob shetler campground was cancelled b/c of flooding. We were told @ the gate we had to pay since it was a different campground & would be reimbursed for our reservation. Thinking we would be in a "campsite" we were told to pull in behind last camper & park were there was a spot. We pulled into a round about that you just parked on the side of the road with no privacy & no room for any vehicles to go around with our camper slides out. I have never in my life see a campsite like this. The RV that pulled behind us parked so close we could not open our garage door. Im trying to post a video but the add button on this site does nothing.

Prairie Flower is huge with a lot of amenities

Prairie Flower is run by the Army Corps of Engineers. It is huge! There are so many campsites that when it is full it can become a maze. It is clean and well maintained with lots to do at Saylorville Lake. There are several Recreation areas nearby that don't allow camping, making Prairie Flower a perfect place to stay. By the way, the campground is full of wild flowers, thus the name Prairie Flower.

First to Review
Quick and easy

The Prarie Flower campground at Saylorville Lake is an open, flat grassy campground near wooded trails around the US Army Corps of Engineers land. The campground itself is easy, in & out, with great & plentiful restrooms. The proximity to the trail system is what makes this friendly to cyclists. The trail can take you to the marina, where there is a burger shack style restaurant.