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.
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
This is a very large campground with lots of sites and large group camping areas. The bathrooms and shower house are nice and clean.
We went to Prairie Flower for the first time last week and this is by far our favorite campground so far!
The whole campsite was paved and our site (#81) had a beautiful lake view. The whole park was the cleanest we have seen anywhere else. We will absolutely be back!
Thanks to feedback received on The Dyrt Forum, we discovered this campground close to our home. This is one of four CoE campgrounds around Saylorville Lake and likely the most popular, probably due to having direct beach access.
There are two campgrounds at Prairie Flower: North, which has primitive (non-electric) sites, and South, which has more developed sites, all with electric. In the south campground, there are four loops: Aster, Blazingstar, Coneflower, and Dogbane. We stayed in the Coneflower loop, which has a trail leading directly to the beach (a short walk or drive) and there are six sites that have a lake view. The sites are very large, all with concrete pads, with a decent amount of spacing between them. The bathrooms were exceptionally clean; they were cleaned twice daily.
There is something for everyone here and a great campground for families: hiking trails, a sandy beach with a swimming area, and a nice playground, separated into two age-appropriate sections. Note that you must reserve these sites in advance, and it is easier to do so on the app versus the web (some people including me have seen messages saying these sites are not reservable, which is incorrect). The price ($22/$11 with senior pass) is very reasonable.
This was our first camping outing in over four months since the pandemic hit and it was a great re-entry to camping and practically in our backyard!
This campground is a hot spot for Des Moines to escape the weekend - with that said, reservations are a must! Most times you need to Make them six months out. It’s a fairly quiet campground - younger families mixed with older adults. Loops b, c, and mostly d have paved pads. Most spots are level so setting up is a breeze. Bathroom facilities are always clean and updated. Sites do have some space for privacy between them. Now my one complaint - there’s one dump station for a campground that is large is size and popularity. Trying to Leave on a Sunday is a good 1 hour wait …. that’s being generous ! I hate going there knowing that instead of getting to enjoy Sunday - I’ll be busy draining my pooper. :( please - more dump stations
Very friendly people working there! A group of us had a loop and had a great weekend! The only down side of this was the grass was really long so it was bad when taking the dog out in the evenings or mornings. You would come back in with a soaked dog and wet feet. It really needed to be mowed.
The facilities were clean. A huge playground area for the kids! It’s huge and well maintained.
We have used this camp many times and the long grass is my only complaint!
Really nice campground, most of it is reservable and fills up. The little know part is that, while reservable the group camping is on first come basis if group sites are not reserved. The group sites are set up in a circle with a shelter in the middle. The campground has no water connections at sites but in group camping there is a one water connection to fill tanks. On large loops you will need a lot of hose to reach. I think I needed about 80’ some campers will need 100’. There is potable water at dump site. This campground is connected to regional bike trails that will take all the way to Des Moines and suburbs.
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.
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.
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!
Spacious spots. Some are concrete pads. Near a lake. Playgrounds. Very clean shower houses. We are camp here often.