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Afton, IOWA
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Excellent

This is a beautiful state park with a very nicely laid-out campground. We always enjoy our visits to Red Haw.

Sites Available in December

Full service flat sites!!

First to Review
Clean, big-rig friendly membership campground. Easy access to I-35/80.

Offers cabins, fishing pond, lots of weekend activities. Amenities include store, snack bar, indoor and outdoor pool, laundry, catch-and-release fishing pond, mini golf, and more.

Solid County Park with large sites and great hiking in the woods.

This is an update from my previous post now with pics and a little snow. This campground is a little off of the beaten path but it is quiet and has great hiking trails. It is also known locally for its effigy mounds where native american artifact were buried.

This is a great place if you like peace and quiet and local hiking trails.

5 mile Hike around the lake

This is a great State Park and a great campground. There are a lot of great trees to hang a hammock and if you have a camper or an RV there are great places to pull into. Most people think of the lake and they think of the canoeing and the swimming. Don't forget the great trails for hiking and some practice for backpacking around the lake. It is a good five mile loop and a ton of fun.

I also had a nice meal of Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef, Fresh Strawberries and Yogurt and some hot cocoa to top things off.

Peaceful and relaxing

Well over a year ago a major storm ripped through Windmill and uprooted trees, destroyed campers and the park was looking pretty bad. BUT things are changing… for the better

The playground equipment is being replaced and all the trash and damaged trees are gone.

Windmill is lacking in modern amenities but it makes up for it with beautiful views. There are electric hook ups at all sites and the sites are easy to get into. However there is is not a direct water hook up at every site. The rest rooms are also very lacking… it is pretty much a hole in the ground. There are no showers either.

There are some shelter houses away from the campgrounds as well. The playground equipment is being replaced so I am hopeful it will be nice for the kids. It is close enough to the campgrounds to feel safe letting kids play there and honestly if you have the right spot you can see them the entire time.

The lake is the main feature here- there is a boat ramp and some pretty good fishing. You see small boats and kayaks out on the lake often. The lake isn't made for swimming but I have seen some kids who "fell in" and i don't think it was an accident.

The closest town with a grocery store is Bedford- about 10 -15 minutes away.

Quiet... lots of shade... not a bad getaway.

To be perfectly honest we camp at Nodaway often- but that because of its location - close to work and such. However there are limited activities at Nodaway.

The camp sites are nice and large- easy to get into and each one had its own water and electric. There are 11 on what we call the upper circle and 4 on the lower circle. The bath house is located at the far end so if you are on the lower circle or at the end it can be a walk. It isn't fancy by any means- a single sink, toilet, and shower in the same room- one for each sex. It gets the job done- but it is no frills. There is a dump station centrally located that you can easily pull up to on your way out.

The park is big- lots of trails for hiking and horses. They are usually very well maintained- they keep them mowed in nice wide paths and the trails range from nice and flat to a bit more steep.

There is a little pond but there are no fish in it and it could use some work- lots of moss and such.

There are several different picnic areas and a second bathroom away from the campgrounds. The playground is outdated but there is a large area where kids can play soccer or tag and while the equipment is old it is not in bad shape.

There is a beautiful look out area (away from the camprounds) that looks over Clarinda and is very nice to watch the annual 4th of July fireworks from the Clarinda A's baseball team.

We love Nodaway not because of the amenities but because we can all get together and be close to work/school/home. Camping here does require some yard games and activities for entertainment- but you are just a couple minutes from the store if you forget something!

So much to do! So much to see! Lake of 3 Fires has something for everyone!

There is a legend about how the Lake of 3 Fires got its name. The legend says that the “Fire Nation”, which was a local Pottawatomi tribe, lived in the area around Southwest Iowa. Later 2 other tribes decided to join the “Fire Nation” and the 3 became known as “Three Fires”. The Tribes burned 3 fires atop hills to signify that as long as the 3 fires were burning the tribes were together. Now on the spot where the fires burned, is said to be the Iowa State Park “Lake of 3 Fires”

Located in Southwest Iowa just north of the county seat of Bedford Iowa, is a little hidden treasure for outdoor enthusiasts and campers. When looking for a campground everyone has an opinion on what amenities and activities they want- fishing, hiking, boating, and horseback riding are some of the more popular choices and the Lake of Three Fires has all these and more. The actual lake is only 85 acres but has excellent fishing and is surrounded by 691 acres of beautiful trees with hiking and equestrian trails, fishing jetties and a sandy beach.

For those who are planning more than a day trip to the Lake of 3 Fires there are several options available. Located only a very short walk from the Lake are two modern campgrounds nestled in trees. There are over 100 site options for campers. For the RV or trailer enthusiasts there are 24 standard electric sites and 63 non-electric sites, plus 3 buddy sites. In addition, there are 23 equestrian sites (some electrical) and 1 equestrian buddy site along with plenty of holding stalls and tie outs for horses. They are located just east of the main camping grounds but still close enough to walk down to the lake. There are nice clean restroom and shower facilities, children’s play areas and a trailer dump station. Some of the campsites have also been made handicap accessible.

For those families who don’t have a camper or RV but want to experience camping at the Lake of 3 fires there are 6 family cabins which can accommodate 4- 6 people. They are heated and cooled with the basic essentials- stove, microwave and refrigerator. There are also open shelters and a youth group area that offer a place to rent for large group gatherings. There are picnic areas available that are first come first serve. There are plenty of tables and grills if you are just making a day trip but camping is the way to go at the Lake of 3 Fires so you have time to experience everything.

Many of the camp sites, cabins and shelters are available to reserve online at the Department of Natural Resources website- however there are some that are first come first serve. It is very convenient and easy to reserve your spot online. Highly recommended if you plan on traveling any distance- a guaranteed spot of your choice is worth the few minutes it takes to go online and reserve. You can even look at a map of the campsites and pick where you want your site to be. You can see not only where your site will be but it tells you the electrical voltage, the length and other important information about the site you are choosing.

The camp sites are kept clean, well maintained and are big enough you don’t feel like you are right on top of your neighbor. The bathhouses are centrally located in the campground and offer clean bathroom and shower facilities for campers.

Once you have your camper set and are ready to enjoy your weekend it will be hard to decide where to start. The Lake itself offers many activities. There are 2 boat ramps if you want to go out on the ‘no wake” lake. There are plenty of fish to be caught including bluegill, largemouth bass and channel catfish. If you don’t have a license to fish you can run into town and pick one up at the courthouse or the Bedford Country Store located right on Hwy 2, very easy to find! There is a dock where you can fish and it also has a cleaning station also available. There are several fishing jetties where you can take a chair and set up to find the perfect spot. From your spot on the lake you might catch a glimpse of some people enjoying a beautiful day on the lake on their canoes or kayaks.

For the hunters, there is a 220 acre public hunting ground to the north and 160 acres to the south. You would of course want to check with the DNR for hunting and gaming regulations.

Not into hunting and fishing? Prefer something a bit more relaxing? Well head down to the beach area which is just a short walk from the camp grounds. There you find a small but very nice beach area for swimming. Not in the mood to swim? Then grab some friends for a game of sand volleyball or perhaps pitch horseshoes. The beach area is perfect place to relax with a good book or play some games with friends. The best part is to get there from the campgrounds you take a beautiful short scenic walk.

Perhaps one of the best parts about the Lake of 3 Fires is the 10 miles of trails the intertwine around the entire Lake. There are some specific trails for hiking but some others that offer horseback riders an amazing view of the lake. The great thing about the trails is how they snake around each other- you could discover a new path every time you go. The trials are nicely marked with “you are here “maps so you don’t get lost. There are beautiful views of the Lake from the far side where you can see clear across to the campgrounds. In the winter after a good snow, they say snow mobiles can also use the trails.

Bedford is only a few miles away so you can run into the local Hy-Vee for Groceries or stop by Dollar General if you forgot something. There are 2 gas stations in town as well that both have pizza, drinks and snacks if you need to stock up.

Getting to the Lake of 3 Fires isn’t hard at all From Bedford just go east out of town for about 1/2 mile on Hwy 2. Then turn north on Lake Road, keep going for about 3 miles and Lake of Three Fires is located on the west side. The roads are a bit windy but everything is paved including the main roads of the park. For a short weekend getaway of a weeklong camping adventure, the Lake of 3 Fires has plenty to offer everyone in your camping group.

Nice, clean campground

Campsite was pretty packed on a Saturday night in late September. We didn't have a reservation but was able to get one of the last tent sites available. Nice spot, fire pits have nice swinging grates on them. There was a picnic table at our spot as well. Great view of the lake from here. We were in Campsite 092. Only drawback is that there must be a cow farm somewhere to the south as you will hear cows mooing all night at this campground.

Great little campground by a lake

Great spot by a small lake in Stephen's State Forest. Didn't have a soul around us for the night we camped here (late September). Temps were around 43 degrees at night. Fire pits have nice swinging grates on them. There was a picnic table at each spot as well. We were in Campsite 007. Would have given 5 stars but you will hear train horns blowing all night at this location.

Great Quiet Free Campground

We stayed two night at this campground. Arrived late and just filled out the registration form. They have fire pits and picnic tables. They also have two clean pit toilets. You can stay 14 days free I think. Quiet and had the place to ourselves. Maintained and they had patrol checking through at night. Highly recommend it.

Indian Mounds and hiking trails at Hickory Hills

This is a great little park just east of New Virginia, Iowa. I went to the park with my son and Boy Scout Troop for a night hike, that is why there are no pictures. This is a great little park. The hiking trails are pretty easy going through the forest and then opening up next to old Native American burial mounds. This is really a great place to pitch a tent. It is clean and well maintained.

First to Review
Great Park, not a great campground

I drive by East Lake on my way to church every Sunday. It is a great park with pavillion's, a lake, basketball, volleyball, horseshoe pits, playground equipment, etc.

There just isn't much for camping. It is very limited. There is not a shower house either. This paek really is to serve the residents of Osceola, Iowa to enjoy daytime activities.

Lenon Mill is right next to Lake Panorama

This County Park is located right on the edge of Lake Panorama, a great town North West of Des Moines, Iowa. It is surrounded by amenities, so if you forget something you can drive five minutes into town to replace anything you forgot at home.

This is not a place to rough it, but if you have a family and want an outdoors experience close to amenities, this is the place for you. The campground is very clean and it is right next to a river.

Nations Bridge is a nice park

Nations Bridge County Park was clean with great trees and hiking trails as well as open spaces for frisbee golf and picnics It is a great campground if you have an RV or camper or just a tent.

Plenty of things to keep your family busy. If you are in a Scout Troop or have a youth group there is a large campsite away from the other campers that allows everyone to have fun without disturbing each other. This is a great campground and is just north of the city of Stuart right off of interstate 80.

Primitive County Conservation Sites

Nice quite sites along the Raccoon River. Has hiking, fishing, hunting, paddling, wildlife, small Bear Creek nature center, open daily 1/2 hr before sunrise to 10:30 pm, Has upper and lower (adjacent to Raccoon River) campground sites.

Serene and scenic Green Valley State Park

A small friendly campground on a lake.

Fish, boat, hike or bike.

Sit by a campfire or visit with your neighbor.

This is the place to be!

First to Review
Railroad tracks are biggest problem, otherwise a nice campground

This is a small city park, great for a weekend stop or a traveler passing by on Interstate 80. This camp is just about five minutes off of the interstate. It is clean and well taken care of. The biggest downside is that the camp is right next to the railroad tracks, so if you have small kids or are a light sleeper you may want to keep that in mind before staying here. If you are a traveler, don't worry, Adair City Park and Casey City Campground are very close and a comparable alternative.

Small City Park

This campground is right off the interstate in the small town of Casey Iowa. This is a small town. There is a little diner and a few businesses, but if you camp here make sure you have not forgotten anything important at home.

The campground is clean and perfect for someone with a camper or an RV.

Look for the Yellow Smiley Face Water Tower

This is a small campground in a small town right of interstate 80 in central Iowa. This is a great weekend spot for locals or an overnight spot for a weary traveler on their way through Iowa. This is ideal for a camper of fifth wheel. Not necessarily where I would want to camp with a tent.

You are real close to a Kum & Go and Caseys General Store if you forgot some of your supplies at home. The campground is really clean.

Nice Place

I have tent camped at Lake Ahquabi Campground several times. There are some great spots down by the lake that are perfect for tent camping. There is quite a bit to do in this State Park. There are a few trails, there is plenty of fishing, a swimming beach, and they have water sport rentals! The area is very pretty and peaceful. I would recommend for campers with kids and without. There are showers and plenty of bathrooms.

Love this park

Great fishing and swim up beach

Small and personal

This is a small campground just off interstate 80. Smaller and quaint. Has a swimming pool and playground. Basketball court and a community hall. It's a great place. Doesnt have the overcrowded, large campground feel to it.

Great local campground

We have been going to Viking lake for years. We hadn't been back until just recently. Our absence was due to an invasive species in the lake a few years back. They had drained the lake to kill off the species and then restock. We figured that things would be back to normal by now, but we had no luck. My family fished all weekend and didn't catch anything to keep. It didn't look like campers around us had any better luck.

Despite the poor fishing, I love this campground. Our campsite had great shade from the trees and was right next to an inlet from the lake. We had a great spot to place our kayak in right by our campsite. The lake is large with plenty of areas with downed trees for prime fishing. It is a no wake lake, so it is perfect for small boats and kayaks.

The trails are varied and long. It had changed since the last time we had camped and they had closed off some bisecting trails to shorten your hike. There are "posted" maps along the trail, but nothing detailed or portable to take with you.

They have a great horseshoe pit and happened to have a tournament one of the days we camped that my family was able to join. They also have a great sandy beach area for swimming. We were a little disappointed that the convenient store/ restaurant was closed. We remember how they used to rent out boats which was extremely nice when we were younger and couldn't afford one of our own. Instead, they have a little shop in the camping area that the camp hosts open various hours of the day. It is super cute, but very small, so it does not have everything you might need. It is close to a town, so not too far off if you forgot something.

Great campground for an active family

This is one of our favorite campgrounds in Iowa. It has a good sized lake for fishing and kayaking, but not to big for large speed boats. It has miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. It has a great frisbee golf course that my boys loved playing. The beach sandy and clean for a refreshing dip on a hot afternoon.

We love this campground for the large trees and shade they provide in the summer. Our only complaint is the lack of weather warning system in the area. The park rangers came around to warn campers of possible severe storms coming through the area, but if a tornado warning happened, we would have no notification.

Great Stargazing, Campsites Cramped

Stayed there a few different weekends during the summer. It is easily accessible from Indianola and the best parts of the park are the well-kept trails and stargazing! Unfortunately, we felt like we were literally on top of surrounding campers. The campsites are all extremely packed in together, so you can really feel a part of other people's conversations and activities. However, if you're able to catch Lake Ahquabi on a good weekend when it isn't crowded, then it is amazing!

Lots of great fishing and canoe/paddle board rentals available too! We take our canoe there often and there is an awesome access point from the campgrounds with tons of shade, so if you have a one-seater (like us) the partner can wait in the shade.

Clean, spacious and friendly

We stayed at the West Des Moines KOA for the Nationals Softball Tournament for my daughter in July. There were 6 families that stayed there with us. It was so much fun because we were able to all be either on buddy sites together and one had a patio site. The pool was refreshing for the girls and all of the activities kept them busy and having fun! All while being close to the city but the beauty of the country!!!

Nice area overall

The campground is a nice area. Campsites are not very secluded. They have some nice hiking trails through the woods and along the river. I was hoping the trails would be longer but they are still nice. Dogs are welcome, but they must be on a leash. If I remember correctly they had a nice outdoor bird viewing building. They also have some nice picnic areas through out the park as well.

I love this place!

This is one of my favorite places to go! They have a beautiful lake and a beach. The water has minimal seaweed and great temperature! They have rentals for paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, etc, for a decent price! The hiking trails are really nice. If your up for it there is a hike that loops are the entire lake making it about 6-7 miles long. It's a pretty easy hike, but definitely long. Dogs are welcome on a leash (but not on the beach). The campsites are no as secluded as I would like but the overall state park is awesome!

Nice

Clean, small