The campground is split into two parts. One part is mostly shaded and the other isn't. Thankfully, we camped in the part that was mostly shaded. The trees provided enough shade, and the evenings were cool enough to keep our camper comfortable at night. The campground hosts were welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable of the park and the area. I would give the park 5 stars, but feel the restroom/shower facilities were small for that many campsites. (I would probably go with a 4.5 if it was available). The park itself is pretty good sized and offers water activities (Middle River and the Pammel Loop) and hiking. We didn't hike this trip, but trails looked to be pretty nice. We did kayak the loop one day-it took about an hour for the 1.9-mile loop and water levels were pretty low. It's pretty easy/convenient as far as letting in and taking out. There is quite a bit to do in the area if you allow time and it's a really beautiful part of the state if you like to venture away from the campground. And it's quite the adventure to drive over the ford. :)
Some full hook ups, sites not very level, playground ok. Can hear shots from gun range next door. Dog park, pool, arcade. We have camped here a couple times, and stored our rig here for a while. Didn't find there was that much going on here to keep us busy. Not a lot of nature, no trails or biking accessible from campground.
Spots kind of level, lots of choices of pull thru or buddy sites. Decent playground, water pillow for bouncing, fishing pond, dog park, swimming pool. Well maintained, lots of planned activities. KOA, so not a lot of nature. But no traffic or train noise. Full hook ups, including TV.
We couldn't find many spots for the busy holiday but this park had a few. Very helpful host. Fun splashing in the river catching minnows by hand. Pretty park. Easy turns with the trailer. The RV spots were a mixed bag. Some shady (higher numbers), some full sun. Playground was skimpy. If you are over 12 ft, make sure and take the detour around the tunnel.
There are water hook ups, I just had to use 75 feet of hose to get to it. And the electric I had to use a 30 ft extension cord. Funny, I didn't have either and had to drive 24 miles to Walmart on a holiday to get them. I do think site 30 was probably the worst from what I saw. Wish that when I called to ask about the sites the county office would have mentioned some sites the hook ups are super far away. The sites have a little concrete pad which makes it easier to level.
Mormon Trail is absolutely beautiful. Myself and some friends tent camped there over the weekend and we were not disappointed! It is a very small state park with only a couple tent sites/camper sites, so it is not over populated. The drive there is easy and beautiful. Big RV’s/campers might have a difficult time getting there as the road turns into a one lane, curvy gravel road. AT&T has absolutely no service there, but US cellular does. No showers/clean bathrooms, just 2 waterless restrooms. The lake has a very large, mostly shallow, swimming area, the water is absolutely perfect, along with a big sandy beach area. You can boat and fish on the lake as well. The stars are also very bright and beautiful (we are from a city with the light pollution hides them). I would highly recommend visiting this campsite if you love off the grid camping and don’t need to shower/primp everyday. What a relaxing/fun weekend we had!
Nice park, a little run down, but there's a new park ranger in town who is trying to fix it up. New rental cabin almost finished, clean beach, boat ramp and fishing. Clean spacious bathrooms, nice playground for the kids and a really cool equestrian section. No store, no wood so get what you need before you get here.
This is hands down one of the best campgrounds we’ve been to in the U.S. Everything is beautifully maintained from the grass covered campsites to the clean bathrooms and free showers. Full hookup and tent campsites are plentiful with or without reservations. Beautiful lake, great walking trail, close to town and I-80, but quiet and peaceful. Can’t beat it for $11 a night.
Very nice place. Full hook up spots were very nice. Easy to get into, plenty of space, fire pit, picnic table, friendly & helpful park officers, lots of activities (hiking, boating, boat rentals, beach, bait shop, close to a race track in Corning, etc). We went the weekend after Memorial Day & there were plenty of spots. Quiet & family friendly. Even have food trucks that serve over by the beach!
This campground ovvers a lot of shaded with trees hookup sutes and beautiful grassy non hookup sites. Frisbee golf course, playground, horse shoe pits and samdy heach area groomed daily. No wake lake perfect for fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Clean well-kept shower and bath buidling as well. Horse area for those who bring horses for the ridiing trails.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.