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Ainsworth, IOWA

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Nice

One of the few places around Cedar Rapids that is open in winter. 35$/night. Management is pleasant.

Beautiful quiet park

We camp here every year in for Scouts.  The time a year we go it is not busy and we pretty much have the place to our selves.  The last time we were there the ranger let us have all the firewood we wanted.  Nice easy hiking paths and the beautiful grounds.

Beautiful getaway

We stayed on the primative group side of the lake.  There is a small pond that we were able to let some of our scouts get started in kayaks and canoes before getting into the main lake.  Great fishing and walking paths.  Iowa has done a great job fixing up this area.  The cabins are small but clean.

Cute and Quaint

Little Bear Campground is located right off I-80 at the West Liberty exit. It is right next to a trailer park. There are a few tent sites ($22/ night)and Rv sites($33/night). We pulled in late to stay the night. It had full hook ups with a fire ring and picnic table. The spot was good sized and clean. There is an office/ gift shop and a convent store within walking distance. There is 2 cute little cabins which run $49 a night. There is a pool(closed for season), and a playground for kids. I was surprised that the interstate noise was much quieter than I thought it would be. All and all it was a pleasant place to stop over.

Small campground right on the river - check for flooding before traveling

This is a very small campground. Parts were closed because of flooding so maybe your experience will be better. There were half a dozen sites available this weekend. Each site has direct water access for an easy fishing experience. A boat launch and day use parking area were seeing activity too. Vault toilets are at the end on the camp host side. 

Other than fishing or watching the water flow by, there wasn’t much else here. The drive in is through active farmland. You could walk along the gravel roads. Another option is to visit Loud Thunder forest for hiking. They also have boat rentals. 

A local church held a communal breakfast on Labor Day so check out the small local towns while you’re here.

Multiple campgrounds within a forest near the Mississippi

Registering for any site means stopping at the main ranger office. We waited while a line of people rented pontoon boats, canoes and kayaks. We found site 6 in Silva Campground to be nicely set apart. 

Silva is wooded and has more seclusion than the other camps. River campground has campers right in a line with no shade around them. Silva was good for us. 

Some sites are close together- perfect for a small group. Others are open and along the road. 6 was carved out of the woods- we felt immersed in the forest. One set of 4 vault toilets serves this campground. Water can be found in a couple locations. Our site had full sun during the day so our screen tent saved the day.

A variety of hiking trails are here. Some are used by bikes and horses too. Rock Island is a short drive away and we hiked on Sylvan Island there. Many people are here for fishing. 

We didn’t like the large family gathering at the site across from us. They disappeared as soon as the rain came but there was a lot of activity going on. Some of the picnic areas would be perfect for these moments but they didn't move to them. We still enjoyed our stay.

Stuck between a fairly busy road and the slough

Squeezed between the slough and the road, a campground awaits. Close enough so that one side of your campsite is against the road. The sites were not mowed super recently so the greenery was about 6” tall in spots. Evidence of recent rain was found in the small ruts in the one roadway. There are no trails or even a sidewalk by the road. 

This campground isn’t that enticing but it’s nice to know that there are options if everything else is full. On Labor Day weekend there weren’t any campers - this was enough to send us further down the road. Loud Thunder is just down the road and might be a preferable place. 

We did see people parking in the day use lot and launching their boats for a morning of fishing.

Price is right

Stayed at modern campground. Very quiet midweek in October which was great because there would be no privacy between the small sites. Nice walking access to nice beach to dam trail. We appreciated the small playground near the north campground. Showers are meh, but overall value is great at $11 per night. It would be an annoyingly long drive to primitive campground.

Great stopover to visit Amana Colonies

This is a great location right in the Amana Colonies to explore the area. There are sites for tents up to big rigs. They have showers and laundry and the folks are very nice. There are some trees scattered throughout the campground but mostly wide open. Services work well and wifi is strong. Only minus is that most roads are gravel and if it rains alot, there are puddles everywhere and it is pretty soft coming in and out of sites.

Maybe we hit a bad weekend

We made a reservation for a nice summer weekend but when we arrived someone was in our site. Luckily there was one more site available where the ranger asked us to stay instead since the other group was set up already. People were listening to loud music and chopping down green trees to burn. Overall sites are nice and park is pretty. Just not sure if we will go back - at least not on a busy weekend.

Great location

We loved the views from spot 193 but they were lacking in water hook-ups and the staff wasn’t super friendly.

Tent camped off an on for 10 weeks

Beautiful place … saw wild turkeys and dear almost ever day walking the camp grounds.. clean and they offer free fire wood

Tent camped for 5 days

Awesome place by the Iowa river.. clean and quiet, no drinking water…

First to Review
Tent camped for 14 days

Very clean , great staff , hot showers, fresh water

Good stopover while traveling

Great staff and RV park amenities. Camped for two nights and it was quiet.

Quiet, beautiful, close to fishing and kayaking

Fished here for a few years but camped here for the first time with my travel trailer this year. The campground is well laid out. If you are in a group you can reserve spots 8 and 9 together or there are some long spots in the Eastern part for double occupancy if you want. If you want more privacy and easy access to the lake for kayaking I'd go for 14, 15, and 16. I'm in 32 and it is private and very pretty.

Nearby lake has a beach and a boat ramp for launching boats (whole lake is no wake zone) or kayaks. If you are into fishing, this place has large mouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish.

Plenty to do

Our site was at Indian Meadows and it is large enough to fit my big 8-person tent, a picnic table, my truck, and all our other stuff with room to spare. The sites are very close to each other. The sites at Riverview and Silva both seemed smaller. The Riverview sites had great shade and a breeze coming off of the Mississippi river but had very little privacy. Each site at Indian Meadows and Silva are surrounded by a wall of trees. Our site had a picnic table and a fire pit with a swing over grill. There was no trash can, though. My plan was to collect the garbage then walk it to the trash point, a dumpster up the road. Unfortunately, while we were at the shower house raccoons got into it. I was better prepared the second day. Just remember to bring trash bags and dispose of your trash often, the raccoons out there are brave. The Loud Thunder office is top-notch. They sell a few necessities like batteries, firewood, ice, and stuff for s’mores. Service was incredibly helpful and nice.

At the center of Loud Thunder is Lake George. Lake George is a boon for kayakers and anglers. For us, it was the highlight of the trip. Loud Thunder rents kayaks, john boats, pontoons, and mini-pontoons. I had never heard of a mini-pontoon prior to this trip; they are amazing and now I want one. For 30 dollars we navigated the lake for two hours. My son loved steering the boat. Even though we were in the sun there was a nice breeze. We could have easily spent another two hours on that lake.

There are also plenty of trails for horses, bikes, and hiking.  The trail we went on started as a wide gravel path then narrowed to a single-track dirt path.  It had one hard climb.  The trail was very nice and led to some great views.

Read about my adventure at https://www.lost13.com/camping/2019/7/26/loud-thunder

Pleasant stay, quiet campground

Unique mix of RV and tent sites in a variety of sizes. Some close together would be good for groups and some remote. One shower room with flush toilets near entrance but vault toilets and water available throughout park. No other services.

Good views of the lake from non-electric campground

I’m sure we were just unlucky, but the campground was very noisy the whole night we were there. Nice view of the lake, though. If you want to reserve a campsite online, do so at least 2 days ahead.

Ranger Review: Sun Sleeves from Eclipse at Walking Stick Adventure Farm

Campground Review

This place has a lot to offer. It’s great for solo and couples looking for some relaxation, and families looking for a fun excursion. The area of land you have with this booking is so impressive, and very private. I was able to have a fantastic time. I arrived and was welcomed by a lovely couple eager to show me around and how their tipi set up worked. You could sleep 4 to 6 people inside no problem. I loved the outhouse. I know that’s weird to say, but it was clean, and had this really cool hot water shower set up with some sinks and a curtain. I dunno– I just loved the feeling of showering comfortably, but still being outside and having running water on demand. This place’s intention is to have all the camping necessities on site, so all you have to do is show up with a sleeping bag and not much else, focus on your vacation, and take advantage of the amenities. I definitely felt like it was“easy” to have a good time here. There is potable water and an electric hook up. There was also a few storage bins loaded with pots and pans, dishware, and everything else you could need to make a really nice meal over a campfire or with your stove. There was also a BBQ loaded with charcoal and roasting sticks for hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire pit. Loads of wood for you to use as well. A big sell for me was how there were a few different boats to take out on the lake they have. I kayaked, and there were 2 of those to go along with a row boat and a canoe. There are life jackets provided. You can feed the fish in there, or use the lures and rods provided to catch-and-release the underwater critters. At night, enjoy the light show of fireflies and stoke the fire inside your tipi or out by the waterfront, and think/talk about when you’ll come back for your next visit.

Product Review

As part of the Dyrt Ranger program I am given camping gear to test from time to time, and today I was reviewing the Sun Sleeves from Eclipse Sun Products

Great product! I immediately ordered a second pair in a different color. There are just so many times when you want to protect yourself from the sun but don’t want to apply sunscreen or wear clothing that makes you hot. These are UPF 50+ sleeves that allow you to cover your hands and arms while leaving your fingers free, and the material is very lightweight and breathable. A lot of people kept asking me“aren’t you hot?” but I was comfy even with temps in the 90s. 

I’ve used these for the last three weeks on the golf course, on my bike, while boating, playing disc golf, walking my dog, for softball games, and really just about every activity when the sun is out– including beer festival drinking! The second pair I bought just lives in my car now, because it’s easily the best solve for road trips when the sun comes out during your travels. No more greasy sunscreened steering wheels!

They are super easy to put on, come in different sizes and colors, and are machine washable. The material is very thin and flexible, so when you roll the hand covers out of the way, it doesn’t create this elastic pressure point. Super happy with these sleeves and really excited to be supporting a local company from Boulder, CO.

Nice and well maintained

Very nice park and not to near a train. Very modern facilities that were clean.

Very nice

Very nice. Clean rest rooms and coin op showers. There were a lot of ticks, but the camp was quiet. I saw many people fishing.

First to Review
Awesome family fun

The park is clean and family friendly. The beach is a great addition for some family fun.

The water to the rv smells so bad it makes me gag.

Bring plenty of bottled water for consumption.  The water has an awful smell.

Beautiful lake/Nice Campground

Nice campground with some newer facilities, well kept up and clean.  There are 2 parts to the campground, both nice and fairly full-but not completely on the weekend we stayed. Sites were fairly level and all pretty close to the showers/restrooms, and well spaced out between sites.   There were several hiking trails-maps seemed to not quite fit the trails and lake to some degree.  Several ponds have been added to the lake and along the hiking trails that aren't on the map that could assist in knowing where you're at along the trails.  Trails were signed fairly well but still seemed somewhat off from the maps both online and on site.

First to Review
Nice place

$15 a night, electric only. Well maintained though.

Good fishing!

Nice park with plenty of sites and nice beach.

Great view

Campsites kinda small and hilly. Great hiking trails and views of the bluffs over the river.

Peace and Quiet

Nice park, clean shower houses and nice playground and beach for the kids!

Hidden Gem

After hours on my motorcycle I needed a place to set up camp for the night. Found this place out of pure luck. Set up camp in the dark, when I woke up the view was amazing! Beautiful little river runs right by the campground. Amenities are basic, but in reality that's all you need.