The best DISPERSED camping near
Irwin , IOWA

30 Reviews4 Campgrounds

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Most Recent Irwin Camping Reviews
Peace & quiet

Reserved electric unit 090 for the weekend, which had a scenic corn field for a backdrop - this is Iowa! Paved roads, level gravel sites, wide & mowed trails, clean pit toilets and a layout that isn’t too cramped. The pond has multiple shoreline fishing spots with picnic tables and a cleaning station. Basic playground in front of the beach which is a short drive or a ~1 mile trail walk away.

Surprise find in Iowa!

I stayed here on a long road trip across the country. Had no idea such a scenic place could be found in Iowa! I chose the closest walk-in spot, less than a mile in. It was great! Near a little creek if you need water, and really nicely secluded. Picnic table and fire ring included. Also, there’s a trail up a hill right near by that had great views of the area and a lovely sunset! I would definitely recommend. Just a head’s up: I saw some pics of people car camping here on this site. Not sure how that would work since it’s supposed to be walk-in only and pretty clearly roped off from access with a car.

Great little hiking park

Been coming to this place on and off for years. They have several hiking trails of different skills inside the preserve. There is a couple look out points of the Loess Hills as well as a educational visitors center. There is a rv camping site, as well as cabins that can be rented. There also 2 types of tenting as well. There is the walk up sites near the cabins, and also a few hike in camp sites.

Another Gem

Nice level sites, fairly Large, great fire pit With multiple grilling options. Beautiful pond and nice and quiet.

Good

Very Nice sites. Many shaded. Only one shower room for campground, a drive from most sites. Pit toilets for rest of sites. Nice lake.

Splendid

An oasis of solitude. The park is somewhat small but laid out nicely. I paid extra for an electric site to be close to the lake. It is 9 or so miles north of the highway so it was actually quiet. There were zero bugs to deal with. Amazing!!!  And no raccoons. I stayed one night, a Thursday, so I don’t know if it gets bad on a weekend. There were lots of locals there using it like a big backyard. The lake isn’t big but big enough to be useful.

First to Review
Beautiful spot!

A great spot for camping and RVing. Super friendly staff and great amenities. Only downside was there were no bathrooms.

Unique, Must-See Landscape

Continuing our tour of the best Backpacking parks in our great state of Iowa, my comrade and I spent 2 nights at Preparation Canyon State Park. Located directly adjacent to the Preparation Canyon Unit of Loess Hills State Forest; the flora, fauna, and geology of this park are amazing and unique to North America. If you have not visited this area, put it high on your to-do list. The weekend was blistering hot at 95° F and a 9/10 UV index, but we were conditioning for a larger trip this summer, so we welcomed the challenge.

The park boasts 10 backpacking, hike-in campsites. However, you will find maps and literature that reference only 8, for seemingly good reason. Sites 9 and 10 (apparently more recent additions) are the most remote in the park and might tempt those seeking that added level of solitude. We examined both of them and they were both found to be overgrown and the nearby creek tributary was mostly dry. Instead, we spent both of our nights at Site 3, which seems to be the crown jewel. It is a small trek up a hillside and looks out across the general area, with a phenomenal star gazing opportunity. The creek just to the North was still flowing and provided our water source. You will not regret staying here. The other sites are mostly in the woods and line said creek. I'm certain they would be great as well.

A quick drive from the park lands you at the State Forest Lookout, which is partnered with a short 0.91 mile loop trail that is picturesque. Around the "back," (Northwest side) of the park there are shelters, picnic areas, and overlooks. You cannot park at these locations while camping in the park.

The immediate surrounding towns provide very little in the way of amenities, so plan ahead. The cultural history of the park is intriguing, as it was the site of a 19th century Mormon town (from which the park gets its name). The town however is completely gone, there are no abandoned historical structures to explore.

You won't miss them. Hike through the hilled prairie trail which is the first right as you enter from the Eastside Boundary, and you'll know why you came.

In summary, this park is the quintessential example of the diversity that Iowa has to offer, and rivals Yellow River for it's backpacking. It's proximity to the larger State Forest means you could spend weeks exploring if so inclined.

Nice campground

Great campground if all you want to do is fish.

Hidden Gem

Beautiful place to enjoy the loess hills!