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If you're looking for a wooded campground that offers you both quiet sites to relax but also offers a variety of activities for all ages, this is the place for you to setup your tent, or RV. For little ones, there is a large sand playground area with slides and swings. There is a sand beach to swim, where they also rent kayaks & canoes. The campground is located along the Cedar river, for those who want to boat and fish on a river, as well as multiple lakes to fish and a lake to ski. There are numerous soft bike trails throughout the park. And a hard trail that is part of 150 miles of bike trails in the Waterloo & Cedar Falls area.
The campground's shower house is handicap accessible. All sites have 50 amp service and the water provided is from the city of Waterloo. There is an onsite dump station.
Our site was very large, which was nice as it gave us more than enough room to set up our tent, leaving space between us and the neighboring sites.
For the families - there’s a couple small playgrounds on site, which is a good opportunity for the littles to burn some energy. There’s also a nice covered pool, but we didn’t use it because the most shallow point was 4’6”, which is great for bigger kids, but with little ones, it’s a bit more difficult. There’s a river that offers tubing. Again, our kids are a bit too little for that, but we went down to the water to check it out, and it was beautiful, quiet, and not real deep. Perfect for a relaxing float.
Beware, the office and bar/restaurant are located inside the barn. I say beware because there are barn swallows that nest on the outside of the barn. TONS of barn swallows. They’re mostly harmless, but they do swoop down and get pretty close, so you need to watch out a little bit.
All in all, it’s a pretty great place to camp. Beautiful, quiet (people seem to mostly respect the idea of “quiet time”), spacious, and relaxing. Also, it doesn’t hurt that you’re away from the bright lights of the city, so star gazing is amazing!
It was kind of loud, but it was busy. The lake for swimming was a little gross but we did it anyway. The bike trails are excellent and same for hiking. Bathrooms were a little old but clean when we were there, but there were massive hornets all over the bathroom area. It's also pretty bright here at night because it's right in the city. But overall, a decent, cheap place to tent camp if you want to explore Cedar Falls.
The hike up the hill to the overlook is a daunting one. We used a collapsible wagon to haul all the supplies up the hill. There are two hike in sites here at overlooks that give spectacular views. The site has a shelter for the tent as well as other places outside for it. A fire spot and picnic table. Worth the hike.
So say my two 8 year old boys, I happen to agree.
This campsite is HUGE, we were there on a busy 4th July and the campsite was full. But you never felt crowded. Of course with Covid19 not everything was open.
But the highlight is the location on the Root River. Tubing the river is the highlight here. You drop in one side of the campsite and an hour later pull out on the other side, So much fun.
They have a great restaurant and outside bar, pool, baseball and a playground.
We had a blast and would highly recommend.
My friend and I were eager to test out some new backpacking gear for the first time in advance of a larger trip this summer.
We have stayed several times at the Big Paint Campground which is a wonderful drive-up campground that seems to have mostly tent campers. Only two sites at that campground have direct creek access, 55 and 53.
For our most recent trip, we hiked from Paint Creek area headquarters along Brown's Hollow Trail to Brown's Hollow Campground. It's a low spot in the area, and became a bit soft as we were met with a brief downpour just as we arrived. But what can you expect being down in a 'hollar'?
This park is LUSH. Tons of wildlife and we thoroughly enjoyed hunting for wild oyster mushrooms which we gave a quick sautee before including in our rehydrated meals.
This was a quick trip, only one night. However we took it slow the next morning and we're greeted by HUNDREDS of butterflies! They were everywhere! Using the Koffman's Field Guide to the Midwest I identified them as Hackberry Emperors. Magical morning indeed.
The park has several backcountry camping spots and I will likely use them all as I continue to train for a larger trip later this summer. The park has a great feeling of isolation and wilderness that can be absent from other places.
Been coming to yellow river for years but have always wanted to go backpacking. Finally, convinced one of my friends to come with, we ended up getting scared around midnight from the noises. Took our hammocks down and ran all the way back 😂 still a fun time beautiful hike and nice area to set up camp, also had service!