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Maquoketa Cave State Park , Maquoketo, Iowa
We stopped here for two days on our “Westward Ho” road trip in mid August 2020. Temperatures 80’s in the day to 60’s overnight.
I am not highly familiar with Iowa, I will admit however I AM extremely amazed at this little unique Park in the middle of farmland Iowa. Most of the trip here was driving between fields of corn as far as the eye could see (we came through Illinois).
The town of the same first name is small but the necessities can be had. Found a small shop with local meat, honey and yummies. The drive to the park was pretty straight forward with signage along the way.
This is a very basic park, no lake, no added attractions just trails , picnicking and a small , quiet (well…. I had a family directly across with very talkative, argumentative, sometimes loud children, …luck of the draw ;) and well shaded, electric sites. I like the spacing, privacy and shade. There are several water hydrants throughout the campground to use. A shower house that I will be visiting soon. Firewood on site, with donation box.
You probably don’t want sites 1 or 2, they are directly across from the dump site. The plus is they are directly across from the playground , picnic area and trail access.
Trail access is a short walk across the shelter/ picnic area. As of right now Officially the caves are closed. I saw several hikers not being official though.
The trails have sign posts and the map in a VERY general way gives you some idea as to where you are at BUT there are trails criss crossing everywhere so make sure you have your map tracker on. The trails/scenery are AMAZING! LOVED IT! Needs some maintenance (ie, downed trees) but they may have limited staffing right now. I would suggest a visit even if you only have a few hours. Once they reopen the caves I will absolutely be back.
Cabins were nice - not luxury or glamping but clean and in good condition. The gentleman that takes care of the campground takes great pride in his work and it shows - kudos to him! There is a nice hiking trail around the lake, about 8 miles complete loop. there is a bit of elevation change and not many opportunities to "bail out" so take water and pace yourself.
Driving cross country, this was my favorite campground. I had a large, private site that had a mowed path leading to the lake. The large lake is beautifully landscaped with walking bridges made from recycled iron and memorial trees of many varieties. There is about a two mile trail circumventing the entire lake. I was there in early October so the weather was too chilly to use the nice beach. Great shower house.
This park has two campgrounds. The modern side on the north end of the park with full hookups, and the primitive side on the south side of the park with no electricity or water hookups. Both campgrounds have flushing toilets but only the modern side has showers. All restroom facilities are very well kept. Beautiful park with lots to do! Only thing keeping me from giving it 5 stars is how busy both campgrounds get on weekends and holidays giving you little to no privacy since sites are pretty close together.
The campground here was quiet during the week and small in general which we like! There are a few walk-in sites that are accessible by walking down a path about 150-200 ft. Wish it had been a little farther back away from the parking lot and other sites but i think we always wish that. Decent privacy with only a few other campsites back in that same area of wood so that was nice.
The caves were unexpectedly super cool! Neither my husband nor I had ever gone. We weren’t expecting much but wow! Lots to see in a small area. The hike didn’t take too long around and many of the caves were closed (probably due to COVID) but we kindve stuck our heads halfway in and WOw. We want to come back when they’re are more opened. I bet it’s super busy on weekends. Probably would avoid that. There was other hiking to do away from the caves but we didn’t venture too far as it was quite hot and we were running low on water. There’s a little stream that runs kindve out into the prairie lands on one side and we stopped to stick our feet in. Highly recommend that.
Over all, lovely few days out in the woods. We would visit again!
We enjoyed our weekend at Thomson Causeway with our popup. We stayed at site 41. Although I would have liked the pad to be a little longer, it was still a nice site. Not a lot of privacy, but being right on the water was great. Definitely need bugspray, but my boys LOVED catching frogs along the rocks. Bathrooms are a short walk from this site and were clean. Water pump was also a short walk. We enjoyed bike riding around the campsite. There is a longer bike path that will take you to Clinton. We bought firewood right outside the park for $3 a pallet. We will definitely add Thomson to our list to return for our next trip. I made note that I would love to reserve site 60 or 69… great views of the Mississippi… I assume these are the most sought after sites.
I’m a bit biased on this one as Arnold Wulf is my great-grandfather, but I do have a lot of fond memories from this park.
Near Lost Nation, Oxford Junction, and Wyoming, IA this park is an unexpected find in rural, eastern Iowa. The camping areas have expanded. Plenty of hook-ups for RVs and such, but there are also some backcountry, hike-in sites off of the main trail. Most of the available camping is right off the road that goes through Eden Valley County Refuge, so that’s not the most ideal.
The swinging bridge and observation tower are the main structural attractions, but there are also several caves scattered about. Overall, very enjoyable and there aren’t a lot of places like this nearby. Worth a stop if you’re in the area.
In my opinion Linn Counties best park.
Great county campground with water and electric sites, dump at exit. Bathrooms on loop B are dirty and dated. I suggest going up to the Plains loop and use it's facilities. Very clean and new bathrooms and showers.