Facilities and Activities
The two lodges at Dolliver, built during the 1930's, may be rented for day use. They are ideal for group events such as family reunions and wedding receptions. The lodges may be reserved online through the park reservation system.
An open picnic shelter may be reserved online through the park reservation system. A playground is located in the picnic area for the younger visitors.
View of the Dolliver playground
Dolliver has two basic family cabin that sleep four, and are equipped with a refrigerator and sink. They are located only a short distance from the modern rest room and shower building in the campground. The cabin can be reserved online through the park reservation system.
The group camp has a dining hall, modern rest rooms and showers and 10 separate sleeping cabins. The camp is available on a reservation basis for a variety of group events. See the document Group Camp Rental Reservation for specifics on reservation policy and rates.
The Dolliver campground is located in a pleasant setting overlooking the Des Moines River. There are 33 campsites with electrical hookups, modern rest room and showers and a trailer dump station. Advance campsite reservations can be booked through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A trail will take you out past the Copperas Beds which are unique sandstone formations towering 100 feet above Prairie Creek. The trail then continues on up into oak covered hillsides and back down past Bone Yard Hollow. Trails also take you out to the Indian Mounds and up more wooded hillsides.
Dolliver is located on the Des Moines River, which is popular for both boating and fishing. A modern boat ramp is located in the park and is a popular "put in-take out" spot for canoeists as well as anglers.
Bluffs, canyons, the Des Moines River, Prairie Creek and Indian mounds are all part of the natural and cultural history that make Dolliver State Park so valuable to the people of Iowa. Purchased for $38,500, the 457-acre park was dedicated in 1925. During the dedication ceremonies, a memorial plaque, the work of noted sculptor Laredo Taft, was unveiled before a crowd of 13,500 people.
A unique facet of the sandstone formations at Dolliver are the "Copperas beds." The towering 100-foot bluff on Prairie Creek is a cross-sectional view of the ancient river bed that is over 150 million years old. Over the ages, the erosive power of Prairie Creek uncovered this unique feature. The porous nature of the sandstone has caused many minerals such as calcite and sulfur to dissolve as the water seeps through. As the water evaporates, the mineral deposits are left behind. You can see many of these deposits in the sandstone cliffs, as well as petrified logs and sticks.
This narrow ravine running between rock walls was given its name "boneyard hollow" by early settlers who found large amounts of buffalo bones in the canyon. It is possible the area's first inhabitants drove herds of buffalo from the prairie over the cliff to their death or perhaps drove the herds into the narrow ravine and then killed & butchered them for their meat, hides, horns & bone.
In 1912, a family picnicking in the area of the creek that runs through Boneyard Hollow found a lead tablet at the mouth of the creek. Inscribed in Latin, it stated that it was deposited in 1701 by Father Hennepin, a French explorer, often credited with discovering the Des Moines River. The tablet was eventually found to be a hoax, planted by people from the nearby community. However, Edgar Harlan, then curator of the state archives, went to the site where the tablet was found. His interest in the beauty of the area helped spark the state's interest in eventually purchasing the park.
Lehigh is three miles southeast of the park and Fort Dodge is 10 miles north of the park.
Bird Watching, Boat Launch Ramp, Boating, Cabins, Camping - Electric, Camping - Nonelectric, Camping - Youth Group, Canoeing, Cross Country Skiing, Day-use Lodge, Dump Station, Fishing, Group Camp, Hiking, Kayaking, Modern Campground, Paddle Boating, Park Lake, Picnic Area, Picnic Shelter, Playground, Powerboating, River, Showers, Swimming - Beach, Trails, Cross Country Skiing, Trails, Hiking, Water Hydrants , Wildflower Viewing, Wildlife ViewingMore than a mile
Fuel, Vehicles, Golf, Grocery Store, Horseback Riding, Hospital, Hunting, Medical Clinic, Motel, Putt-putt Course, Retail, Bait & Tackle, Retail, Drinks, Retail, Firewood, Retail, Ice, Retail, Snacks, Shopping, Town, Trails, Bicycle, Trails, Equestrian, Trails, Mountain Bike