Big Creek State Lake was created as part of the Saylorville project to protect Polk City from floods. A diversion dam which forms the 866-acre Big Creek Lake was primarily developed as a flood control project but also offers a wide variety of recreation. Big Creek State Park and the adjoining public hunting areas provide recreation for visitors of all ages and interests. The focal point of the 3,550-acre complex is the lake.
Shelters and picnic areas, a beach, playground, a multi-purpose sports field and several boat ramps provide a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. Open picnic shelters, located in pleasant settings around the lake, can be reserved through the park reservation system . The brown picnic tables located at the shelters are handicapped accessible.
Camping is not permitted at Big Creek State Park. However, there are several large federal and county camping areas about four miles away on Saylorville Lake.
A 26-mile paved multi-use trail allows bicyclists and pedestrians to travel from the beach south through the Saylorville Lake area all the way to Des Moines. Eleven miles of snowmobile trails provide winter recreational opportunities. Big Creek is also popular with cross-country skiers.
The Central State Park Bike Route is a 91 mile route which connects Big Creek State Park, Ledges State Park , and Springbrook State Park . It is relatively flat, with a few 'challenging' hills as you make your way across the valleys of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers.
(swimming, boating, fishing)
Big Creek Lake's clear water provides great family swimming fun. Refreshments are available at the beach during the swimming season. A large wooden play structure, accessible to the mobility impaired, is located at the beach. Disc golf, model air, softball, and volleyball areas provide additional entertainment.
Big Creek Lake provides excellent fishing year-round. The lake's clear waters are stocked with crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish and muskie. The lake is popular for a variety of boating activities. Any size motor may be operated at "no wake" speeds on the lake. Five modern boat ramps, three on the west side and two on the east, provide excellent access to the lake. A gravel ramp is located on the upper end of the lake. Sailboat rigging zones and vehicle parking areas are at each modern ramp. A 88-berth "dry-dock" area is at the northeast corner of the park. Arrangements for rental of dry-docking space may be made through the park office. A fishing pier is accessible to the mobility impaired.
The state park is a wildlife refuge where hunting is not permitted. However, hunting is allowed on the lake itself and in designated public hunting areas around the lake. Upland areas open for hunting are marked with public hunting signs. Favorite game includes pheasants, rabbit, deer and squirrel. Waterfowl hunting is popular on the lake. Information on hunting regulations can be found at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Hunting Licenses & Laws
The shooting range is located off Highway 415, three miles northwest of the park entrance and offers sheltered stations for firing handguns and rifles. The range is operated by a private concessionaire and is open to the public year round. The hours are Wednesday - Friday 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. and Saturday and Sunday 8 A.M to 5P.M.. A recently developed trap and skeet area also provides challenging recreational opportunities at this complex. The trap and skeet area is available Wednesday - Friday 3 P.M. until dark and Saturday and Sunday 8 A.M. until dark. This area also provides a classroom facility for hunter education, training, and meetings. Please call 515-795-2067 or 515-238-6977 for information, upcoming events or change in hours.
Polk City is two miles south on NW Madrid Drive. Des Moines is 11 miles south. Ankeny is 8 miles south-east. Madrid is seven miles north. Ames is 20 miles north.
Bait, Ball Field, Beach, Bicycling, Bicycling, Bird Watching, Boat Launch Ramp, Boat Rental, Boating, Canoeing, Catering, Concession, Cross Country Skiing, Dock Slips, Dock, Boat, Dock, Fishing, Fish Cleaning Station, Fishing, Frisbee Disc Golf, Fuel, Boats, Hiking, Jogging/Running, Kayaking, Maintenance, Boat, Marina, Paddle Boating, Park Lake, Parking, Picnic Area, Picnic Shelter, Pier, Fishing, Playground, Rentals, Bicycle, Rentals, Fishing Equipment, Sail Boating, Snowmobiling, Swimming - Beach, Trails, Cross Country Skiing, Trails, Snowmobile, Wildflower Viewing, Wildlife Viewing, Windsurfing/SailboardingLess than a mile
Golf, HuntingMore than a mile
Antiquing, Archery, ATM/Cash Machine, Church, Fuel, Vehicles, Grocery Store, Horseback Riding, Hospital, Interpretive Center, Jet Skiing, Medical Clinic, Putt-putt Course, Reservoir, Retail, Firewood, Shopping, Tennis, Town, Water Skiing, Winery Tours