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Horse Shelter at Shimek, Photo courtesy of Lora P. Conrad, Friends of Shimek State Forest Equestrian Trails
Equestrian Camping 

State regulations require horses, mules and donkeys being transported interstate (from one state to another) must have a current Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate) and negative Coggin's test (EIA). This paperwork must accompany the animal into the State of Iowa. Please refer to Iowa Dept of Agriculture Admissions Regulations for more information.

For example, a person from Missouri who wishes to bring their horses, mules or donkeys into Iowa must provide a current Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health paper) which lists the description of the animals, date of a negative Coggin's test (tested within the last twelve months), date of the test, the lab that performed the test and the accession number of the Coggin's test.

Persons transporting horses, mules or donkeys intrastate (within the same state) do not need to carry this paperwork.

Again, a person from out of state who wishes to bring their horses, mules or donkeys into Iowa must bring their paperwork, but a person from Iowa who is taking their horses to another part of Iowa does not need to bring their paperwork.

This applies to equestrian camping, day-use and trail riding in any Iowa State Parks, State Recreation Areas or State Forests.

The following parks have designated equestrian campgrounds:

  • Brushy Creek State Recreation Area - Webster County
  • Elk Rock State Park - Marion County
  • Lake of Three Fires State Park - Taylor County
  • Nine Eagles State Park - Decatur County
  • Shimek State Forest - Van Buren County
  • Stephens State Forest - Lucas County
  • Volga River State Recreation Area - Fayette County
  • Waubonsie State Park - Fremont County
  • Yellow River State Forest - Allamakee County

Campground amenities and campsite features vary from park to park. The state park reservation system (http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/ provides information on campsites and campground amenities available. Please review the information PRIOR to making a reservation. Fifty-percent of the equestrian campsites are available for reservations. The remaining 50% are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Non-equestrian campers (campers without horses/mules) may camp in designated campgrounds but they must pay the equestrian fee that is charged in equestrian campgrounds.

equestrian riding          equestrian  trails

Equestrian Trails

You will find a number of parks and forests suited to your needs, including some with equestrian campgrounds. See the trail mileage chart  below to find parks and forests to explore.

Guide to State and County Managed Equestrian Trails 

Equestrian Trail Closures

Please be aware that equestrian trails may be temporarily closed at any time when trail use or any natural event (such as rain, flooding, snow, thaws) creates conditions that will cause the trail(s) to degrade if further use is allowed. When flooding and consistent rainfall occur, trails could remain closed for an extended period of time until trail conditions improve. Equestrian trails are normally closed during the winter months.

Park staff will update their answering machines when equestrian trails are closed. It is advised to check the reservation website or call the park to check on equestrian trail closures before heading to the park.

NOTE: Brushy Creek State Recreation Area has nearly 15 miles of rocked all-weather trails which rarely close.

Equestrian Campsite Reservation Information

Because the campground does not close when equestrian trails are closed, the standard reservation cancellation and change policies apply. See the policies below.

EXCEPTION: If your reservation begins on the same day the trails are closed or the following day, you will be allowed to change the reservation (per the change policy below). This is an exception to the change policy. It was adopted because reservations in this situation are automatically subject to forfeiture of camping fees if the reservation cancelled. However, if you do not want to change the reservation and decide to go ahead and cancel the reservation, the cancellation policy applies, including forfeiture of fees. The exception applies only to equestrian campsites.

When park staff close equestrian trails, an e-mail regarding the closure is automatically sent to all customers/reservees (whose account has an active e-mail address) whose reservation is scheduled to begin that day or the following day. If the reservee/customer does not have an active e-mail address, park staff will attempt to contact you over the phone only once to let you know of the trail closure. The e-mail contains information about the change/cancellation policies and what to do. PLEASE NOTE: The e-mails and phone calls go ONLY to the reservee and not to the campsite occupants. Therefore, if you made a reservation for multiple sites, only you will get the notification and you will need to contact the occupants of the other sites.

Changing Equestrian Campsite Reservations - POLICY
The last day to change a reservation is 4 days prior to arrival. EXCEPTION: If your reservation arrival date is the same date as the trail closing date or the following day, you may change your reservation by calling the call center ONLY (877-427-2757). A $5 change fee applies for each campsite reservation which is changed.

Cancelling Equestrian Campsite Reservations - POLICY
Campers can cancel a reservation up to the day of arrival. All cancellations must be cancelled by calling the call center ONLY (877-427-2757). A $5 cancellation fee applies for each campsite which is cancelled. If a camper cancels one day prior to the arrival date, a forfeiture of one night's camping fee applies in addition to the $5 cancellation fee. If a camper cancels the day of arrival, the $5 cancellation fee applies and forfeiture of two night's camping fees.

Changes and cancellations must be handled through the call center. Call center hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CST) Monday through Friday and closed on state holidays.

All reservation transaction fees are nonrefundable.

 

 


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