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Lake of Three Fires State Park Is Big on Adventure
Posted: 05/29/2013
A small park in central Taylor County built in the 1930s has been drawing hikers, anglers, hunters, equestrians, and campers to its rolling hills with mature oak and hickory trees.

Lake of Three Fires is a unique state park with two campgrounds, six cabins open year-round, an eight hole disc golf course, a playground near the beach, sand volleyball court, 85-acre fishing lake and more than 350 acres for hunting.

The park contains miles of marked trails for hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, snowmobiles and cross-country skiers. Lake of Three Fires is one of southwest Iowa's most scenic parks and the trails provide great opportunities to experience the beauty year round.

“This is one of the better small places we have,” said Doug Sleep, park manager at Lake of Three Fires.

The park has a strong local following and is a regular stop for equestrians because of the special equestrian campground.

Sleep said the park’s trails and roads are frequently used by walkers and joggers.

In 2004, the lake was drained dry, dredged, had structure added around the lake and close to shore, then restocked in 2006. The lake has excellent water clarity and shore fishing access.

It is a slam dunk guarantee, Sleep said, that when the water temperature hits 68 degrees, fishing near the jetties or docks at Lake of Three Fires will produce bluegills.

“Fishing is pretty straight forward: the good spots have cut trees, and we located cedar tree piles near the fishing jetties,” Sleep said.

For the more adventurous angler, ponds in the watershed protecting the lake are also really good for fishing. Not many anglers do it because they are more remote and accessible by foot.

All the activities at Lake of Three Fires are part of Healthy and Happy Outdoors (H2O), a campaign to connect Iowans with outdoor resources as a way to reduce stress and improve health.

Iowans can go online to and find more than 30 types of outdoor activities at more than 1,600 state and county parks and recreation areas.

Participants who register for H2O and log activities will automatically be entered for prize drawings.  The more activities logged, the more entries submitted.

Information on Lake of Three Fires is available at To reserve a campsite or cabin, go to

For more information, contact Doug Sleep, Park Manager, Lake of Three Fires State Park, 712-523-2700.