Learn about the DNR's COVID-19 response and how the current health emergency is impacting DNR facilities, services and events.
Dear Iowa State Parks Visitors,

UPDATED 7/2/2020.

Please note new changes to parks operations during the COVID-19 health emergency.

In accordance with state recommendations pertaining to COVID-19, we want to share with you important information about Iowa state parks. 

State Parks, Forests and Preserves visitors are reminded to strictly abide to the social distancing rules and not gather in groups. Remember to stay home if you feel sick, wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, and bring supplies from home including disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and other hygiene products.

Park Facility Changes (Updated 7/2/2020):

  • Campgrounds are open. Some campgrounds may be closed due to construction or maintenance issues, so please check the specific closure information below for each park before planning a camping trip. Campers and visitors should follow gathering size, social distancing and increased hygiene requirements and recommendations.
  • Youth group campsites are open. Groups must follow gathering size, social distancing and increased hygiene requirements and recommendations.  
  • All modern restrooms and shower buildings are open. Drinking fountains remain closed.
  • Cabins and yurts are open. All kitchenware has been removed from cabins, including dishes, pots and pans; please bring your own from home. Additionally, check-in time is now 5:00 p.m. and check-out time is now 9:00 a.m. (changed from 4:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m, respectively) to allow for extra time to clean between rentals. 
  • Shelters and lodges are open. Check-in time is now 10 a.m. (changed from 8:00 a.m.). Groups must follow gathering size, social distancing and increased hygiene requirements and recommendations.
  • Customers with lodge and shelter reservations will be allowed to cancel up to 7 days prior to the arrival date without penalty and receive a full refund of the rental fees and taxes paid. No cancellation fee will be charged. The original non-refundable reservation fee ($4.00 for online reservations and $6.00 for reservations made through the call center) will not be refunded. Lodge and shelter reservation cancellations less than 7 days prior to the arrival date will be subject to the regular reservation cancellation policy. To cancel, contact the Customer Service Call Center at (877) 427-2757.   
  • Playgrounds are open.  Equipment is not sanitized, user discretion is advised.
  • Programs and events at all state parks are limited in order to follow gathering size, social distancing and increased hygiene requirements and recommendations. Check the Parks 2020 webpage or special event system to see which events are still scheduled. 
  • A limited number of visitor centers, museums and nature centers managed by state parks are open. Check the closure information below for specific park facilities.
  • We are monitoring the situation. We promise to remain diligent and intentional in protecting you and making your visit a great experience. As conditions change, so may our policies on park visitation and overnight stays. We will keep you informed of any changes moving forward.
  • Other areas of state parks and forests that remain open for day use include: trails, roads, lake and river access points, boat ramps, shorelines, and open spaces such as grassy areas.  

Here’s how you can help:

  • According to State of Iowa recommendations, limit your group size and stay at least 6 feet away from other park visitors.
  • If you have been sick in the last two weeks, please stay at home for your health and the safety of others.
  • Avoid popular areas where people may congregate such as scenic overlooks, buildings, beaches, etc.
  • Please maintain distance between you and other park visitors according to guidelines and recommendations by health officials. Please take into consideration the health of others when spending time outdoors.  
  • Pack extra soap or hand sanitizer. Soap or sanitizer will not be easily available at state parks due to limited supplies. Be sure and bring your own and wash your hands frequently.
  • Consider wearing a cloth face mask in public around others when social distancing may not be possible.
  • Additional information on best practices for keeping you and your family safe can be found online at the CDC website

Thank you for your patience and flexibility. We appreciate your support of Iowa state parks as we all work together to keep each other safe

State Park Alerts - Closures and Important Information
Backbone State Park - Delaware County
  • Road Resurfacing Project: The 16 cabins, Beach Shelter, and the Beach Lodge will not be accepting reservations for 2021 due to the road resurfacing project that will affect access to those facilities. (Posted July 2, 2020)
Big Creek State Park - Polk County
  • STORM DAMAGE UPDATE: The park still has no power. Modern restroom facilities are closed until power can be restored. The beach concession remains CLOSED through the weekend (Aug 12-16). Visitors can expect temporary closures as park staff continue to clean up the storm damage. Boat ramps on the east side of the park are unusable at this time. Courtesy docks have been damaged and are being removed. The beach concession has been impacted and some future boat rental reservations may not be honored due to damaged equipment. (Updated 8/12/2020)
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area - Webster County
  • The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will install a physical fish barrier on the Brushy Creek Lake spillway this summer to reduce walleye and muskellunge loss during flood events. The lake will be lowered approximately 4 feet for the next two months to allow for construction. The West ramp should still be usable, even after the lake level has been lowered. Other docks will not be usuable, but the ramps can still be accessed. The fish cleaning station is not operational during this time.
Fairport State Recreation Area - Muscatine County
  • Due to recent storm damage, the west dock will remain out of water until repairs can be made. If you have any questions, please call the park office at 563-263-4337. (POSTED 8/12/2020)
Geode State Park - Henry County
  • The Lake is drained for renovation , No boating , fishing or swimming is possible at this time. walking on the lake bottom is permitted but caution is advised due to the possibility of getting stuck in the lake bottom mud.
George Wyth State Park - Black Hawk County
  • George Wyth Lake will be having a restoration project starting Aug. 24- Dec. 30, 2020. At times the boat ramp will be closed off for boat access as will the floating dock and restroom. Rotary Shelter has been taken off of the reservation system for the rest of the year due to this project. Also affected during this time will be the jetties on the north, east and south sides. Please keep out of areas when contractors are working. Parking lots will be blocked off at times during this project for safety.
  • The Cedar Valley Lakes trail in George Wyth from Krieg's Crossing by Pfeiffer park to the triangle east of the George Wyth Lodge will be closed indefinitely due to the washouts and crumbling of the trail from recent flooding and rains.
Lake Macbride State Park - Johnson County
  • PARK REMAINS CLOSED DUE TO STORM DAMAGE: The entire park, including trails, remains closed to park visitors (vehicular and pedestrian access). The park sustained tree damage and downed utility lines. The park will remain closed until it can be safely reopened. Please do not come to the area while park work to clean up damage. The park also remains without power, phone and internet service. (Updated 8/12/2020)
  • BEACH CLOSURES POSSIBLE THIS SUMMER We limit the number of vehicles to the beach parking lot due to extremely high visitation. When the parking lots are full, access to the beach will close for up to 2 hours, sometimes as early as 12:00 Noon. This can happen on hot days from Memorial Day to Labor Day. When parking lots reach capacity a ‘Beach Parking Lot Full’ sign will go up at the park entrance and beach visitors will be asked to return another day or later in that day. During these times of high beach visitation access to other portions of the park such as the Main Lodge, boat ramps, boat rental and campgrounds will remain open for access.
  • Alcohol is prohibited inside the fenced in designated beach area. Alcohol may not be possessed or consumed within the fenced designated beach area. (Updated July 2, 2018)
Ledges State Park - Boone County
  • STORM UPDATE: All of Ledges State Parks remains without power including the campground. While the campground is open, there is no water/sewer at full hook-up sites and the dump station is closed. Some restroom facilities may need to be closed if power is not restored by Friday, August 14. Phone lines are also down at the park. The Canyon Drive is currently open to vehicle traffic and most trails are free of storm debris. For questions, please e-mail ledges@dnr.iowa.gov. (UPDATED 8/12/2020)
Maquoketa Caves State Park - Jackson County
  • CAVES CLOSED - All caves currently closed to public access. (Updated 8/3/2020)
  • PARKING UPDATE - Parking in the park is limited to designated parking spots only and will be enforced. Peak park visitation times are weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to explore the park weekdays or during non-peak hours in the morning or late afternoon on weekends. (Posted 5/12/2020)
  • 2020 CAMPING RESERVATIONS: All campsites except campsite #1 are reservable (100%) on the centralized reservation system. The last day to make a camping reservation is ONE day prior to arrival. Reservation website: https://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/ (Updated 5/12/2020)
Palisades-Kepler State Park - Linn County
  • PARK REMAINS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC INCLUDING WALKING IN. Monday's severe weather event caused significant tree damage throughout the park and blocked roadways. The park remains without power and water. Please stay out of the park (vehicular and pedestrian access) as staff begin the task of clean-up. The park will remain closed until it can be safely reopened. (UPDATED 8/12/2020)
Pine Lake State Park - Hardin County
  • Renovations Underway: The Campground, Cabins, and Circle Point Picnic Area are currently closed for renovations & improvements. The closure is expected to last until spring of 2021. Reservations for the shelter will not be available for 2021 until the project is complete. Other day use areas throughout the park including trails and boat ramps will remain open throughout the project with a few exceptions: The bike trail near the cabins will be closed for the duration of the project, a detour around the closure is available and posted at the closure. The bike trail through the campground will experience temporary closures during the project when heavy equipment is being operated near the trail, or when buried utility installation requires removal of sections of the trail. Questions regarding these closures can be directed to the park office at 641-858-5832 or pine_lake@dnr.iowa.gov. (Updated 8/3/2020)
Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area - Linn County
  • PARK REMAINS CLOSED TO PUBLIC ACCESS. The park sustained significant tree damage as a result of Monday's severe weather event and the entire park remains closed to the public (vehicular and pedestrian access). Park staff have begun clean-up efforts. The park is still without power and very limited phone service. The park will remain closed until it can be safely reopened. (UPDATED 8/12/2020)
  • Alcohol is prohibited inside the fenced in designated beach area. Alcohol may not be possessed or consumed within the fenced designated beach area.
Rock Creek State Park - Jasper County
  • EAST SIDE OF PARK NOW CLOSED: The east side of the park is now closed until further notice. Affected areas includes trails, campground, park office, picnic areas, disc golf course and boat docks. The entire park remains without power. The west side of the park is open but has no power. The concession may try to open on Friday but will have no power and offer limited services. (UPDATED 8/13/2020)
Shimek State Forest - Van Buren County
  • Effective August 8, 2020, The equestrian trails have been opened. Please watch out for areas that may still be wet, try to stay out of those areas. (Updated 8-8-2020)
Stephens State Forest - Lucas County
  • The pit latrines at Stephens State Forest will only be open for use Friday through Sunday each week. For questions, please call 641-774-5632 (updated 6/16/20).
Union Grove State Park - Tama County
  • PARK STATUS UPDATE: The park still remains without power and phone service from Monday's severe weather event. The campground is open and has flush toilets available, but there is no hot water or electricity. The rental cabins are currently closed and the trail systems are not open at this time. (UPDATED 8/13/2020)
Viking Lake State Park - Montgomery County
  • Beach Closure: The lake was drawn down in 2019. DNR is estimating that the lake will not be at full capacity until after Labor Day in 2020, but that is dependent on the weather. (Updated July 9, 2020)
Wapsipinicon State Park - Jones County
  • PARK REMAINS CLOSED TO PUBLIC ACCESS. The severe weather event on Monday, August 10 impacted the park causing extensive damage. Park staff are continuing to assess the extent of the damage and clean up that will be required. The park will remain closed until it can be safely reopened. All roadways are blocked. (UPDATED 8/12/2020)
Wildcat Den State Park - Muscatine County
  • Pine Creek Grist Mill and Melpine School remain closed. Due to recent storms across the state, some trails at Wildcat Den may be inaccessible at this time. Park visitors may still access the trail system, but large limbs and downed trees should be expected. Please use caution when hiking around downed trees or hanging limbs, as they may become unstable. (Updated 08/12/2020)
Wilson Island State Recreation Area - Pottawattamie County
  • Wilson Island is closed due to flooding of the Missouri River in 2019. This affects all uses of the park including camping, fishing, hiking, mushroom hunting, Missouri river access and biking as all entry is prohibited. A date for reopening has not been set. Please call the park office for additional information. While notices of the park being open in relation to COVID-19 are listed as well, this message supersedes those. 712-642-2069 Updated 4/29/2020