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Big Creek State Park

Located near Saylorville Lake just 20 miles from Des Moines, Big Creek State Park is a family-friendly setting for picnicking and outdoor recreation. The centerpiece is Big Creek Lake, home of the largest beach in the state park system. The lake is also a popular fishing destination with boat and bike rentals available at the beach concessionaire. Take a day-trip to Big Creek State Park this season and enjoy everything Iowa outdoors has to offer.


Hike or bike along the paved, 27-mile Neil Smith Trail, which leads from the beach through the Saylorville Lake area, all the way to Des Moines. In the winter, cross country ski on a 3.5 mile trail on the disk golf course.

Swim in Big Creek’s lake and soak up the sun on the beach during hot summer months. Boating is also a popular lake activity, with kayaks, paddle boards, pontoon boats and bikes available to rent at the beach concessionaire. Please contact the concessionaire at 515-984-6083 or for more information.

Fish among the coves on Big Creek Lake, a hotspot for crappie, walleye and bluegill. Big Creek has five boat ramps, several fishing jetties, an accessible fishing pier and miles of shoreline.

Reserve a picnic shelter for a leisurely meal during your trip to Big Creek. Picnic areas and 22 shelters are located around the lake along with a large wooden playground and a sports field for outdoor activities. Shelters can be reserved online through the online reservation system for Big Creek State Park.

Disc golf at Big Creek’s 18-hole course, meandering through wooded areas and prairies along the east shore of the lake.

Big Creek State Park
8794 NW 125th Ave
Polk City, IA 50226
Ph: 515-984-6473

OFF-SEASON FACILITIES: Restrooms at the Jolly Boat Picnic Area will be closed for the season on September 5, 2023. Restrooms at the Inland Cat and Atlantic Shelters will be open only for shelter reservations beginning September 5, 2023. Modern restrooms at Beverly Dinghy, Duster, Ensign, and Firefly Shelters will close for the season on October 2, 2023. Modern restrooms at Cadet Shelter, Hampton Shelter, Beach, East Boat Ramp, and West Boat Ramp will be available until October 15, 2023, weather permitting. Vault toilets are available for off season use at the Beach boat ramp, Disc Golf Course, and Williams Drive Boat Ramp. (Posted September 3, 2023)
FISHING PIER CLOSURE: The universally accessible fishing pier at Big Creek State Park was damaged in the August 2020 derecho weather event. The pier itself and surrounding area are scheduled to be renovated over the winter of 2023/2024. The pier, parking lot, and immediate area around the pier will be closed during replacement. A short section of the Neal Smith Trail will be closed during construction, trail users may detour through the parking lot. Work is expected to begin in October 2023 and is expected to be completed in June of 2024. Please contact the park office at 515-984-6473 or with questions. (Updated August 3, 2023)


  • 18-hole disc golf course
  • Hiking trails
  • Playground; ADA accessible
  • Swimming beach; ADA accessible
  • Concessions
  • Paddlesport rental
  • Bicycle rental
  • Boat rental
  • Boat ramps
  • Universal fishing pier
  • Fishing jetty
  • Fish cleaning station
  • Shelters
  • Modern restrooms