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For a full listing of all Iowa State Parks, please visit: iowadnr.gov/iowastateparks, or find the park in the list below.


Please note that this page will be removed in the near future, so please update your bookmarks.


Wilson Island State Recreation Area
Campground reopening in late spring of 2021: The campground will only be open from April 15 - October 15, which is a change from previous years. We have also reduced the number of campsites to 42. New campsite pictures will be added in late spring of 2021. However, there is a closure in place on the campground to prevent reservations from being made until the remaining repairs are completed. Once the campground is ready, the closure will be removed and reservations can be made. You can continue to check this bulletin for updates. (Posted December 29, 2020)
Wilson Island State Recreation area is open for limited use. The campground, water system, some facilities and some roadways remain closed. One pit toilet is open in the east camp area, next to the available parking lot. The area is open for hiking, wildlife viewing, and in season hunting. Firearm hunting is prohibited with 200 yards of the office and residences. The boat ramps onto the chute and the river are available, but limited parking exists. For further questions, contact the park office at 712-642-2069. Updated 10/21/2020

Wilson Island State Recreation Area

32801 Campground Lane
Missouri Valley, IA 51555
ph.712-642-2069
Wilson_Island@dnr.iowa.gov

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Facilities and Activities

Wilson Island, named after former Governor George Wilson, came into existence as an island sandbar around 1900. Today, Wilson Island State Recreation Area encompasses 544 acres of dense cottonwood stands. Seclusion is one of the area's greatest assets and spacious campsites, hiking trails and picnic spots provide a welcome retreat.

Wildlife is abundant in the park and a visitor may see deer grazing in the park's fields or be awakened by a huge flock of snow geese flying low overhead in the fall. Bald eagles are often perched in the tall cottonwoods during the winter and mushroom hunters will find no better place in the spring.

On the way to Wilson Island, visitors will see the unique wave-like loess hills which overlook the great Missouri River flood plain. These rugged hills are found along the Missouri River Valley in Iowa and Missouri.

Early history tells us that Lewis and Clark camped on this reach of the Missouri River in 1804 on their historic trip to and from the Pacific Coast.

Picnicking/Shelters
A picnic area with shelters is located along the shoreline of the Missouri river. Shelters may be reserved for a through the park reservation system.

Camping
Camping is very popular at Wilson Island with a multitude of well-shaded, spacious campsites. A modern camp area offers showers, flush toilets, electric camp sites, and two large youth group camping areas. Advance campsite reservations can be made online through the park reservation system. One fourth of the campsites are still available for self-registration on a first-come, first-serve basis. Firewood may be purchased in the campground. A playground is located in the campground.

Firewood Sales are available May 1 to September 30, 7 days a week, self-serve so there are no set hours of operation.  

Trails
Approximately five miles of trails are used for hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

River Activities
A 3/4 mile trail along the shoreline of the Missouri River and boat ramp provide excellent access to the river. An Iowa fishing license is required for fishing the Missouri River. An Iowa license is required on the backwater chute.

Hunting
The entire area, except for within 200 yards of the campgrounds and other developed sites, is open for public hunting. Deer hunting and duck hunting in the backwater area are the primary sports.

Desoto Wildlife Refuge
Immediately north of Wilson Island is the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is open to the public one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset year round.

The DeSoto Visitor Center, open year-round 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., displays artifacts of the sunken steamboat Bertrand and audio-visual programs depicting Missouri River and wildlife conservation history. For further information on the refuge, contact DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, 1434 316th Lane, Missouri Valley, Iowa 51555, (712)388-4800.

Nearby Towns
Missouri Valley, Iowa is located 11 miles northeast of Wilson Island. The Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area is located 25 miles south of the park.



Nearby Lakes

Nobles
DeSoto Bend Pond
DeSoto Bend at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
Boyer River (Dunlap to Missouri River)
California Bend
St. John's Lake


Amenities

Within park
Bicycling, Bird Watching, Boat Launch Ramp, Boating, Camping - Electric, Camping - Youth Group, Cross Country Skiing, Dock, Fishing, Dump Station, Firewood Sales, Fishing, Hiking, Hunting, Jogging/Running, Modern Campground, Picnic Area, Picnic Shelter, Playground, Restrooms, River, Showers, Snowmobiling, Wildflower Viewing, Wildlife Viewing

Less than a mile
More than a mile
ATM/Cash Machine, Church, Fuel, Vehicles, Grocery Store, Historic Sites, Interpretive Center, Retail, Bait & Tackle, Retail, Drinks, Retail, Ice, Retail, Snacks



Return
Iowa's State Parks and Forests
State Park County City Reservation Information
Ambrose A. Call State Park Kossuth County Algona Reservation Information - Ambrose A. Call
Backbone State Park Delaware County Dundee Reservation Information - Backbone
Badger Creek State Recreation Area Madison County Van Meter No reservable facilities
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Beeds Lake State Park Franklin County Hampton Reservation Information - Beeds Lake
Bellevue State Park Jackson County Bellevue Reservation Information - Bellevue
Big Creek State Park Polk County Polk City Reservation Information - Big Creek
Blackburn State Park Fremont County Thurman City No reservable facilities
Black Hawk State Park Sac County Lake View Reservation Information - Black Hawk
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area Webster County Lehigh Reservation Information - Brushy Creek
Cedar Rock Buchanan County Independence No reservable facilities
Clear Lake State Park Cerro Gordo County Clear Lake Reservation Information - Clear Lake
Dolliver Memorial State Park Webster County Lehigh Reservation Information - Dolliver
Elinor Bedell State Park Dickinson County Spirit Lake Reservation Information - Dickinson
Elk Rock State Park Marion County Knoxville Reservation Information - Elk Rock
Emerson Bay State Recreation Area Dickinson County Milford Reservation Information - Emerson Bay
Fairport State Recreation Area Muscatine County Muscatine Reservation Information - Fairport
Fort Atkinson State Preserve Winneshiek County Fort Atkinson No reservable facilities
Fort Defiance State Park Emmet County Estherville Reservation Information - Fort Defiance
Geode State Park Henry County Danville Reservation Information - Geode
George Wyth State Park Black Hawk County Waterloo Reservation Information - George Wyth
Green Valley State Park Union County Creston Reservation Information - Green Valley
Gull Point State Park Dickinson County Milford Reservation Information - Gull Point
Honey Creek Resort Appanoose County Moravia Reservation Information - Honey Creek Resort
Honey Creek State Park Appahoose County Moravia Reservation Information - Honey Creek
Lacey Keosauqua State Park Van Buren County Keosauqua Reservation Information - Lacey Keosauqua
Lake Ahquabi State Park Warren County Indianola Reservation Information - Lake Ahquabi
Lake Anita State Park Cass County Anita Reservation Information - Lake Anita
Lake Darling State Park Washington County Brighton Reservation Information - Lake Darling
Lake Keomah State Park Mahaska County Oskaloosa Reservation Information - Lake Keomah
Lake Macbride State Park Johnson County Solon Reservation Information - Lake Macbride
Lake Manawa State Park Pottawattamie County Council Bluffs Reservation Information - Lake Manawa
Lake of Three Fires State Park Taylor County Bedford Reservation Information - Lake of Three Fires
Lake Wapello State Park Davis County Drakesville Reservation Information - Lake Wapello
Ledges State Park Boone County Madrid Reservation Information - Ledges
Lewis and Clark State Park Monona County Onawa Reservation Information - Lewis and Clark
Lower Gar State Recreation Area Dickinson County Arnolds Park No reservable facilities
Loess Hills State Forest HarrisonCounty Pisgah No reservable facilities
Maquoketa Caves State Park Jackson County Maquoketa Reservation Information - Maquoketa Caves
Marble Beach State Recreation Area Dickinson County Orleans Reservation Information - Marble Beach
McIntosh Woods State Park Cerro Gordo County Ventura Reservation Information - McIntosh Woods
Mines of Spain State Rec Area Dubuque County Dubuque No reservable facilities
Mini-Wakan State Park Dickinson County Spirit Lake No reservable facilities
Nine Eagles State Park Decatur County Davis City Reservation Information - Nine Eagles
Okamanpedan State Park Emmet County Dolliver No reservable facilities
Palisades-Kepler State Park Linn County Mt. Vernon Reservation Information - Palisades-Kepler
Pikes Peak State Park Clayton County McGregor Reservation Information - Pikes Peak
Pikes Point State Park Dickinson County Spirit Lake Reservation Information - Pikes Point
Pilot Knob State Park Hancock County Forest City Reservation Information - Pilot Knob
Pine Lake State Park Hardin County Eldora Reservation Information - Pine Lake
Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area Linn County Palo Reservation Information - Pleasant Creek
Prairie Rose State Park Shelby County Harlan Reservation Information - Prairie Rose
Preparation Canyon State Park Monona County Moorhead No reservable facilities
Red Haw State Park Lucas County Chariton Reservation Information - Red Haw
Rice Lake State Park Winnebago County Lake Mills No reservable facilities
Rock Creek State Park Jasper County Kellogg Reservation Information - Rock Creek
Shimek State Forest Van Buren County Farmington Reservation Information - Shimek
Springbrook State Park Guthrie County Guthrie Center Reservation Information - Springbroook
Stephens State Forest Lucas County Lucas Reservation Information - Stephens
Stone State Park Woodbury County Sioux City Reservation Information - Stone
Templar State Recreation Area Dickinson County Spirit Lake Reservation Information - Templar
Trappers Bay State Park Dickinson County Spirit Lake No reservable facilities
Twin Lakes State Park Calhoun County Rockwell City Reservation Information - Twin Lakes
Union Grove State Park Tama County Gladbrook Reservation Information - Union Grove
Viking Lake State Park Montgomery County Stanton Reservation Information - Viking Lake
Volga River State Recreation Area Fayette County Fayette Reservation Information - Volga River
Walnut Woods State Park Polk County West Des Moines Reservation Information - Walnut Woods
Wapsipinicon State Park Jones County Anamosa Reservation Information - Wapsipinicon
Waubonsie State Park Fremont County Hamburg Reservation Information - Waubonsie
Wildcat Den State Park Muscatine County Muscatine Reservation Information - Wildcat Den
Wilson Island State Recreation Area Pottawattamie County Missouri Valley Reservation Information - Wilson Island
Yellow River State Forest Allamakee County Harpers Ferry Reservation Information - Yellow River