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Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area

Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area in Linn County is a premier outdoor destination for fishing and boating. The state recreation area was developed in the 1960s to create accessible lake recreation for eastern Iowa communities. Several miles of trails, a large lake and nearby hunting help make Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area a popular spot for several year-round recreational activities.


Hike more than eight miles of trails winding through restored prairie and connecting to scenic overlooks. Explore this multi-use trail system while hiking, biking, and horseback riding, or by cross country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter.

Boat in Pleasant Creek Lake, one of the larger lake destinations in eastern Iowa. Any size boat motor may be operated at a “no wake” speed. Four boat ramps and a kayak launching area provide easy access to the water. Kayaking, canoeing, scuba diving and windsurfing are popular lake activities.

The beach is open from 4 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and swimming is only allowed at the designated beach area. Alcohol, glass containers and pets are not allowed within the fenced beach area.

Fish for a variety of species, including muskellunge, channel catfish, largemouth bass, white bass and more. Fishing jetties provide access to shoreline fishing, and all ages and abilities are encouraged to test their fishing skills.

Camp in one of three, non-equestrian campgrounds. The campgrounds contain electric and non-electric sites along with two modern shower and restroom facilities. Rustic, pine log camping cabins are available and offer visitors a sense of the pioneer lifestyle. The seasonal cabins feature microwaves, small refrigerators, basic furnishings and electricity. Advanced campsite and cabin reservations can be made through the online reservation system for Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area. 100% of the campsites are reservable and a reservation is required. The campground accepts reservations April - October and is closed November - March.

Hunt for a variety of game including pheasants, cottontail rabbit and whitetailed deer. Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area is open to public hunting and trapping, and the hunting grounds are groomed to maintain the area’s natural habitat.

Reserve one of three open shelters for family gatherings. Several picnic areas along the northeast and southeast shores are also available for day-use. The shelters and lodge can be reserved through the online reservation system for Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area.

Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area
4530 McClintock Road
Palo, IA 52324
Ph. 319-436-7716

Alcohol is prohibited inside the fenced in designated beach area. Alcohol may not be possessed or consumed within the fenced designated beach area.


  • Hunting
  • Horseback riding
  • Hiking trails
  • Swimming beach
  • Boat ramps (4)
  • Kayak launch
  • Fishing jetties
  • Accessible fishing pier
  • Fish cleaning station
  • Modern restrooms
  • Modern showers
  • Day-use lodge
  • Shelters
  • Camping cabins
  • Electric campsites
  • Full hook-up campsites
  • Non electric campsites
  • Youth-group only campsites
  • Dump station