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Lake Manawa State Park

Lake Manawa is one of western Iowa’s premier spots for boating, hiking or just relaxing outdoors. More than 1,500 acres surround the lake, originally constructed in 1881 after a Missouri River flood. It continues to be a major outdoor recreation center for thousands of visitors. “Manawa” is a Native American term meaning peace and comfort, making it the perfect spot to read a book, have a picnic or enjoy the outdoors during your visit.


Hike the trail system that runs through Council Bluffs by traveling along the Wabash Trace Trail and the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge. A paved nature trail offers easy access for anyone wanting to bike or walk at their own pace. For those feeling a bit more adventurous, eight miles of unpaved trails are perfect for mountain biking. These trails can be accessed near the south side of the park.

Enjoy camping beside Lake Manawa in the newly constructed campground. Camping reservations can be made online through the online reservation system for Lake Manawa State Park, and 100 percent of campsites are reservable and a reservation is required. The campground accepts reservations April 15 - October 15 and is closed October 16 - April 14th.

Play at Lake Manawa’s Dream Playground constructed in 2018. The re-designed structure is the largest ADA accessible playground in Iowa and offers 18,000 square feet of fun for all ages and abilities.

Boat on Lake Manawa or rent a paddle board, canoe or kayak to the Missouri River. Boat motors of any size are allowed, and boat ramps are located on the north, south and west sides of the lake. Sailing opportunities are offered by the Lake Manawa Sailing Association from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. The modern beach facility is perfect for swimming or relaxing in the sun.

M and M Services at Lake Manawa Beach is open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Hours of operation: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. 7 days/week or call 712-366-4802.

Lake Manawa Sailing Association hours of operation: Monday-Friday 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Please call 712-256-3832 for more information.

Fishing is a popular activity for anglers of all ages. Crappie, bluegill, catfish, walleye and bass fish are waiting to be caught throughout the year. Amenities include a fishing jetty, shoreline fishing, accessible pier, boat ramps, and a fish cleaning station.

Reserve a shelter online for a family gathering at Lake Manawa. One of the shelters has a kitchenette, and two offer electricity. An additional shelter is available for rent through the concessionaire by calling (712) 366-4802. Check out the online reservation system for Lake Manawa State Park.

Lake Manawa State Park
1100 South Shore Dr
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
Ph. 712-366-0220
Fax 712-366-0474

Lake Manawa Water levels: Lake Manawa, located within Lake Manawa State Park, continues to experience abnormally low water levels that may impact recreation opportunities. Members of the public should be aware that due to the decreased water levels there may be an increased risk of hazards when launching vessels on public and private boat docks. Due to lowered water levels we are encouraging members of the public to exercise caution when boating near the shore on any part of the lake and especially in the southeast portion of the lake near "Tin Can Dike". In addition, the area off the north point of the lake is also shallower and boaters should exercise caution as they may not be able to get as close to the point as they could in years past. Water levels in oxbow lakes adjacent to the Missouri River, including Lake Manawa, are lower than normal due to dry conditions in western Iowa and historic low flows in the Missouri River. The current drought period in Western Iowa began in 2020. Climate conditions over the last three years are some of the driest three-year periods in the 128-year record for the region. In the past two years, annual runoff was at least 25 percent below normal levels. Local average annual precipitation is also below normal for the area, contributing to the low water conditions at Lake Manawa. Lake Manawa, like many other oxbow lakes, is characterized by a small watershed drainage area relative to the size of the lake and a localized water recharge area. Oxbow lakes form when a curve (or meander) in a river finds a shorter path, effectively isolating the old curve to form an oxbow lake in a low-lying plain near the side of the river. Water levels in these lakes are highly influenced by nearby river and groundwater levels. The DNR will continue to divert from Mosquito Creek to the lake as long as the water clarity is maintained; however, this will not have a significant impact on lake water levels. The Lake Manawa State Park Staff along with Conservation Officers, Water Patrol and our Fisheries Biologist will continue to monitor lake levels and adjust the location of buoys as necessary.


  • Sand volleyball court
  • Hiking trails
  • Playground; ADA accessible
  • Swimming beach
  • Concessions
  • Sailboating
  • Paddlesport rental
  • Boat rental
  • Boat ramps
  • Fishing jetty
  • Fishing pier; ADA accessible
  • Fish cleaning station
  • Shelters
  • Modern restrooms
  • Youth group only campsites
  • Firewood sales
  • Horseshoe pits