Equestrian Camping

Campground amenities and campsite features vary from park to park. Currently, 75% of the equestrian campsites are available for advanced reservations. The remaining 25% of these campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

The state park reservation system provides information on campsites and campground amenities available.

Non-equestrian campers (campers without horses/mules) may camp in equestrian campgrounds, but they must pay the equestrian fee of $4.

The following parks have designated equestrian campgrounds:

  • Brushy Creek State Recreation Area - Webster County 
  • Elk Rock State Park - Marion County 
  • Lake of Three Fires State Park - Taylor County 
  • Nine Eagles State Park - Decatur County 
  • Shimek State Forest - Van Buren County 
  • Stephens State Forest - Lucas County 
  • Volga River State Recreation Area - Fayette County 
  • Waubonsie State Park - Fremont County 
  • Yellow River State Forest - Allamakee County

Make a Reservation - iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com

Equestrian Trails
Equestrian trail riding

You will find a number of parks and forests suited to your needs, including some with equestrian campgrounds.

Equestrian Related Information

Please be aware that equestrian trails may be temporarily closed at any time when trail use or any natural event (such as rain, flooding, snow, thaws) creates conditions that will cause the trail(s) to degrade if further use is allowed. When flooding and consistent rainfall occur, trails could remain closed for an extended period of time until trail conditions improve. Equestrian trails are normally closed during the winter months.

Park staff will update their answering machines when equestrian trails are closed. It is the customer's responsibility to check the status of a park's equestrian trails either by calling the park or checking DNR's website.  All equestrian trail closures will be posted to the State Park Closure Page.

The shortcut to the closure page is iowadnr.gov/parkclosures.

NOTE: Brushy Creek State Recreation Area has 12 miles of rocked all-weather trails which rarely close.

State Park Alerts - Closures and Important Information

Because the campground does not close when equestrian trails are closed, the standard reservation cancellation and change policies apply. See the policies below.

EXCEPTION: If your reservation begins on the same day the trails are closed or the following day, you will be allowed to change the reservation (per the change policy below). This is an exception to the change policy. It was adopted because reservations in this situation are automatically subject to forfeiture of camping fees if the reservation is cancelled. However, if you do not want to change the reservation and decide to go ahead and cancel the reservation, the cancellation policy applies, including forfeiture of fees. The exception applies only to equestrian campsites.

When park staff close equestrian trails, customers whose reservations are scheduled to begin that day or the following day will be notified of the trail closure.  All other equestrian customers with other reservation arrival dates will not be contacted.

Changing Equestrian Campsite Reservations - POLICY
The last day to change a reservation is 4 days prior to arrival. EXCEPTION: If your reservation arrival date is the same date as the trail closing date or the following day, you may change your reservation by calling the call center ONLY (877-427-2757). A $5 change fee applies for each campsite reservation which is changed.

Cancelling Equestrian Campsite Reservations - POLICY
Campers can cancel a reservation up to the day of arrival. All cancellations must be cancelled by calling the call center ONLY (877-427-2757). A cancellation fee applies for each campsite which is cancelled ($5 online/$7 call center). If a camper cancels one day prior to the arrival date, a forfeiture of one night's camping fee applies in addition to the cancellation fee. If a camper cancels the day of arrival, the cancellation fee applies and forfeiture of two night's camping fees.

Changes are currently handled through the call center only.
Call center hours are 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.(CST) Monday through Friday; 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Saturday/Sunday.  The call center is closed on New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

All reservation transaction fees are nonrefundable.

State regulations require horses, mules and donkeys being transported interstate (from one state to another) must have a current Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate) and negative Coggin's test (EIA). This paperwork must accompany the animal into the State of Iowa. Please refer to Iowa Dept of Agriculture Admissions Regulations for more information.

For example, a person from Missouri who wishes to bring their horses, mules or donkeys into Iowa must provide a current Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health paper) which lists the description of the animals, date of a negative Coggin's test (tested within the last twelve months), date of the test, the lab that performed the test and the accession number of the Coggin's test.

Persons transporting horses, mules or donkeys intrastate (within the same state) do not need to carry this paperwork.

This applies to equestrian camping, day-use and trail riding in any Iowa State Park, State Recreation Area or State Forest.