DOTW: Walnut Woods State Park

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Registered: 03-22-2003
DOTW: Walnut Woods State Park
Mon, 08-04-2003 - 3:16pm
Walnut Woods State Park is located on the outskirts of Des Moines,Iowa. A short time

ago Chris (txchris) asked for RV information. She spoke of a cross state bike trek that

might find them "camping in a corn field in Iowa". Curiosity led me to check out what

other kinds of camping Iowa might offer. Turns out there's a lot, and this place sounded terrific. Names like Raccoon River and Walnut Woods made me think of the Ingalls family!

Didn't they spend some time in Iowa,too? Just where was their Walnut Grove located,anyone know?

Walnut Woods State Park

The park provides shaded picnic areas with fire grills and tables. Many are located close to the river for easy access to fishing.

The popular lodge is an outstanding feature of the park. It is a beautiful setting for weddings, family reunions, holiday parties and business meetings. The lodge was built in the 1930s of limestone brought in from an eastern Iowa quarry and rough-cut hand-filled lumber. The lodge is available for rental on a reservation basis.


The shady campground is a popular place for a family "get-a-way." There are 28 campsites (8 with electrical hookups) and non-modern sanitary facilities. The campsites are nestled among shade trees and have gravel pads, picnic tables and fireplaces. Camping permits are obtained by self-registration at the campground. Camping Fees can be paid at the site.


Walnut Woods is open year-round and is perfect for cross-country skiing. There are approximately two and one-half miles of trails.

RIVER ACTIVITIES ( boating, fishing)

The park is located right along the Raccoon River which offers great fishing and canoeing opportunities. You can fish from the river bank or put your boat in the water at the boat ramp located on the west end of the park. Walnut Woods encompasses 260 acres of wooded bottomland along the Raccoon River. Within the park lies a large surviving natural stand of black walnut trees. More than 90 species of birds have been identified along the numerous foot and bridle trails throughout the park and along the river.

The valley in which Walnut Woods is located was created by the meandering of the Raccoon River. Since the park elevation is not much higher than the normal river level, constant changes can be seen in its banks. The most dramatic is where the river channel runs against the western edge of the park. Constant churning and washing in the past removed tons of soil, sand and gravel. In the mid-1980s, the most vulnerable areas of the riverbank were protected by rock "riprap" and special jetties designed to minimize erosion.

Located only minutes southwest of Des Moines, the park provides shaded picnic areas with fireplaces and tables and peaceful spots for river fishing. The park is open year-round and is perfect for cross-county skiing with 2 1/2 miles of ski trails. A pleasant equestrian trail is also located in the park.

For more information about the park go to:

email them at:

phone number: 515-285-4502

While I might be interested in seeing an Iowa cornfield that goes on for miles and miles,

if I were camping there,I think I'd pick Walnut Woods!