Bellevue State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Located along the shores of the Mississippi River in Iowa, Bellevue State Park offers some of the finest natural wonders in the state, as well as local history and archaeological sites. Whether you’re visiting for the day or staying a week, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy at Bellevue State Park.

A 250-foot high limestone bluff gives you a panoramic view of America’s most famous river. Head to the South Bluff Nature Center to learn more about animals unique to the state, as well as more about the area’s native trees and plants.

You’ll see more than just natural beauty whenever you take an RV visit to Bellevue State Park. Archaeological sites nearby will give you a taste of the state’s history dating back to the 1300’s. Indian Mounds and the Pulpit Rock give you a window into another world, allowing you to travel back in time and learn more about America’s native cultures. There are so many natural wonders to explore and history to discover when you take that RV road trip to Iowa.

RV Rentals in Bellevue State Park

Transportation in Bellevue State Park

Driving

Bellevue State Park is located on the shores of the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa. It is just 21 miles from Dubuque, so you can reach the park in around half an hour. If you are coming from Iowa City, you can reach the park in a little under two hours if you take IA-1 and US-151.

The park is around a three-hour drive from Chicago, and can also easily be reached from Madison, Wisconsin. Once you reach the park, there are easy-to-navigate roads, so you should have no issues finding your campsite. The campgrounds are located at a site south of the main areas of the park. You’ll have easy access to the river as well as to the Nature Center and the park’s main trails.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Bellevue State Park

Campsites in Bellevue State Park

Reservations camping

Campground at the Dyas Unit

You’ll find over 50 sites located in the Dyas Unit campground for RVs, trailers, and tents. Located just south of most of the park’s main attractions, the campground offers multiple different options depending on what type of RV you have and how much privacy you would like. All of the campsites are within walking distance of the Mississippi River.

There are facilities located in the campground and roads that provide easy access to all of the campsites. Most sites offer electric hookups so you should have no issues powering up. Water is available but is sometimes shut off during the winter. Only one site offers full hookups and five sites have no hookups at all, making them more suitable for tent camping. Restrooms and showers are centrally located.

The campground tends to be busiest during the summer. If you are planning a visit then, you should book well in advance. The sites have different max lengths, but some sites can accommodate a trailer or RV up to 66 feet long. All of the sites allow pets.

First-come first-served

First-Come, First-Served

A quarter of the campsites at this campground are only available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Bellevue State Park

In-Season

Hiking

No matter what kind of hike you’re looking for, you’ll find something for you at Bellevue State Park. Take a relaxing walk that will lead you through the Butterfly Garden, where you can see a beautiful mix of flowers and many different species of butterflies.

Feeling a bit more adventurous? Take a hike on the Quarry Trail and get to see a lime kiln at the end of the trail. You’ll also have access to the Indian Mounds that dot the area. One of the most park’s best views can be reached by hiking up to the top of a limestone bluff overlooking the river. The hike can be strenuous, but you’ll be glad you made the effort when you’re 250 feet above the Mississippi River.

Hunting

If you are looking for a great area for seasonal hunting and RV camping, you’ll find it at Bellevue State Park. There are hundreds of acres of land planted with tall grass, with a steady population of deer, turkey, and pheasants. You’ll find excellent sight lines and plenty of varied terrains to make your hunts interesting.

The hunting season is fairly short, so make sure to schedule your trip at the right time. As it is a state park, the hunting regulations are strictly enforced.

Visiting the South Bluff Nature Center and Butterfly Garden

Open seasonally, the South Bluff Nature Center will give you the chance to see some of the state’s local animals face-to-face. You’ll also find a variety of native flora and fauna that will give you an appreciation of the region’s natural wonders.

Head to the nearby Butterfly Garden to see a mix of perennial and annual flowers and dozens of different butterfly species. Over 50 different species call the garden home from spring to fall.

Make sure you time your RV visit so that you don’t miss out on the Nature Center, as it is closed during the winter.

Off-Season

Bird Watching

Butterflies aren’t the only flying wildlife you can catch a glimpse of around Bellevue State Park. Come any time of the year to see the different birds on offer in Iowa. Bird watching is an excellent way to make even more of the extensive hikes and trails on offer at the park.

Grab your binoculars and hike up to the limestone bluff to get a view of the different birds of the park from up high. There are dozens of different species for you to see. And what’s on offer will always change throughout the year, so you’ll be able to see something new every time you come back to the park.

Archery

Test your archery skills any time of year during your RV stay at Bellevue State Park. Located in the Nelson Unit of the park, and just a quick walk from the campsites, you’ll find ranges where you can practice your bowmanship. It’s a great activity for the whole family. Compete with your family to see who is the most accurate. Once you’re done, you can stretch your legs on one of the many easy to access trails, or head to a picnic area to have lunch and relax.

Jogging and Running

No matter what time of year, you’ll find perfect trails for your jogs or runs throughout Bellevue State Park. Take a run through the Indian Mounds that can be found in the park. Or run up the Quarry Trail for a serious workout that will have you out of breath.

Dogs are allowed on all of the park’s trails, if you want a companion on your runs. Whether you want an early spring run to shake off the winter’s cold, or a jog through the warm colors of autumn, you’ll find the perfect trail at Bellevue State Park.

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