Lake of Three Fires State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Located in southwestern Iowa, Lake of Three Fires State Park is a relaxing RV camping getaway with excellent hunting, fishing, and hiking. The 85-acre lake has some of the best fishing in the area, its waters packed with crappie, walleye, bluegill, and channel catfish. There are also ten miles of trails that take you through the beautiful old growth oak and hickory forests. The trails are multipurpose, and can be used by mountain bikers and horseback riders, as well as cross-country skiers and snowmobilers during the winter.

Iowa is home to hundreds of bird species, and you’ll be able to spot many of them when you visit Lake of Three Fires State Park. The American white pelican passes through the park during its annual migration, and you’ll also be able to catch a glimpse of the American goldfinch, Iowa’s state bird. The park is also open to hunting in two reserves located on the north and south edges of the park. You’ll find a wide range of game, from deer and waterfowl to fox and rabbit.

There are two main campgrounds in the park, with a combined 102 sites to choose from for your campervan. The campgrounds are just a short walk from the lake, and you’ll have direct access to the full network of hiking trails.

RV Rentals in Lake of Three Fires State Park

Transportation in Lake of Three Fires State Park

Driving

Lake of Three Fires State Park is located in southwestern Iowa, a quick drive from Des Moines and other major cities in the region. The park is accessible, with wide, well maintained roads. There can be some ice in the winter, however, so be prepared for

If you are driving from Des Moines, take I-80 west out of the city and you will get to the park in around two hours. From Kansas City, take I-29 and US-71 and you will reach the park in just over two hours. If you are coming from Omaha, take US-34 east to reach the park in under two hours.

The park’s entrance is just off Lake Road. There is one long, straight road that leads through most of the park, and you should have no problems with a larger rig. However, the roads do get snow and ice during the colder months of the year. If you are visiting during winter, bring snow chains in case of a snow or ice storm.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Lake of Three Fires State Park

Campsites in Lake of Three Fires State Park

Reservations camping

Equestrian Campground

There is also an equestrian camp with 25 sites. All of the sites have a holding pen, hitching post, or corral. About two thirds of the sites are non electric, with the remaining sites featuring electrical hookups. The sites at the standard and equestrian campground can be booked online, and are open year round. All sites must be booked within two days of your arrival, and can be reserved up to three months in advance. The park is a popular destination during the summer, and the sites are often full months in advance. Try to book as soon as possible if you want to visit the park during peak season.

Lake of Three Fires State Campground

The campground within the park has 87 sites to choose from for your campervan, trailer, or rig. Most of these sites do not have hookups of any kind. A quarter of the sites have electrical hookups. You’ll find a picnic table and a fire pit at every site, and pets are allowed within the campground. There are modern restrooms with flush toilets and showers located in the campground.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Lake of Three Fires State Park

In-Season

Hiking

Lake of Three Fires State Park is a great choice for RV campers interested in stretching their legs. You’ll find miles of trails leading through the hundreds of acres of woodlands surrounding the lake. The eight miles of trails are all marked, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding the right path. The difficulty varies by trail, so you should be able to find a hike that is suited to your experience level.

Swimming

The lake is a perfect summertime getaway, with a designated swimming area that features a full sandy beach. The beach is also close to the campgrounds, so you won’t have to go far from your RV to get to the water. The swimming area has a beach volleyball court. There is a playground nearby, as well as multiple picnic tables. You can also easily launch a canoe or kayak from the beach area should you want to explore the 85 acre lake.

Fishing

The park is a popular destination for anglers, with a variety of different fish species found in the Lake of Three Fires. The lake is well stocked with walleye and channel catfish, and you’ll also find other species such as bluegill, crappie, and black bullhead.

The lake is 85 acres, with plenty of small inlets where fish love to gather. The lake has a wide boat launch that is located near the beach area. Motorized boat are allowed, but the lake is no wake. Make sure to follow all Iowa state fishing regulations and catch limits while fishing in the park.

Off-Season

Hunting

Hunters will also find plenty of game at Lake of Three Fires State Park. There is a 220-acre reserve on the north side of the park for hunting, as well as an additional 160 acres along the park’s southern border.

Check with the park office before you hunt to make sure that you are hunting in the right areas as the park. Many areas of the park are restricted and not open to hunting. Always take extra caution, as there are many hikers and day visitors to the park.

Snowmobiling

Wintertime visitors to the park can also suit up and explore the park’s trails on a snowmobile. The trails also lead outside of the park, if you are considering a dayride through the surrounding area. The trails in the park are shared with both skiers and hikers, so be careful when using a snowmobile and coming around corners. The park does not rent gear, so you’ll have to bring what you need with your rig.

Cross-Country Skiing

The park’s eight miles of hiking trails make for a great cross-country skiing course in the winter. If you want to visit the park during the winter, bring a pair of skis along with you.

The frozen shores of the lake are beautiful during the winter, and you’ll still find the forests packed with wildlife, from local birds to dozens of species of mammals. The park does not guarantee the conditions of the trails, so beginner skiers should be prepared for ungroomed trails.

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