Lewis and Clark State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Situated on the banks of Blue Lake, Lewis and Clark State Park, Iowa, is a perfect place for a midwest RV getaway. Consisting of 176 acres, the park is located in Monona County and has the 250 acre Blue Lake available for you to use all year round. The park has many activities and amenities, including picnicking, boating, camping, swimming, and fishing.

The park is named after Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark. These men were commissioned by President Jefferson in 1804 to head an expedition into the northwest to explore the vast territory purchased from France. Lewis and Clark led 256 men on the expedition up the Missouri River from St. Louis by keelboat. Lewis and Clark spent time at the site where the state park is now on August 9th and 10th in 1804.

In a tribute to the explorers there is a full-size reproduction of Lewis and Clark's keelboat on display in the park that was constructed by local volunteers and park staff.

The camping ground at Lewis and Clark State Park is well equipped with 93 electric and 13 full hook up camp sites. The site pads are very big and can accommodate RV's up to 90' in length. The campgrounds are open year round and peak season is from May to September.

RV Rentals in Lewis and Clark State Park

Transportation in Lewis and Clark State Park

Driving

Lewis and Clark State Park is a very accessible state park that is located roughly in between the cities of Sioux City and Omaha. I-29 is the closest major road to the park, while Onawa is the closest town. During the wintertime there is a high probability of snow, so make sure you check the weather radar before beginning your journey to the park.

If you are coming from Omaha, follow I-29 North for around 60 miles exit 112. Turn left onto IA-175 West for around 2 miles and then turn left onto Park Loop. Continue on the loop until you reach the park entrance.

Driving from Sioux City, take I-29 South for 35 miles. Take exit 112 for IA-175 and then turn right onto IA-175 West. Turn right onto Park Loop and then proceed to the park entrance.

From Norfolk, take US-275 East for 23 miles. Turn left onto NE-51 East for 35 miles and then turn left onto NE-51 East. Turn left onto 12th St and then take a right on NE-51 E/W 7th St. Drive over the border to Iowa and take IA-175 East for 4 and a half miles. Continue for around a mile and a half to park loop. Turn left onto park loop and continue to the park entrance.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Lewis and Clark State Park

Campsites in Lewis and Clark State Park

Reservations camping

Onawa / Blue Lake KOA

Onawa / Blue Lake KOA is located in the heart of the Loess Hills and offers guests a chance to relax in a scenic and tranquil setting. The campground is lush with grassy areas and shaded by mature trees. The lake is an excellent spot for fishing and boating and features gorgeous sunsets year round. There’s a pool, plus fun cycles and paddle boats to rent. Free Wi-Fi and full park access is granted to all guests. Sites can accommodate rigs of up to 93 feet and propane and firewood are available on-site for purchase. The park is also just down the road from the Blackbird Bend Casino and the Onawa Raceway and Events Complex.

Lewis and Clark Campgrounds

The campground is a great place for an RV vacation in the outdoors. The campground is well equipped with 93 electric and 13 full hook up camp sites and some have beautiful lake views. The electric sites are compatible with 50 amp hookups and all sites in the campground are pet friendly. There are also three water collection points on the eastern side for you to use if you aren't staying at a full hookup site. A shower and restroom block is located in the middle of the campgrounds. You can also find a dump station to the south of the toilets and showers.

Other amenities include a playground, picnic area, horseshoe pits, trash dumpster, fish cleaning station and concessions are available from the visitor center. If you forget any supplies there is a grocery store and gas station within 10 miles of the park.

Reservations can be made up to three months in advance and must be made at least two days before your trip. If you don't need a full hookup site we recommend choosing a site between 1-50 so you can take advantage of the lake views.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Lewis and Clark State Park

In-Season

Lake Activites

The 250 acre Blue Lake is a great place to spend some time in the summer. There is a swimming beach on the lake that is perfect for cooling off or soaking up some rays. If you are a boating fan there is a double boat ramp available that makes getting on the lake very easy. You don't have to worry about motor restrictions either as there are none. There are no boats or kayaks available for rent in the park so you must bring your own.

Lewis and Clark Festival

During the summertime Lewis and Clark State Park is home to the Lewis and Clark Festival. First held in 1984, the festival features movies about the 1804 expedition, bluegrass music, historic presentations and buckskinners in frontier dress. The festival takes place during June each year, so make sure you check out the Lewis and Clark State Park website to see if you will be there during the festivities. Note that when the festival is on, the park will be busy, so camping reservations are a must.

Keelboat Display

While visiting Lewis and Clark State Park, you should check out some history of the area that is on display. The park is home to a full-sized reproduction of Lewis and Clark's keelboat/barge, "Best Friend". The display room of the keelboat offers visitors the chance to see all of the boats that were utilized on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The other replica boats on display include two pirogues, The Iron Boat, a dug-out canoe, and a bull boat. There are also many informative pieces from the expedition.

Off-Season

Picnicking

If you are a fan of picnicking, Lewis and Clark State Park is the place for you. The park is a very popular area for family picnics and has more than 30 acres of picnic grounds with tables, fire grills and drinking water available to all visitors. There are also two open picnic shelters that are available for picnic use on a first-come, first-serve basis. These spots may be rented through the park office, so if you want to book them you have the ability to do so.

Birdwatching

The birdwatching at Lewis and Clark State Park can be phenomenal due to the combination of the lake and woodlands. These two different environments means that the area attracts different types of birds. Blue Lake has wetland on the south side where you will be able to find waterfowl and marsh species, along with the odd common gallinule, american bittern, and other waders. Inside the park the woodland area is a hub for marsh birds when they are in season.

Hiking

Lewis and Clark State Park is a great place if you are a fan of going for a leisurely hike. The park features a section of the Lewis and Clark Trail that people follow to recreate the famous exploration. While there aren't many challenging trails for experienced hikers, you will be able to see a variety of trees and shrubs. If you are lucky you might be able to also spot some local wildlife, which includes rabbits, squirrels and deer.

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