Pilot Knob State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Pilot Knob State Park is a campground located in Forest City, Iowa. It is a 700-acre park with plenty for you to see and enjoy, from viewing wildlife to fishing. A major feature of the park is climbing up the tower on "Pilot Knob," which provides awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscape. The tower was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and gives you a view of the fertile farmland and park property surrounding it.

Pilot Knob State Park also has lakes that you can enjoy. There is a man-made lake that you can fish in and enjoy boating across. Only boats with electric motors are allowed in the lake, but you can enjoy fishing via boat or from the shores. There is also a floating sphagnum bog lake in the park, where you can view native flora and fauna, from waterfowl to flowers.

Pilot Knob State Park has a campground that offers electrical hookups for your RV, as well as modern restroom facilities, including showers. There is a playground located close to the campground for your children to enjoy. There is also a warming house at the park for use during winter activities.

RV Rentals in Pilot Knob State Park

Transportation in Pilot Knob State Park

Driving

Pilot Knob State Park is located in Iowa and is close to Forest City, being slightly southeast of the town. You can easily reach the park by traveling several miles east of Forest City on Highway 9. You will then go south on 205th Avenue until you reach the entrance to the park. Once in the park, you will be able to check in to your campsite.

Pilot Knob State Park should be relatively easy for you to get to, as it is surrounded by rolling farmland, rather than steep mountains, although general cautions are advised when driving with your camping trailer or RV. You will want to exercise extra caution if you travel during the winter, however, as the going can get tough with snowy conditions.

Once in the park, you will need to find your campsite. The sites are located around several loops around the campground, so you are going to want directions from the park office after you check in. You can bring your boat with you when you come camping. Horseback riding is allowed in the park, so some space in the parking lot will be taken up by trucks and trailers. Note that you cannot camp overnight with your horse.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Pilot Knob State Park

Campsites in Pilot Knob State Park

Reservations camping

Albert Lea / Austin KOA

A stay at the Albert Lea/Austin KOA is a great way to enjoy all that Minnesota has to offer. Located just outside of Albert Lea in Hayward, Minnesota, this campground could be the perfect setting for your next trip. Here, you can enjoy the lakes, biking paths, and hiking trails the local area has to offer. To the north, the bustling city of Minneapolis has plenty of shopping, museums, and restaurants to fit any style. Check out the Mall of America, or the Diamond Jo Casino. The campground has a variety of activities available, too, including crafts like tie-dye and pottery painting. In addition to pull-through RV sites that can host up to an 85-foot rig, this campground has two different styles of cabins available as well. All RV sites have full hookups and can accommodate up to 50 maximum amps. Other amenities include a pool and Wi-Fi, while the camp store sells a variety of goods including propane and firewood.

Pilot Knob State Park Campground

Pilot Knob State Park Campground offers tent and RV camping sites located around the 700 acre state-owned property. The majority of the sites are reservation only. Some of the sites offer electrical hookups, while others offer the opportunity for primitive camping without hookups. There is also a sanitary dump station that RV campers can utilize when you are staying at the campground.

The campground offers multiple handicapped-accessible sites, as well as restrooms. The campground offers modern restrooms with hot showers, so you can rinse off after a day of hiking or fishing. The campground also has a nearby playground, so children can have something to do while you are out and about the campsite. There are also two picnic pavilions available if you are coming with a group of people. You can purchase firewood locally to use in the park.

First-come first-served

Pilot Knob State Park Campground

Approximately one quarter of the campsites available at Pilot Knob State Park are kept available for first-come, first-served. These sites offer the same amenities as the reservation-only campsites, including that some of the sites offer electrical hookups. One site even offers electric, water, and sewer hookups. You will have access to modern restroom facilities and showers, and your children can utilize the playground in the area of the campground while you are there.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Pilot Knob State Park

In-Season

Hiking

There are plenty of trails at Pilot Knob State Park for you to explore when you come with your friends and family, so make sure you pack anything you might need for a hiking excursion, like well-worn boots, in your RV. Some of the trails are for equestrian use, so you might be sharing the trail with horses. The main trail is less than a half-mile out and back again, but there is still plenty for you to check out, such as the tower at Pilot Knob.

Boating

On your trip to Pilot Knob State Park, you might want to bring your boat in addition to your camping trailer or RV. The man-made lake that you can boat across is 15 acres, and your boat must have an electrical motor to be used in the lake. You cannot boat in the smaller, floating sphagnum bog lake. The park has handicapped access, so everyone in the family can enjoy your trip to the park.

Fishing

When you come to Pilot Knob State Park, make sure you pack your fishing gear in your campervan or camping trailer. You will want your bait and tackle with you to enjoy the wonders of the man-made lake that provides ample fishing opportunities. You can fish from the banks of the lake or take a cruise across the lake and fish from your boat. You will need to have a fishing permit to fish in Iowa, which you can get prior to your trip.

Off-Season

Viewing Wildlife

When you come to Pilot Knob State Park in your RV or camping trailer, you will want to be prepared to sit back and enjoy the amazing scenery all around you. Bring a pair of binoculars and relax while bird watching. You can see waterfowl nesting at Iowa's only floating sphagnum bog lake, or see if you can spot any wildlife when you are hiking on the trails around the park. You can even bird watch while you're fishing on the lake.

Picnicking

At Pilot Knob State Park, you will find plenty of places to enjoy a picnic when you come to the park. Plan on bringing easy-to-eat sandwiches in your rig or cook on the grill and spend some time with your friends and family. You can utilize picnic tables or just spread out on the grass. Why not plan to have a picnic after you have gone exploring and bird watching near the sphagnum bog lake or climbing the tower at Pilot Knob?

Winter Activities

When it gets cold outside, there is still plenty to enjoy at Pilot Knob State Park, so if you are coming in the winter, you might want to bring your snowmobile. You can also bring your skis or snowshoes when you pack your RV to come to the park. There is a warming house at the park, so when you need a break from the cold, you can get warm, before heading back out to explore the surrounding areas.

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