Stone State Park is situated within the state of Iowa, close to Sioux City and right across the beautiful Big Sioux River. Stone State Park stretches across an area of over 1,000 acres and is surrounded by natural greenery, woodlands and abundant wildlife. Stone State Park is the perfect weekend or vacation spot for families who enjoy nature and love the wilderness. The park has over 45 different species of butterflies alone and over 75 diverse varieties of native plants.
For explorers and adventurers alike, the park offers over 15 miles of walking trails filled with various interpretive signs explaining the history and origins of the park. For bikers and mountain bike enthusiasts, the park offers a challenging six-mile course of dirt trails. Equestrians can also bring along their horse for a day of riding enjoying a six-mile multi-trail.
Stone State Park offers something for everyone and is the ideal pick for your next camping trip. Other facilities present in Stone State Park includes cabins, nature centers, lodges/ shelters, playgrounds for children, secure parking and toilets. The park remains open for campers and visitors throughout the year from 4 am till 10: 30 pm.
Being close to South Dakota and stretching across the famous Big Sioux River, Stone State Park can easily be accessed by both car and RV. Following Interstate 29 and taking exit 151 should bring you to Talbot Road that leads directly to the park entrance. Once inside, you can travel in your vehicle to wherever you want. The park has no specific driving restrictions for vehicles as long as they fall under the size limit. Local roads park lead to the boat launch ramps, nature center, registration center, and many other facilities inside the park. Hospitals, vehicle maintenance stations, motels, ATM facility and RV maintenance stations are all based within a 10-mile radius of park.
Stone State Park offers primitive camping sites that appeal to the more rugged campers and nature lovers. There are 30 campsites in total out of which only nine offer electric hookup. The campgrounds have modern washrooms and showers and most sites are shaded. In addition, a large youth group campsite is also present and is available for use for chaperoned organized youth groups. Campers are encouraged to make reservations in advance to avoid mix-ups. Camping cabins equipped with running water, heating/ cooling system, a fridge, microwave as well as a dining area and attached restroom can also be reserved for a luxury outdoor retreat. Vehicle parking is just a short distance away from these camping sites. The RV campsites offer disability access and each site has a picnic table and fire pit. Campers can stay up to 14 days at a time with generator use restricted to only park timings.
Filled with multiple hiking trails, Stone State Park offers day use hiking trails that stretch for more than eight miles. These hiking trails wind through some of the most beautiful and amazing scenic areas of the park. The trails lead through virgin woods, vivid wildflowers and over and around the many streams that run through the woodlands into the lakes. To educate hikers on the history of Stone State Park, these trails have signs posted that inform guests about historical facts of the landscape as they hike along. Over six miles of bridle trails are also offered for those that want to enjoy a day out horse riding in the forest lands and rolling hills.
The park has a number of animal and bird species that include many red-eared sliders, painted turtles, migrating waterfowl and great blue herons. At night the sound of barred owls can be heard in campsites echoing from the nearby woodlands. The gravel road close to the dam leads to meadows that attract beautiful birds such as the common yellow-throat and American goldfinches. The park is a haven for bird watchers with numerous exotic bird species stopping at the park during their migration period every year.
A lot of people visit Stone State Park during winters to enjoy a spot of ice fishing on the Big Sioux River. Turtle lake and Big Sioux River are home to a variety of local fish species including large catfish, bluegill and other types of pan fish. Trout can only be found in the winter season while other species can be fished during summer months as well. Visitors can either rent a boat or fish directly from the shore. Visitors can also bring their own fishing equipment or they can rent what they need from a nearby store.
The park offers multiple camping and picnicking options for its visitors. For people who would like to stay close to nature can opt for open shelters that provide a great location for a family get together. Offering stunning views of the Loess Hills, there are several picnic sites spread all across the park. These sites have picnic tables, fire pits and are situated close to bathroom facilities. For people who prefer a bit more privacy, there are lodges available that are big enough to handle family gatherings and even wedding ceremonies. For an even more private picnic experience, there are cabins located near the campgrounds that are completely secluded and equipped with heating/air cooling systems as well as a separate restrooms that offer added comfort and privacy.
During the winter season, people from all across the state visit Stone State Park to enjoy skiing and other winter related activities. In winter, the various hiking trails are transformed for the purpose of cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The trails are maintained in excellent condition which makes Stone State Park a great place to enjoy snowboarding, snowmobiling, skiing, and snowshoeing activities.
The abundance of fauna and flora that live in this largely untouched and rugged terrain is not only amazing to look at but also quite educational, especially for kids. The Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center is located in the southwest corner of the park and offers rich cultural and historic displays of the wildlife, traditions and history of the landscape.