Waubonsie State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Located in the Loeb Hills of southwestern Iowa, Waubonsie State Park is a hiker’s dream, with miles of trails to explore. With a unique topography shaped by the retreat of glaciers over ten thousand years ago, Waubonsie State Park resembles the badlands of the US west, making it one of the most distinctive parks in the region.

You’ll find more than just hiking when you visit Waubonsie State Park. The seven-acre Lake Virginia is well stocked with a wide variety of fish species, making it an excellent location for those that want to try their hand at fishing. During the winter, the park’s network of trails turns into the perfect cross-country skiing course, allowing you to explore the park as it turns into a snowy wonderland.

There are two main campgrounds for RV campers, offering a wide range of sites with different amenities, depending on your needs. No matter the size of your rig, you’ll be able to find a site that fits.

RV Rentals in Waubonsie State Park

Transportation in Waubonsie State Park

Driving

Located in southwestern Iowa, Waubonsie State Park is within driving distance of many cities in the region, making it easy to reach on your next RV trip. If you are coming from Des Moines, take I-80 and you will arrive at the park in two and a half hours. If you are driving from Kansas City, take I-29 and you will be able to reach the park in around two hours. The park is also easy to reach from major cities in Nebraska like Omaha and Lincoln. At the park, you’ll be able to reach the two main campgrounds easily, as there are no RV restrictions throughout the park.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Waubonsie State Park

Campsites in Waubonsie State Park

Reservations camping

Equestrian Campground

This campground has 26 sites which offer a rustic experience that you bring you in touch with nature. While there are no showers or restrooms within the campground, there is access to drinking water. Plus, all of the sites come with a picnic table and a fire pit.

Specifically built for equestrians, this campground provides corrals, water hydrants, and manure bunkers. There are trails that can be accessed directly from the campground, so it is easy to connect to the other areas of the park.

Waubonsie State Park Campground

There are 20 sites, half of which have electrical hookups. All of the sites have picnic tables and grill pits. The campground also features drinking water, showers, and restrooms. You’ll have easy access to all of the park’s main areas, and there are hiking trails that begin in the campground. Reservations can be made up to three months in advance. RVs and trailers up to 100 feet long can be accommodated. Plus, you can camp with your pet.

First-come first-served

First Come, First Served

In addition to the sites that can be reserved online, there are a few sites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These sites make up about a quarter of the total in the campground. If you plan on visiting during the busier summer months, you are advised to call ahead to see what the status is of the campsites.

During off season from November through March, all of the sites, both at the equestrian campground and the main campground, are walk-in.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Waubonsie State Park

In-Season

Boating

If you want a more active way to explore the waters, take a canoe or kayak out onto the lake. Lake Virginia is just seven acres, but there’s still enough shoreline to explore. Relax on the waters on a hot summer day and soak in the scenic views of the forest shaded shorelines.

There are no boat rentals, so you’ll need to bring your own when you visit the park. And there is also no boat launch, although getting a boat onto the water from the shore is easy.

Fishing

In addition to its miles of hiking trails, you’ll find plenty to do on the water at Waubonsie State Park. Take a boat out onto Lake Virginia. The lake is well stocked with a variety of fish species such as channel catfish, bluegill, and largemouth bass. There is a boat ramp, so getting out onto the water is easy.

Fishing is great just about any time of year, but best from April through September. The bass fishing is excellent during the summer.

Hiking

There are miles of scenic hiking trails that let you explore every corner of the park. With over seven miles of trails, you’ll have plenty of ground to cover when you visit the park.

Take a walk along the Sunset Ridge Interpretive Trail to learn more about the local plant and wildlife and soak in the park’s natural wonders.

The hiking is best from April through October, and really stands out during the fall. Come as the leaves turn and explore the rolling terrain. The lookouts give you beautiful panoramic views of the park.

Off-Season

Horseback Riding

Another great way to explore the park is on horseback. You can use the many miles of trails leading throughout the park as horse trails. Riding in the park is excellent no matter when you visit, but truly exceptional during the fall. The autumn colors in the forests are some of the most beautiful in all of Iowa.

The large equestrian camp gives you plenty of space for your rig if you plan on bringing a horse to the park. Take extra caution, as the trails are shared with hikers.

Snowmobiling

If you want a faster way around the park, bring a snowmobile with your rig and explore the Loeb Hills at high speed.

The park’s network of trails makes an excellent launching point for longer rides through the areas that surround the park. You’ll be able to connect to an extensive network of trails, giving you hundreds of miles of ground to cover.

Do note that the trails are shared with hiker and skiers, so take extra caution, especially when going around corners.

Cross-Country Skiing

If you visit the park during the winter, consider bringing a pair of skis in your camper. The park’s extensive network of trails turns into a scenic cross-country skiing course during the colder months of the year. You’ll be able to explore the snowy forests and catch a glimpse of the many species of animals that still populate the park during the winter.

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