Iowa is packed with scenic state parks. In southeastern Iowa, you’ll find a unique gem of a park. Geode State Park is located 20 minutes west of Burlington, 25 minutes south of Mount Pleasant, and a stone’s throw north of West Point. This 1,640-acre park attracts hikers, water enthusiasts, and wildlife viewers from all over.
In 1937, Geode State Park became part of the Iowa State Park system. The area had always been a beautiful picnicking spot for locals. Then, after a group of citizens raised some money and purchased the land, they donated it to the state park system. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built the park to be what it is today. It took 14 years of building and remodeling before the beaches, roads, and buildings were completed.
Geode State Park is named after the sensational rocks found throughout the area. Campers come from all over the world to see these fascinating geodes. Whether you’re looking for precious gems, hiking the trails, or soaking up the sun at Geode Lake, you're sure to make some memories here. Book an RV in Henry County or Des Moines County and get your Iowa vacation started.
Hiking at Geode State Park is a great way to see the lake. The main trail starts at the north end of the lake and loops south. The entire loop is a collection of smaller trails that add up to a distance of just over seven miles and will take you completely around Geode Lake. The loop is dog-friendly as long as pups are on leashes. All Geode State Park trails are rated easy.
The lake is by far the main draw to Geode State Park. Anglers have religiously returned to this lake for its steady supply of fish. This 187-acre lake is chock full of largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, bullhead, tiger muskie, and red-eared sunfish. Iowans have called fishing at Geode Lake a pastime since 1950. You can also bring boats onto the lake, be they motorized or human-powered.
Geode hunting is probably the most unique aspect of the park. Rock collectors and enthusiasts will scour the area looking for these natural wonders. It's illegal to remove geodes from the park. While there's a surplus, a finite number of geodes are naturally found in the park.
Camping at Geode State Park
Geode State Park campers have over 130 campsites to pick from, 96 of which have water and 30-amp electrical hookups. You’ll find two modern shower buildings that provide hot showers and public toilets year-round. Dump stations are available for those RV camping at Geode State Park. The campsites are both back-in and pull-through. If you’d like to book a campsite in advance, you can do so online. Half of the park’s sites are first-come, first-served. The maximum length for camper rentals is 50 feet.
Geode State Park also offers a dock for anglers and a fish cleaning station on which to prepare their catches. The whole park has water access to Geode Lake. If you’re looking to picnic, Geode State Park is one of the most popular picnicking spots in southeastern Iowa. A picnic area and picnic shelter are also available to day-use visitors and campers at Geode State Park.
Exploring the Area
Just south of the park is West Point, Iowa. This town is home to the West Point Museum, which displays artifacts donated by the Historical Society members. Take a guided tour of the museum, where you’ll learn all about the neat artifacts, as well as stories about the history of the area. The collection is expanding all the time. If you’re an American history buff, make sure to add West Point Museum to your itinerary.
If you’re looking to take a day trip to explore the area, why not try the greater Burlington area? This charming space is rich with history and attractions. Burlington is located right on the Mississippi River which makes it a hub for transportation and trade. The nightlife is alive with nice restaurants, bars, and shows throughout town. There are also heritage centers and museums to visit. If you're a hardcore street biker, Burlington is home to the world’s windiest road, Snake Alley. Bikers come from all over the world to test their skills on this trail.
Looking for a nearby town that offers fun for the whole family? Check out Mount Pleasant. This area is known for its thriving main street, which is full of shops and restaurants and is a hub for local festivals or fairs. Mount Pleasant is an artsy area thriving with life and music, making it a great place for a day trip or a night out.
You'll find plenty of gas stations surrounding Geode State Park. Fill up your tank and grab any snacks you might need for your departure. If you’re looking to have dinner before you go, Burlington and West Burlington have tons of restaurants, including Italian and pizza places. The next step is up to you. Geode State Park is equidistant from three major US cities: Kansas City, Chicago, and St. Louis.