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Camping with an RV is a great way to relax and learn more about Pilot Knob State Park, one of Iowa's oldest state parks founded in 1923. The park is just to the southeast of Forest City and about 35 minutes to the northwest of Mason City. Visitors to Pilot Knob State Park can spend time hiking, biking, watching wildlife, or even playing in the water of Dead Man’s Lake.
You can still enjoy time RV camping at Pilot Knob State Park even if you don't own a motorhome. Book an RV in Hancock County and spend a weekend relaxing and exploring the Hawkeye State. While in Iowa, take a day to check out Fort Dodge, less than two hours to the south of Pilot Knob State Park.
Many people bring along their four-legged friend for their Pilot Knob State Park camping trip, as dogs are welcome in certain areas of the park. Guests must clean up after their dogs and keep them under control. A network of excellent trails wind through the park, and your dog is allowed to explore them as long as they remain leashed. These trails are multi-use trails, so be aware of other hikers, bikers, and even horseback riders. During the winter months, when snow covers the paths, visitors can go snowmobiling or cross-country skiing at Pilot Knob State Park.
Bring along your camera or even a sketchpad if you're a budding artist when you decide to camp at Pilot Knob State Park. The 700-acre park is home to a menagerie of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, groundhogs, beavers, black bears, and, of course, a variety of birds. You might spot woodpeckers, cardinals, quail, and wild turkeys. You can pull up a chair just outside your rental motorhome and watch the wildlife, or you can hike throughout the park in hopes of spotting some critters. Amateur botanists will also enjoy the three species of pond lilies found on Dead Man’s Lake, a four-acre floating sphagnum bog.
Pilot Knob Lake is a 15-acre man-made lake that is perfect for boating, swimming, or fishing. Boats with electric motors are allowed and must adhere to the regulations set by the park. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at the park office, or you can bring your own. There are no lifeguards at the lake, but swimming is permitted. Fishing can be done from the shore or further out on the lake in a boat. When the lake freezes over in the winter, ice skating is a popular activity.
Pilot Knob State Park campground has approximately 60 reservable campsites, some of which come with electrical hookups. Modern shower facilities and restrooms are located within walking distance of most of the campsites. A dump station is also provided. Make sure you make your reservation early for this campground, especially during the busy summer season, when it tends to fill up quickly.
Oakwood RV Park in Clear Lake is a great place to camp near Pilot Knob State Park and is less than 30 minutes away. This RV park has plenty of room for bigger camper rentals with wide pull-through campsites. Every campsite has 30- or 50-amp electric, water, and sewer hookups. Guests have access to Wi-Fi and laundry facilities.
Three Fingers Campground is just minutes from Pilot Knob State Park in Forest City and has pull-through campsites to accommodate larger rigs. Each site has a level, concrete pad. All campsites have 50-amp electric hookups, a picnic table, and fire ring. Heated shower facilities are centrally located within the campgrounds.
Take some time to explore the area around Pilot Knob State Park and enjoy some of the interesting places such as the National Hobo Museum in Britt. The hobo is a part of American history that is many times overlooked. The Hobo Foundation was formed in the mid-1970s as a way to document and preserve the history of the nomadic laborer. Britt, Iowa was chosen as the headquarters for this foundation since it's been the home of the National Hobo Convention since 1900. The actual museum began in the early 1980s when an unknown hobo left a box of artifacts and a significant monetary donation in his will to the Hobo Foundation. Artifacts were then collected from all around the world, and the museum was set up in the former Chief Movie Theater on Main Street in Britt. You can check out collections that highlight some of the more famous hobos in American history, including Connecticut Slim, Frisco Jack, the Pennsylvania Kid, Steam Train Maury, and the Hard Rock Kid.
While visiting the National Hobo Museum in Britt, take a few hours to wander through Eagle Lake State Park. There are fantastic walkways that overlook the marsh where you can watch ducks, geese, and various birds. Bring your camera and snap some photos of the deer that wander near the trails.
Visit Belmond and the Jenison Meacham Memorial Art Center. This center centers on rural American history. Permanent exhibits include a prairie farmstead and a rural schoolhouse. A working farm features demonstrations and educational programs for people of all ages. Wander through the machinery museum to learn more about the tools and machines used to work farms and shape rural America.