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Pine Lake State Park is a woodland reserve set in the heart of lush farmland. The 668-acre park enjoys a picturesque setting by the Iowa River and is anchored by a pair of lakes that provide a scenic backdrop for swimming, boating, and fishing. When you're not making a splash in the lake, spend the day hiking scenic nature trails and picnicking by the shoreline. Pine Lake is one of the oldest state parks in Iowa and has been welcoming visitors since the 1920s. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked hard to develop the park, with many of the historic structures still in use today. This gives Pine Lake State Park added appeal for history buffs.
An RV-friendly campground set under a canopy of towering white pines, oaks, and walnut trees makes it easy to plan a getaway to Pine Lake State Park. Book an RV in Hardin County and you can combine the luxuries of a motorhome with the allure of sleeping under the stars. With a self-contained rental RV, you're well-equipped to extend your trip and visit nearby attractions like Maquoketa Caves State Park and the Effigy Mounds National Monument.
On a sunny day, it's hard to resist the beach at Lower Pine Lake. Spend the day basking in the sun and cooling off in the clear water. Picnic sites dot the park and are great for enjoying lunch by the lake. The Hogsback Bluffs Picnic Area is a firm favorite and commands sweeping views over Lower Pine Lake. You'll also find a handful of shelters that can be reserved for group events like birthday parties and family reunions. The handsome stone and timber lodge is a popular venue for reunions and gatherings.
More than ten miles of hiking trails wind through the park and showcase the unique flora, fauna, and geology of Pine Lake. As you explore the trails, you'll pass through lush wetlands, sun-dappled forests, and native prairie. A bike trail stretches for just over two and a half miles from the campground to the Lower Pine Lake and is great for burning off last night's s'mores and hot dogs. It also takes you past some of the park's oldest native white pine trees, some more than 250 years old.
Pine Lake State Park is a rewarding destination for anglers, with both Upper and Lower Pine Lake well-stocked with bass, crappie, northern pike, and catfish. Cast a line from the shore or launch a canoe, kayak, or electric trolling motorboat from one of the public ramps.
The Pine Lake State Park campground enjoys a picturesque setting by the water. Sites are spacious and shaded by mature oaks and walnut trees. Choose from more than 120 RV-friendly sites, most with 30 or 50-amp electrical hookups. As one of the top state park RV campgrounds in Iowa, Pine Lake treats guests to modern bathroom blocks with hot showers and flush toilets. A dump station is also available.
Advance campsite reservations can be made online and are recommended if you're traveling during the busy season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Some sites are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis – ideal if you're planning a last-minute motorhome camping getaway. In addition to RV campsites, Pine Lake State Park offers charming stone and timber cabins built by the CCC in the 1930s. They're perfect if you need to accommodate extra guests who don't want to compromise on creature comforts.
Camping at Pine Lake State Park puts you less than a mile from one of the most attractive nine-hole golf courses in the state. Tee off and enjoy the challenge of narrow fairways, rolling hills, and strategic water features. If you're more of a history buff than a golfer, head to Eldora. The Hardin County Farm Museum offers a glimpse of the region's agricultural heritage. The town is also a jumping point for tubing trips along the Iowa River and is a convenient place to pick up any RV camping supplies you might need.
For more choice, consider nearby cities like Iowa Falls. You'll love strolling around the historic downtown district, admiring the Pat Clark International Art Collection, and enjoying a leisurely cruise on the Scenic City Empress Riverboat. Des Moines is a 75-mile drive south and offers a huge selection of RV rentals near Pine Lake State Park. It's a good place to kickstart a road trip, with easy access to major highways and Des Moines International Airport. While you're in the state capital, check out attractions like the Des Moines Art Center and Pappajohn Sculpture Park.