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Equestrian Trails Closed: Effective June 24th 20015 the equestrian trails have been closed due to recent rain. This bulletin will be removed when the trails have been re-opened.

Elk Rock State Park, IA

Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
Max reservation window: Wed Sep 30 2015   Later Dates


Elk Rock State Park is located on Iowa's largest water body, Lake Red Rock. With more than 50,000 acres of public land to use, the Red Rock area boasts a wide array of recreational opportunities. Elk Rock State Park, with some of its unique amenities, is especially attractive to horse enthusiasts.


The park's thirteen miles of multi-use trails radiate from the equestrian campground and can be used for riding horses, hiking, and mountain biking or snowmobiling in the winter. The trail system winds through a variety of habitats, from woodlands to remnants of native prairie and offers a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities. The lake is a major stopping-off point for waterfowl and other migratory species in both spring and fall, including white pelicans and bald eagles. Trails are occasionally closed due to wet conditions. Contact park office for current trail status. Horse riders, along with other user groups, can enjoy the one mile, all-weather trail that connects the camping area to the back side of the park. Lake Activities
Lake Red Rock and the Des Moines river provide great fishing opportunities. Elk Rock has two different boat ramps to access Lake Red Rock. There is a six lane ramp located at the entrance to the park, while the second is located on the back side of the park near the park office. Anglers can try their luck fishing for bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass, channel catfish and a variety of other fish around the lake.


There are two open shelters that can be reserved online. There is a picnic area located approximately one mile north of the main park entrance on Highway 14.

Elk Rock has two campgrounds for campers. The nonequestrian campground has both electric and non-electric sites. A modern shower building and trailer dumping station are available, as well as a self-dispensing firewood machine located next to the shower building.

The equestrian campground features both electric and non-electric sites also. A modern shower building, horse stalls, hitching rails and a 100 foot by 200 foot riding arena are available.

Nearby Attractions:

Knoxville, six miles south, is home to the Knoxville Raceway and Newton, twenty-three miles north, is home to the Iowa Speedway. Both hold a number of racing events throughout the year. The Dutch community of Pella, ten miles northeast, has many shops and attractions, and celebrates its heritage with their annual Tulip Festival, held on the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday of May. Approximately twenty-two miles west is the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and Prairie Learning Center. The center offers a movie, interactive displays and bookstore/gift shop all related to the natural history of prairies and prairie restoration. The refuge has hiking trails and a drive-through bison/elk enclosure. Roberts Creek and Cordova Park, just north of Elk Rock, are popular fishing, boating and picnic spots. Nearby Towns
Knoxville is six miles south on Highway 14. Pella is ten miles northeast on G-28. Newton is about twenty-three miles north on Highway 14.

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Bicycling
  • Boat Launch Ramp
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Dock, Boat
  • Dump Station
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Jet Skiing
  • Jogging/Running
  • Modern Restroom
  • Park Office
  • Parking
  • Playground
  • Showers
  • Toilet, Pit/Vault
  • Trails, Equestrian
  • Trash Dumpster
  • Water Hydrants
Greater Than 1 Mile
Within 10 Miles
  • Cabins
  • Hospital
  • Lookout Tower
Greater Than 10 Miles
  • Boat Rental
  • Fuel, Boats
  • Marina
  • Medical Clinic
Alerts and Important Information
Horses are not to be hitched or tied to trees, shrubs or park facilities in a manner that will cause injury or damage to the plant or facility. Animals may be hitched to trailers for short periods of time for grooming and saddling. Animals must be stabled inside a trailer, at a hitch rail or in stalls or corrals if provided. Portable stall/pens or electric fences are not allowed. Trails are closed to non-foot traffic during wet conditions.

Multi-Use Trail System Rules:

  1. Always call ahead for current trail conditions (641) 842-6008.
  2. Stay on designated trails only.
  3. Respect others' trail rights.

Report any trail problems to park staff.
Attention Equestrian Riders: State regulations require horses, mules and donkeys being transported interstate (from one state to another) must have a current Certification of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate) and a negative Coggin's test (EIA). This paperwork must accompany the animal into the State of Iowa. Please refer to www.iowaagriculture.gov/animalindustry/horseadmissionregs.asp for more information. This law applies to equestrian camping, day-use and trail riding in any State owned Park or Forest.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
41.39972, -93.075
41°23'59"N, 93°4'30"W

From Hwy 92 in Knoxville, Elk Rock is six miles north on Hwy 14. From Interstate 80 at Newton, Elk Rock is about twenty miles south on Hwy 14.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Elk Rock State Park
Knoxville  IA 

Phone Number:

Information:  (641) 842-6008