Welcome - already a member? Sign In
Not a member yet?Sign Up

Find Campsites


Lake Darling State Park, IA

Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
Max reservation window: Tue Oct 06 2015   Later Dates


Lake Darling was dedicated in 1950 and named after J.N. "Ding" Darling, a champion of conservation and editorial cartoonist for the Des Moines Register. Through his efforts, the conservation movement was fostered in Iowa.


Lake Darling State Park is a great place for a family cookout. A number of scenic picnic areas overlook the lake. Two open picnic shelters are available for reservations.

The new day-use lodge is reservable and is a popular place for reunions, parties and weddings


Reservations can be made for five camping cabins which each sleep four and are equipped with a microwave, dorm-size refrigerator, twin bunk bed, futon and table with chairs. They are located only a short distance from the modern restroom and shower building in the campground. Camping cabins are reserved for a two night minimum stay.


Lake Darling State Park has a large well equipped campground featuring full hook-up (sewer/water/electric), electric and non-electric sites with modern shower and restroom facilities. The campground has a playground as well as a conveniently located dump station.


Hikers find plenty of opportunity at Lake Darling State Park. Several trails are present and hikers will see a variety of plant, animal and bird species. A 13.6 mile trail encircles the entire lake. If you plan to walk the entire trail, please take water and sunscreen. The trail takes you through a variety of habitats, from wetland areas around the fringes of the lake, through successional woodlands and remnants of native prairie to a cemetery dating back to the 1800s. The trail is a combination of grass and crushed rock and is open to hikers, runners, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers

Lake Activities

The beach at Lake Darling is a fun spot for swimmers and sunbathers, young and old

Lake Darling is a popular boating lake for both power and non-power boats. Any size motor may be operated at "no wake" speeds. Two boat ramps are located around the lake for convenient lake access. Anglers without boats may rent them from the boat house located between the two shelters.

Lake Darling is an angler's delight. Catfish and crappies are the most prevalent catch for most anglers. However, bullheads, bluegills, largemouth bass, and carp are also plentiful.

Nearby Towns

Brighton is three miles east of the park, Richland is five miles west, Washington is fourteen miles northeast on Highway 1, and Fairfield is seventeen miles southwest on Highway 34.

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Bicycling
  • Bird Watching
  • Boat Launch Ramp
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Docks, Fishing
  • Dump Station
  • Fish Cleaning Station
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Jogging/Running
  • Kayaking
  • Lake
  • Modern Restroom
  • Mountain Biking
  • Paddle Boating
  • Park Office
  • Parking
  • Playground
  • Showers
  • Swimming - Beach
  • Toilet, Pit/Vault
  • Trash Dumpster
  • Walking
  • Water Hydrants
  • Wildlife Viewing
Greater Than 1 Mile
  • Fuel, Boats
  • Fuel, Vehicles
  • Town
Within 10 Miles
  • Medical Clinic
Greater Than 10 Miles
  • Golf
  • Hospital
  • Interpretive Center
  • Motel
Alerts and Important Information
Cabins may be reserved 12 months in advance and are available April-October. Renters must provide their own bedding, pillows, towels, toiletry items, cooking utensils, pots and pans, and dinnerware.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
41.19167, -91.89556
41°11'30"N, 91°53'44"W

Take Highway 1 and 78 three miles west of Brighton and turn north on Lake Darling Road.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Lake Darling State Park
111 Lake Darling Rd
Brighton  IA  52540

Phone Number:

Information:  (319)694-2323