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

Find Campsites


Ledges State Park, IA

Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
Max reservation window: Thu Oct 29 2015   Later Dates


With its distinctive geological and archeological features, breathtaking views and vibrant history, Ledges State Park is a nature lover's paradise. One of the very first state parks in Iowa, Ledges has been a must-see Iowa attraction for decades. In addition to natural beauty, several structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps are a must see- from an arch stone bridge to a shelter in Oak Woods, stone trail steps and a shelter in Lower Ledges.

The main attraction at Ledges is the canyon drive. This winding one-way road along Pea's Creek offers motorists breathtaking views of the canyon and Des Moines River Valley. Sandstone ledges rise nearly 100 feet above the floor of the stream bed. The sandstone was deposited 300 million years ago following the retreat of the shallow sea that covered must of the Midwest. About 13,000 years ago, glacial melt-water began to cut down through the sandstone, forming the park's dramatic cliffs and valleys. Along the canyon drive, park visitors can stop for a picnic, wade in the stream and enjoy the colors fall foliage offers. The canyon drive periodically closes to vehicle traffic during the summer due to heavy rainfall and flooding. It also closes to vehicle traffic during the winter. Even in the winter though, visitors are allowed to hike in to the canyon to explore its winter beauty.


Ten miles of hiking trails lead up and down steep slopes to scenic overlooks, and provide access to spectacular views of the Pea's Creek Canyon. Popular overlook locations include Inspiration Point, Crow's Nest and Table Rock. While most of the trails include steep portions, a universally accessible trail surface in crushed rock, leads visitors to the serene Lost Lake area in the southern part of the park.

An interpretive trail featuring lichens is located in the picnic area between the east entrance and the Oak Woods Shelter. Learn how to identify up to forty of these tiny, but interesting species by their differing sizes, shapes, and colors. The trail starts at the old stone building across from the amphitheater by the entrance to the campground.

The Central State Park Bike Route is a ninety-one mile route which connects Ledges State Park, Big Creek State Park, and Springbrook State Park. It is relatively flat, with a few challenging hills as you make your way across the valleys of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers.

River Activities
The Des Moines River flows through the west edge of the park and offers fine stream fishing and canoeing opportunities. Lower Ledges Road offers an easy access point to the Des Moines River for canoeists, kayakers and tubers.


Picnic areas are located throughout the park. The Oak Woods picnic shelter and nearby restroom, located in the eastern area of the park, are fully accessible. Two open picnic shelters may be reserved online.

Ledges offers both electric and non-electric campsites. There are several hike-in sites and one youth group campsite. Modern restrooms, showers, dump station and a playground are located in the campground also.

Nearby Attractions:

A variety of attractions can be found in and around the town of Boone, including the Birthplace of Mamie Eisenhower, Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad and Museum, Kate Shelly Railroad Museum and High Bridge; Seven Oaks Recreation Center and the Iowa Arboretum. Ames is home to Iowa State University and all it has to offer. Take in VEISHEA festivities at Iowa State (April), the park's Christmas in July, the Boone County Fair or Ogden's Fun Days (also in July), or Boone's Puffer Billy Days or the Dragoon River Romp (September).

Nearby Towns
Boone is located four miles north of the park. Ames is fifteen miles east. Madrid is eleven miles south.

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Bicycling
  • Bird Watching
  • Canoeing
  • Dump Station
  • Firewood Sales
  • Fishing River
  • Hiking
  • Jogging/Running
  • Kayaking
  • Modern Restroom
  • Park Office
  • Parking
  • Playground
  • River
  • Showers
  • Trash Dumpster
  • Walking
  • Water Hydrants
  • Wildlife Viewing
Greater Than 1 Mile
  • Arboretum
  • Golf
  • Hunting
Within 10 Miles
  • Area Attraction
  • Art & Museum
  • Hospital
  • Medical Clinic
  • Motel
  • Museum
  • Swimming - Pool
  • Town
  • Winery Tours
Alerts and Important Information
The park opens at 4:00 a.m. and closes at 10:30 p.m. daily.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
41.98306, -93.88667
41°58'59"N, 93°53'12"W

From the East (Ames): Take Hwy 30 west. Exit at Hwy 17. Take Hwy 17 south for 3 miles. Turn west on 250th St. Take 250th St. west for 3 miles to the park entrance. From the West (Ogden): Take Hwy 30 east. Exit at Hwy 17. Take Hwy 17 south for 3 miles. Turn west on 250th St. Take 250th St. west for 3 miles to the park entrance.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Ledges State Park
1515 P Ave
Madrid  IA  50156

Phone Number:

Information:  (515) 432-1852