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Palisades-Kepler State Park, IA

Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
Max reservation window: Thu Oct 01 2015   Later Dates


Palisades-Kepler State Park lies along the beautiful Cedar River in Linn County. The 840 acre park has dramatic river bluffs, deep ravines, majestic hardwood trees, a large variety of wildflowers and an abundance of wildlife.

This park has a historic past. A molar tooth of a mammoth was once found here and the exposed rocks along the Cedar River are laden with fossils of millions of years of history. The presence of Indian Mounds reminds us that this was a favorite haunt of Native Americans hundreds of years ago.


River Activities
Fishing along the Cedar River is another great way to enjoy the outdoors at Palisades-Kepler. Many anglers try their luck along the picnic areas and sandbars that provide access to the river. A modern boat-launching ramp provides convenient river access as well. A wide variety of species are found in the Cedar River, including channel catfish, bass and walleye.

There is no better way to explore the rugged terrain of Palisades-Kepler than to set off on one of the trails that cover nearly six miles of the park. In the spring, you will find a great variety of wildflowers and may have the chance to see whitetail deer and wild turkey. Even better, enjoy a hike in the crisp air of mid-October when the forest turns to a deep gold color as the leaves begin to fall from the many black maple trees throughout the park.


Palisades-Kepler State Park is a beautiful place for a family cookout. Picnickers can enjoy themselves and the views of the beautiful Cedar River and its tree-lined bluffs. An open picnic shelter is available for reservations online.

A limestone lodge, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, is a great place to host a wedding or family reunion in the park. The building is available for daytime rental and includes a kitchen area with refrigerator and microwave, modern restrooms, a patio and fire grill.

Enjoy a longer stay at the campground which offers both electric and non-electric sites along with modern shower and restroom facilities as well as a trailer dump station.

The cabins at Palisades-Kepler State Park are a great place for an economical vacation. Four cabins are available for weekly rental during the summer season and two-day minimums in the spring and fall. The air conditioned cabins accommodate up to four people and feature a shower and restroom, and a small kitchen with a cook-top stove, microwave and refrigerator.

Nearby Attractions:

Historic Mount Vernon is located just four miles away with local restaurants and shops. Cedar Rapids is twelve miles away from the park and offers a wide variety of shopping, restaurants and movie theaters.

Nearby Towns
Mount Vernon, home of Cornell College, is located four miles east of the park. Cedar Rapids and Marion are located twelve miles west of the park.

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Bird Watching
  • Boat Launch Ramp
  • Boating
  • Dump Station
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Jogging/Running
  • Modern Restroom
  • Park Office
  • Parking
  • River
  • Rock Climbing
  • Showers
  • Trash Dumpster
  • Walking
  • Water Hydrants
  • Wildlife Viewing
Within 10 Miles
  • Fuel, Vehicles
  • Golf
  • Laundry
  • Medical Clinic
  • Motel
  • Playground
  • Shopping
  • Town
Greater Than 10 Miles
  • Hospital
Alerts and Important Information
Cabin renters must provide their own bedding, pillows, towels, toiletry items, cooking utensils, pots and pans and dinnerware. Parking is not allowed along the roadways. Fires are not allowed on the sandbars of the river. Fires are only allowed in the fire grills provided in the park. Swimming is allowed in the Cedar River, but dangerous currents warrant using extreme caution.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
41.9075, -91.50611
41°54'27"N, 91°30'22"W

From Cedar Rapids, travel east 10 miles. The Palisades entrance is well marked and is directly off of Highway 30. From Mount Vernon, travel west 4 miles on Highway 30 to the park entrance.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Palisades-Kepler State Park
700 Kepler Drive
Mount Vernon  IA  52314

Phone Number:

Information:  (319) 895 - 6039