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Equestrian Trails Closed: Effective June 4, 2015, the equestrian trails have been closed due to wet conditions. Trails will remain closed until they have a chance to dry out. This bulletin will be removed when the trails have been re-opened (updated 6/30/15).

Stephens Forest Campground, IA

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


Stephens State Forest is administered by the Iowa DNR and is divided into seven units totaling over 15,000 acres. The forest is dispersed over five counties: Lucas, Clarke, Monroe, Appanoose and Davis.

Lucas, Whitebreast, and Woodburn Units
These units are contiguous and are located southwest of the town of Lucas, Iowa. Most of the recreational development on Stephens Forest has taken place on the Lucas and Whitebreast units. The Lucas and Whitebreast units each have two ponds that are stocked with bluegill, largemouth bass and catfish. Recreational activities include fishing, picnicking, camping, hunting, hiking, equestrian riding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and wildlife watching.

The Whitebreast Unit is 3,517 acres in size and has two lakes, three equestrian campgrounds and one group-camp area. This unit is served by an all-weather road.

The Lucas Unit is 1,267 acres in size and has two small lakes and three campgrounds. This unit is located just southwest of the intersection of Highway 65 and Highway 34. The unit is served by an all-weather road.

The Woodburn Unit is 2,098 acres in size and has over six miles of backpacking trails and five pack-in sites. The pack-in sites are not on the reservation system. The unit has an all-weather road along its west side and through the middle ofthe unit.

Cedar Creek, Chariton, and Thousand Acres Units
These units do not have any developed recreational facilities such as picnic areas, campgrounds or designated trails. They are less well served by all-weather roads; however there are many dirt roads and access lanes. These units are well suited to hunting, hiking and wildlife watching.

Unionville Unit
The Unionville Unit is 2,470 acres in size and is comprised of 11 separate compartments in northeast Appanoose County and northwest Davis County. There are no developed recreational facilities such as picnic areas, campgrounds or trails. Several tracts are served by all-weather roads. The Unionville Unit provides good hiking hunting and wildlife watching opportunities.

Nearby Attractions:

Race fans can enjoy the Knoxville Raceway located 30 minutes north of Chariton

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Bicycling
  • Bird Watching
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Jogging/Running
  • Mountain Biking
  • Parking
  • Toilet, Pit/Vault
  • Water Hydrants
  • Wildlife Viewing
Greater Than 10 Miles
  • Fuel, Vehicles
  • Hospital
  • Motel
  • Town
Alerts and Important Information
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.

Motor vehicle operation is permitted only on roads. ATVS are not permitted anywhere on the forest, trails or roads. Snowmobiles are allowed on designated routes only.

Equestrian riding is only allowed on designated trails, roads and campgrounds.

Mountain bikes are allowed on equestrian trails.

There are no designated swimming areas.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
40.98556, -93.51278
40°59'8"N, 93°30'46"W

From the junction of Highway 34 and Highway 65 at Lucas, go south on Highway 65 for 2 miles, go west on 467th Street for 2 miles to enter the Whitebreast Unit of Stephens Forest.
To reach the Lucas Unit of Stephens Forest: from the same junction of Highway 34 and Highway 65 at Lucas, go south 2 miles on Highway 65, go west on 467th Street 1 mile, go north on 137th Trail 1 mile.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Stephens Forest Campground
24550 US Highway 30
Chariton  IA  50049

Phone Number:

Project Office: (641)774-5632