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Equestrian trail closure: 05/18/15 The equine trails have been closed due to recent heavy rainfall they will remain closed until this bulletin is removed.

Waubonsie State Park, IA

Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
Max reservation window: Tue Aug 25 2015   Later Dates


Welcome to Waubonsie State Park, which provides one of the rarest and greatest vistas of Iowa's unique Loess Hills. The park is also a site on the Lewis and Clark Historical Trail, a national historical trail.

With the recent addition of the Wa-Shawtee Unit there are nearly 2,000 acres of recreational opportunity and quiet beauty to explore and enjoy. Whether you've come in for a quiet break, a relaxing drive, a fun night around the campfire or a cozy stay in a secluded cabin, we hope you have a satisfying experience and join us again soon.


Loess Hills
Waubonsie is located in the unique "Loess Hills", a landform found only along the Missouri River in Iowa and Missouri, and in China. As the glaciers melted 14,000-28,000 years ago the Missouri River became a major channel for water and sediment during the summer. In the winter, when the water level was reduced, these deposits were exposed to the wind. These fine particles, called loess, were carried by strong winds and deposited when the winds encountered the steep slopes of the east valley wall. This created the distinctive loess hills topography visitors can see today. The park topography resembles the "badlands" of the west and harbors plants like yucca that are normally found in more arid climates.


The extensive trail system at the park fits the needs of many users. The Sunset Ridge Nature Trail highlights the heart of the park and takes visitors through long stretches of pristine hardwood timber, opening suddenly to native prairie ridges that offer sweeping views of the Missouri River Valley. Other paths, such as the Ridge and Valley trails, plunge deep into quiet and shaded woodland valleys, wander past ancient burr oaks and snake along the crest of narrow ridgelines. Those with physical challenges can access the beautiful view from the Waubonsie Overlook via an easy-access trail.

Eight miles of multi-use trails wind through the rugged hills in the northern regions of the park, offering both challenging hikes and relaxing rides to equestrians, mountain bikers and snowmobilers.

Lake Activities
Lake Virginia is a recent addition to the park in the Wa-Shawtee Unit. At seven acres, it is large enough to support good populations of largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish. Shoreline anglers can find plenty of space to fish or you can launch a boat from the new gravel boat ramp. Paddlesport enthusiasts will find this to be a great place to drop in a kayak or canoe and explore. The lake is limited to electric motors only.


Waubonsie is a great place for a family picnic. The Overlook Shelter is an open picnic shelter that can be reserved up to 12 months in advance of your event.

Most of the buildings that formerly served as staff living quarters in the Wa-Shawtee camp have been remodeled into rental cabins. There are a variety of year-round and seasonal cabins that can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. The seasonal cabins are available from April 15 to October 15. Renters must provide their own bedding, pillows, towels, toiletry items, cooking utensils, pots and pans, and dinnerware.

Waubonsie State Park boasts two campgrounds that accommodate a variety of campers. The modern campground has nonelectric and electric campsites, modern showers and restrooms and a sanitary dump station. The non-modern equestrian campground has nonelectric sites with hitching rails and pit vault toilets.

Nearby Attractions:

Sidney, Iowa is the location of Iowa's largest continuous outdoor rodeo each July. The Riverton Wildlife Management Area and Forney Lake both offer great opportunities to view wildlife. Nebraska City is the home of J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day. His home is now a museum at Arbor Lodge State Park in Nebraska.

Nearby Towns
Sidney is located 6 miles north of the park and Hamburg is 9 miles south of the park. Nebraska City, NE is 9 miles west of the park.

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • Bird Watching
  • Boat Launch Ramp
  • Cabins
  • Canoeing
  • Dump Station
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Jogging/Running
  • Kayaking
  • Modern Restroom
  • Mountain Biking
  • Park Office
  • Parking
  • Showers
  • Toilet, Pit/Vault
  • Trash Dumpster
  • Walking
  • Water Hydrants
  • Wildlife Viewing
Within 10 Miles
  • Fuel, Vehicles
  • Golfing
  • Hunting
  • Medical Clinic
  • Motel
  • Swimming - Pool
  • Tennis
  • 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.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
40.6775, -95.69167
40°40'39"N, 95°41'30"W

From US Hwy # 2 turn South on State Hwy 239 and continue straight into the park.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Waubonsie State Park
2585 Waubonsie Park Road
Hamburg  IA  51640

Phone Number:

Information:  (712) 382 - 2786