Accommodation August 20, 2021
Iowa’s Best Kept Camping Secret Is This Riverfront Spot With More Than 50 Glorious Campsites
What do the items in this list have in common? Peaceful river valley, mirror ponds, a 600-acre ranch, a 9,000-acre state forest, miles of riding and walking trails, rocky gulches, cows, horses, campsites, warm hospitality. While it sounds like the list is describing a piece of cattle country out west, it is actually describing the River Valley Lodge and Campground hidden away in the rugged hills of Southeast Iowa.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
This peaceful 600-acre ranch is a slice of the wild west that you (and even your horse) can visit without ever leaving Iowa.
Everything about this camp looks southwestern, and many folks come to this ranch with horses in tow. But it's a fun place for anyone who is looking for a grand location to throw out the bedroll.
One of the most unique aspects of this campground is the lodging options. There are six structures to rent overnight (bedding not included), all within easy reach of the Lodge's shower house or a port-a-potty.
The Bunkhouse is a historic schoolhouse that can sleep six. The Dude is a cozy log cabin with a double bed and a twin bunk above it. The Crib is a 1940s Marin Corn Crib with a queen bed on the lower level and two twins and a double bed in the loft - definitely an unparalleled sleeping accommodation! Tuf-a-Nuff is an A frame with two twin beds. The Injun Joe is a seven foot by ten foot floating cabin docked on one of the ponds with two twin beds good fishing right from the deck (Tom Sawyer would be proud). The Summer Kitchen is equipped with a queen bed and a loft with two twin mattresses.
Plus, there are 50 campsites with water and electric hookups and a host of primitive campsites. Sites with water and electricity include a fire pit, picnic table, and one horse stall in the barn.
A luxurious shower house is available to all campers as well as a fun log fort playground, coin laundry, a fishing pond, and covered horse stalls.
Beyond the trails on the ranch which are open rain or shine, Shimek State Forest borders the campground, offering 40 more miles of trails to explore. The Des Moines River runs past the campground for beautiful views and additional fishing opportunities. Learn more at the River Valley Lodge website. And if a stay at a Wild-West-Themed campground sounds fun, don’t miss the fascinating bit of Wild West history hiding right here in Iowa! Address: River Valley Lodge & Campground, 29080 Hawk Dr, Iowa 52626, USA