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Iowa State Parks

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USA Parks
Northwest Region
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area
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Brushy Creek State Recreation Area Over look at Brushy Creek © Amber Hartness
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area © amber hartness
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area © amber hartness
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area Family Fishing © Bob Wood
Fishing is fun for the whole family on Brushy Creek lake.
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area Beautiful July Day © Bob Wood
Brushy Creek lake offers beautiful scenery.
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area Clouds on Water © Bob Wood
Reflections on a warm summer day at Brushy Creek lake.
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2802 Brushy Creek Road
Lehigh, Iowa   50557
(lat:42.3835 lon:-93.9708) map location

Phone: 515-543-8298
Reservations: 515-543-8298
Email: park email button icon
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area is one of the largest state parks in Iowa, showcasing native prairie, grassland, timber, river and lake habitats across its 6,500 acres. The lake at Brushy Creek is perfect for swimming, fishing and boating. With more than 45 miles of trails, Brushy Creek is a popular destination for horseback riding, including two equestrian campgrounds.
History of the Area
Before its establishment as a recreation area, Brushy Creek's land was used for agriculture and grazing due to its fertile soil. Native American tribes originally inhabited the region before European settlers arrived in the 19th century. During World War II, this area may have contributed to war efforts through increased agricultural production.

The state acquired the land in 1989 with an eye on recreational use; it opened to public access on May 27, 1991. Since then, facilities like campgrounds and trails have been added within its boundaries.

Conservation efforts such as reforestation and prairie restoration projects around man-made lakes from dammed streams improved biodiversity significantly.

Historical features of note include remnants of old homesteads that provide glimpses into past rural life.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
 Electric Sitesyes
 Water/Electric Sitesyes
Equestrian Camping:

Equestrian users enjoy one of the most modern camp facilities in the Midwest. The northern equestrian campground has a modern shower and restroom, 125 campsites (50 electrical), horse wash area, ample shade, a substantial hitch rail at every site (users are required to tie animals to rails) and a 100' by 200' arena. Water hydrants with potable water are available, as are picnic tables, grills, and a playground. In the future another shower/toilet building will be constructed.

The south campground has a modern shower and restroom with 70 electric and 35 non-electric sites and the same amenities as the northern campground. Starting February 13, 2006 advance campsite reservations can be booked through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available for self-registration on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Horses are not to be hitched or tied to trees, shrubs or park facilities in a manner that will cause injury or damage to the plant or facility. Animals may be hitched to trailers for short periods of time for grooming and saddling. Animals must be stabled inside a trailer, at a hitch rail or in stalls or corrals if provided. Portable stall/pens or electric fences are not allowed.

Non-Equestrian Camping:

A non-equestrian campground has 47 sites including 37 electric sites, and 10 with full water and sewer hookups. This location makes the campground very inviting to those using the nearby boatramp and beach. This area is also available for picnicking. Non equestrian campers are also welcome to use any of the equestrian campgrounds.
Swimming is allowed in the designated beach area only. A large sandy beach is located on the west side of the lake.
Several boat ramps and fishing jetties are located around the 690 acre lake. A fishing pier is located on the west side of the lake, north of the beach area. There are fishing tournaments occurring almost every weekend out on the lake.
Anglers can enjoy fishing in a 690-acre lake, teeming with walleye, muskie and channel catfish. Smaller ponds house largemouth bass. Shoreline or boat options are available for convenience. A fish cleaning station is provided on-site.

Brushy Creek State Recreation Area is located near Fort Dodge

Brushy Creek is a great place for picnics and large gatherings. Picnic areas are located around the park. They offer tables and fire grills. Two open shelters are available for rent by contacting the park manager.
In this Iowa location, biking enthusiasts can explore over 45 miles of multi-use trails. Be prepared for diverse terrain.

The trail system is open to mountain bikes and offers a mix of easy to challenging routes. Stay cautious!

Some paths are shared with horse riders; it's essential always to yield right-of-way and maintain respectful distances from horses.

During winter months, some tracks may be closed or hazardous due to snowfall or icy conditions - check before you go!

Remember that helmets are not optional but necessary safety gear when cycling these trails - stay safe at all times!

Nighttime riding isn't recommended as the park lacks sufficient lighting on most pathways which could lead to accidents.

Always respect nature by staying on designated bike paths only in order not disturb local wildlife habitats.

It's important also note there aren't any rental facilities available here so bring your own equipment.
With approximately 50 miles of multi-use trails, there are trail activities for everyone including horseback riding, hiking, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and mountain biking. Mountain biking is allowed on all multiple use trails. A map of these trails is on display at the information kiosks located in the equestrian campgrounds. When using the multi-use trail system: 1) Always call ahead (515)543-8298 for current trail conditions 2) Stay on designated trails only 3) Respect others' trail rights, 4) Report any trail problems to park staff, and 5) Enjoy!
Birdwatchers can enjoy spotting various species in the park's diverse habitats, including woodlands and wetland areas. The area is home to a variety of bird species such as warblers, sparrows, hawks and waterfowl. Birding enthusiasts may also spot migratory birds during certain seasons. There are several trails available for hiking that offer excellent opportunities for bird watching.
Area Attractions
Shooting Range:

Two ranges are located at Brushy Creek SRA. One is south of the park office approximately 1/2 mile north of County Rd. D-46. The other is a trap range located in the northern section of the park. It can be reached by taking 250th from Co. Rd. P-73, then turn right on Taylor Ave.

At over 6,000 acres, Brushy Creek is one of Iowa's largest tracts of public outdoor recreation land. Visitors can get a real sense of being "away from it all" while, at the same time, enjoying a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities such as camping, hunting, horseback riding, and winter sports. The development of a 690 acre lake and associated facilities will provide additional opportunities for boating, swimming, and fishing, picnicking. These developments are under construction and are expected to be completed in the future.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
May 30 by Fred Rider
park review stars; one to five Need to keep unrespectful fishermen off the bridges. Some one is going to get hurt,fishing rods look like whips to a horse, tackle boxes in the middle of the bridge,and they do not care. so sad
November 17 Memories of the Past by Ann
park review stars; one to five Lots of memories for me as I lived here for several years, went to the country school located on the corner of 290th street and Brushy Creek Road. I am in the process of writing a family history and story of this area.
August 22 Horse Camp by Urban Cowgirl
park review stars; one to five I was disappointed to see last year that sevaral NON-Horse people were able to reserve sites in the horse camp. There are so few nice horse camps in our area, that is seem this should not be allowed unless there are empty spaces near the camp date. We would not be allowed to swipe up camp sites in their disignated areas. For this reason several of our horse friends could not get in to camp.
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Nearby Hotels

From Des Moines:
- Head north on I-35.
- Take exit 142A to merge onto US-20 W toward Fort Dodge.
- Continue for approximately 70 miles.
- Turn left (south) onto County Road P73/Brushy Creek Rd and follow the signs.

From Sioux City:
- Drive east on US Highway 20.
- After about 140 miles, turn right (south) onto County Road P73/Brushy Creek Rd.
- Follow the road until you reach the recreation area entrance.

From Cedar Rapids:
- Travel west on IA Hwy30/I380 N.
- Merge with U.S.-218N towards Waterloo/Fort Dodge.
- Exit at IA-Hwy3W/U.S.-Hwy18W; continue till Webster City.
- In Webster city take a slight right turn into CoRd R21/Bank St which becomes CoRd D46/Racine Ave.
- Turn Left(southwest )onto Xavier Avenue then Right(west)on Lehigh.
- After crossing Skillet creek make another Right(north-westwardly direction).
- Follow this route straight ahead as it turns slightly becoming Brushycreek rd leading directly into Park Entrance.

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Iowa State Parks