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USA Parks
Northwest Region
Elinor Bedell State Park
Eastern Goldfinch ©
Eastern Goldfinch ©
Eastern Goldfinch
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1619 260th Avenue
Spirit Lake, Iowa   51360
(lat:43.4118 lon:-95.0673) map location

Phone: 712-337-3211
This small and beautiful state park sits on the shore of East Lake Okoboji, with trails, a playground and camping amenities. The 80-acre park was donated by Berkley and Elinor Bedell. A life-long resident of the Great Lakes area, Berkley Bedell represented northwest Iowa for 12 years in the U.S. Congress. The park offers a shelter with lake views and features a kitchenette, bathrooms and grills. The shelter can be reserved online. Elinor Bedell has a campground with full hook-up sites and modern restrooms. Advance camping reservations can be booked through the park reservation system. One-fourth of the campsites are available for self-registration on a first-come, first-served basis.
History of the Area
The land that would become Elinor Bedell State Park was historically prairie and wetlands, used by indigenous peoples. European settlers transformed the area into agricultural land for crops and livestock grazing. In 1998, Berkley Bedell donated the property in memory of his wife Elinor to ensure its preservation.

Situated on East Lake Okoboji's southern shore, it covers 80 acres with a focus on preserving natural habitats like prairies and wetlands. Historical features include remnants of native tallgrass prairie ecosystems once prevalent across Iowa but now rare due to extensive agriculture.

Since becoming a park in 2001, efforts have been made to restore these environments through controlled burns and plantings. The landscape has evolved from predominantly farmland back towards its original ecological state as part of conservation initiatives within the region.

Facilities such as trails, picnic areas, fishing spots were developed while maintaining environmental integrity; they provide recreation compatible with habitat protection goals.
1. Electric Campsites: Offer electrical hookups for RVs and tents.
2. Non-electric Campsites: Basic sites without electricity for tent camping.
3. Modern Restrooms: Facilities with flush toilets and showers available to campers.
4. Dump Station: A place to dispose of waste from RV holding tanks.
The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. It features East Lake Okoboji, which is popular among locals and tourists alike for its water activities. Visitors can bring their own boats or rent one from nearby facilities to enjoy fishing, sailing, jet skiing or leisurely cruising on the lake's clear waters. There are also boat ramps available within the park premises providing easy access to the lake.
Enjoy fishing in two ponds stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish. A valid Iowa fishing license is required.

Elinor Bedell State Park offers picnic tables and grills, perfect for family outings. A shelter house is also available.
1. Prairie Trail: A 0.5-mile loop that showcases the park's prairie restoration efforts, featuring native grasses and wildflowers.

2. Wetland Trail: This trail spans approximately 0.3 miles through a wetland area with boardwalks to protect sensitive habitats and provide close-up views of aquatic plants and wildlife.

3. Woodland Trail: At about one mile in length, this path winds through mature hardwood forests offering shade and opportunities for bird watching.

4. Savanna Ridge Loop: Roughly 0.75 miles long, it circles around a savanna landscape on higher ground providing panoramic views of East Okoboji Lake.

5 Lakeshore Pathway:
- North Section (Lakeside): Extends for nearly half a mile along the northern lakeshore allowing hikers scenic vistas over East Okoboji Lake.
- South Section (Beach Access): Shorter than its counterpart at roughly 0 .25 miles leading down to beach areas suitable for swimming or picnicking during warmer months.
The park offers birdwatchers a variety of species, including waterfowl and songbirds. Birding trails are also available.

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Area Campgrounds
CenLa RV Park
3400 Highway 71
Spirit Lake, IA
Cutty's Okoboji Resort Club
1528 Highway 86
Spirit Lake, IA
Nearby Hotels

Directions from Des Moines, Iowa:

- Start on I-235 W.
- Continue onto IA-141 N/Urbandale Dr.
- Merge with US 169-N via the ramp to Fort Dodge.
- Drive for about 2 hours and turn right onto County Hwy P33/N Ave.

From Sioux City, Iowa:

- Begin by heading south on Douglas St toward W 7th St.
- Take a left at the first cross street onto Gordon Drive/Wesley Parkway.
- Follow US75 S and take exit towards Le Mars/Sioux Center/C70.
- Turn Right into C38 then continue straight until you reach Elinor Bedell State Park.

If coming from Cedar Rapids, Iowa:

- Begin your journey westbound on U.S Route151/U.S Route30W/Iowa100 West Collins Road NE in Hiawatha,.
- Merge unto Interstate380N/US218 North through Exit16A towards Waterloo/Airport,.
- Proceed northwards along Avenue of Saints; keep driving till Clear Lake junction where you will merge unto interstate35 using second lane from right;.
- Detach yourself off i35 taking us20west.
- Switch lanes to be able to make a Left Turn or head westward after which there is an immediate slight-right-turn that leads directly into park's entrance.

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Iowa State Parks