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Iowa State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Region
Lake Wapello State Park
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Lake Wapello State Park Along The Way © Karen Seddon
This color combination caught my eye growing along side the road.
Lake Wapello State Park © Angela Cremer
Lake Wapello State Park © Angela Cremer
Lake Wapello State Park © Angela Cremer
Lake Wapello State Park © Angela Cremer
Lake Wapello State Park © Angela Cremer
Lake Wapello State Park © Angela Cremer
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15248 Campground Road
Drakesville, Iowa   52552

Phone: 641-722-3371
Reservations: 641-722-3371
Email: park email button icon
Lake Wapello's 1,150 acres could easily be called the "country club" of Iowa's state parks. The beautiful wooded hillsides, shaded picnic areas and lake provide a quiet elegance which makes Lake Wapello one of southern Iowa's best-kept secrets. The beautiful lodge has been converted back into a restaurant. Enjoy the view of the lake and the excellent food when you come visit Lake Wapello State Park.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
 Electric Sitesyes
 Full Hookup Sitesyes
Lake Wapello's 14 family cabins provide a wonderful opportunity for an Iowa vacation "get away." The cabins, which accommodate 4 people comfortably, feature rest room, shower, and cooking facilities. Renters must provide their own bedding, towels, toiletry items, dishes and pots and pans. The cabins can be reserved for a fee through the Internet at or by calling toll-free 1-877-IAPARKS.
Lake Wapello State Park will accommodate 89 camping units, 44 with electrical outlets. Modern shower and rest room facilities are available, as well as a trailer-dump station. The campground is located adjacent to the lake and offers a fine opportunity to "rough it" in the great outdoors. 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.
The newly remodeled stone and timber 1930's beach building offers many visitor services including a seasonal restaurant serving a variety of foods, a lake observation deck, and restrooms. Beach users can purchase snacks and refreshments as well as bait and tackle at the concession area of the building. A portion of the building is available for rent if you wish to reserve a shady spot for a family gathering next to the beach. Contact the park office at 641/722-3371 to reserve the shelter or to find out more about the restaurant.
1. Lake Wapello State Park offers a sandy beach for swimming.
2. Lifeguards are not provided, so swim at your own risk.
3. Swimming is allowed during daylight hours only.
4. The lake's water quality is regularly monitored to ensure safety for swimmers.
5. There are no fees or permits required for swimming in the park's waters.

The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. There is a boat ramp available, making it easy to launch your own vessel onto the lake. Motorized boats are allowed but must adhere to no-wake speeds at all times in order to maintain peace and safety within the area. Paddleboats, canoes and kayaks are also welcome on the water body providing an opportunity for more leisurely exploration or fishing activities.
Anglers can enjoy fishing in a 289-acre lake, home to largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish. There's also an accessible pier for those with mobility issues. Ice fishing is popular during winter months. A fish cleaning station is available for convenience after the catch.

Lake Wapello State Park is located near Ottumwa

The shaded and grassy picnic areas are attractive spots for leisurely outdoor meals as well as great views of Lake Wapello. An open picnic shelter is available in the "Smith Knoll" picnic area. The shelter may be reserved for a fee through the park manager.
Biking enthusiasts can explore a 7-mile trail, but be aware it's shared with hikers. Helmets are strongly recommended.

The terrain varies from flat to moderately challenging hills; beginners should proceed carefully and at their own pace.

Off-road biking is not permitted in the park - stick to designated trails for safety reasons and environmental preservation.

Winter cycling isn't advised due to snowfall making paths slippery or impassable. Check weather conditions before planning your trip.

Remember that wildlife encounters may occur while riding so stay alert especially during dawn and dusk hours when animals are most active.

Always carry water, snacks, first-aid kit along on rides as there aren't many facilities available once you leave the main area of the park.

Night-time bicycling is prohibited within this location - plan accordingly ensuring all activities end by sundown.

Several miles of trails take you around the lake and through the park. Cross country skiing is a popular activity in the winter and there are several areas designated for cross country skiers. The park also offers multiple use trails for hiking and snowmobiling. A nature trail is located on the north side of the park.
The park offers a variety of birding opportunities with over 200 species recorded. Birdwatchers can spot waterfowl, songbirds and raptors in diverse habitats including woodland, prairie and lake areas. The spring migration season is particularly rewarding for spotting rare birds.

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