You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

Iowa State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Northeast Region
Pine Lake State Park
start slideshow
Pine Lake State Park Rental building © Ron Cook
Pine Lake State Park Lower Pine Lake spillway. © Ron Cook
Pine Lake State Park Rental cabin © Ron Cook
Pine Lake State Park © Ron Cook
Pine Lake State Park Bridge © ron cook
Footbridge leading to the rental cabins.
Pine Lake State Park Two cabins © ron cook
Two of the 4 cabins for rental.
Pine Lake State Park Iowa River © ron cook
The Iowa River, where Pine Lake empties into it.
Pine Lake State Park Pine Lake cabin © ron cook
Cabin 3 at Pine Lake, along the Iowa River.
Pine Lake State Park Cabin interior. © ron cook
Inside of cabin 3. Cabin has central heat and air.
Pine Lake State Park Cabin interior © ron cook
Inside of cabin 3. Fireplace, tables, chairs and 2 futons for sleeping are included.
Pine Lake State Park Kitchen in cabin 3 © ron cook
Cabin 3 kitchen, wagon included for hauling luggage.
Pine Lake State Park Cabin interior © ron cook
Interior of cabin 3. Bath with shower, fridge, oven and microwave, all nice and new.
Pine Lake State Park Upper Pine Lake © ron cook
Taken on 7-20-2003.
Availability Search
22628 County Highway S56
Eldora, Iowa   50627-8010

Phone: 641-858-5832
Reservations: 641-858-5832
Email: park email button icon
Pine Lake State Park provides a pleasing mix of woodland, river and lake in the midst of rolling farmland. The 585-acre park encompasses two lakes: 50-acre Lower Pine Lake and 69-acre Upper Pine Lake. Of special appeal to nature enthusiasts are the ancient white pine, the white-barked birch trees and the rare ferns found along the Iowa River. The pine-scented air of the campgrounds and picnic areas is a pleasing rarity in Iowa.
History of the Area
Located in Hardin County, the area now known as Pine Lake State Park was originally inhabited by Native American tribes. European settlers arrived and used the land primarily for agriculture and timber harvesting before it became a park.

In 1926, efforts to establish recreational spaces led to its designation as one of Iowa's state parks. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a significant role during the Great Depression era; they constructed buildings, trails, bridges, and dams that remain historical features today.

The park expanded over time with additional land acquisitions. It encompasses two lakes: Lower Pine Lake and Upper Pine Lake - both created from damming of the Iowa River tributaries which enhanced recreation opportunities like fishing and boating.

Over decades since establishment, facilities have been updated or added including campgrounds, picnic areas,and lodges while maintaining natural habitats for wildlife viewing. Restoration projects often aim at preserving native ecosystems within this Midwestern landscape.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
 Electric Sitesyes
 Full Hookup Sitesyes
A beautiful stone and timber lodge is located high on a ridge overlooking Lower Pine Lake. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, it is popular for reunions and other groups and may be rented through the park office.
Four recently remodeled stone and timber cabins are nestled along the Iowa River. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress administration in the 1930s, these cabins have fireplaces to take the chill off a cool fall day. "Pine Creek" and "Bittersweet" cabins accommodate up to 6 people, "Goldfinch" and "Sandstone" up to four. "Pine Creek" is accessible to the mobility-impaired. Each cabin features a shower, restroom, stove, and refrigerator. Cabin users must provide their own dishes, eating utensils, bedding, towels and other camping items. The cabins can be reserved for a fee through the Internet at or by calling toll-free 1-877-IAPARKS.
The Pine Lake campground is one of the finest in the state. There are 124 camping units with electrical hook-ups, modern showers, restroom facilities and a trailer dump station. 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. Two camp pads are accessible to the mobility-impaired but the shower building is not at this time.
1. Pine Lake State Park offers two sandy beaches for swimming.
2. The park's Lower and Upper Pine Lakes are popular spots for swimmers of all ages.
3. Lifeguards aren't provided, so swim at your own risk.
4. Swimming is allowed from 6 a. m to 10: 30 p. m daily during the summer season only.
5. No diving or jumping off bridges into the lake is permitted due to safety concerns.

The park offers a variety of boating options for visitors. There are boat ramps available, providing easy access to the water for those who bring their own boats. Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities on the lake as well. Motorized boats are allowed but must adhere to a 5 mph speed limit ensuring safety for all users including swimmers and anglers.
You can enjoy fishing in two lakes, offering species like largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish. A boat ramp is available for easy access to the water. Ice fishing is popular during winter months. The park also has a fish cleaning station for convenience after your catch.

Pine Lake State Park is

Pine Lake offers 5 beautiful picnic areas. One is a quiet river setting near Pine Creek on the eastern side of the Iowa River. The "Hogsback Bluffs Picnic Area" overlooks the lower lake. Others are located at the Upper Lake Boat Ramp, Circle Point and Horseshoe. The Horseshoe Picnic Area is accessible to the mobility-impaired. All picnic areas have fireplaces, tables and rest room facilities. Open picnic shelters located at Circle Point, Upper Lake Boat Ramp and at the beach may be reserved for a fee through the park office.
Be aware that biking options are limited. There aren't any designated bike trails, but cycling is allowed on park roads.

Exercise caution when riding due to vehicle traffic and potential wildlife encounters. Always wear a helmet for safety.

The terrain can be hilly at times so ensure your fitness level matches the challenge before embarking on a ride.

Remember, there's no off-road or mountain biking available here; stick strictly to paved surfaces within this area.

Please respect nature by not venturing into non-designated areas while enjoying your bicycling experience in these surroundings.
There are more than 10 miles of well developed trails around the beautiful lake. Walk under 250-year-old white pine trees on the southern shore of Lower Pine Lake. A self-guided nature trail starts in the Hogsback Picnic Area and ends near the beach. Trails are marked with points of interest that correspond with trail brochures available at trail heads, the campground and the park office.

The Lake-to-Lake State Park Bike Route is a 50 mile route connecting Pine Lake and George Wyth Memorial state parks primarily utilizing county highways, and established bike routes and paths once inside Cedar Falls/Waterloo.

Carry your own gear and "rough it" in the campgrounds or take comfort in a local bed and breakfast or motel along the route. Some bed and breakfasts offer a shuttle service of gear or luggage for a nominal fee. Reservations for this service must be made in advance. Detailed route brochures are available through the DNR.

The trail head for the 52-mile Cedar Valley Nature Trail, which connects Cedar Falls/Waterloo with Cedar Rapids, is located on the southeast edge of Waterloo. Brochures are available by calling 319/266-6813.
The park offers diverse birding opportunities with over 200 species, including waterfowl and songbirds. Birdwatchers can explore two lakes, marshy areas, mixed forests and a prairie landscape. The Eldora Hawk Watch is also nearby for raptor enthusiasts.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
March 6 Great family fun! by Senne Family
park review stars; one to five We had a family weekend getaway. No TV, no electronics, etc. We played board games and went for a hike. We built a fire and roasted hot dogs & marshmallows. We had a great time!
February 9 Best family time ever last 7 summers by v family
park review stars; one to five Cabins are the best
November 8 beautiful! by ann
park review stars; one to five the cabins are so cute and cozy and the park is beautiful. we loved it.
write a review read more reviews
Share On

Nearby Hotels

- Determine the most direct route to Eldora, Iowa.
- Drive towards Highway 20 if you are in Northern or Central Iowa.
- If located in Southern Iowa, take Interstate 80 East until reaching Exit for IA -14 North/Toledo and Marshalltown exit.
- Follow signs directing toward State Hwy S56/Eldora via US65 N from Ia -330 W/Iowa Falls Rd E.
- Turn right onto County Road D35 (signs for Pine Lake State Park).
- Follow this road directly into the park.

state route ranger badge

Iowa State Parks