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Thread: Midwest Camping

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    Midwest Camping

    Hey there fanatics. I'm looking for some advice.

    I'm trying to arrange a few camping trips this spring, summer, fall around Iowa and/or the Midwest.

    This certainly wouldn't be "roughing it", per se, but we're looking for places to camp (state parks, etc.) that aren't your run of the mill KOA, loaded with RVers, etc. Preferably with good hiking, swimming, or other outdoor activities opportunities nearby.

    Any good thoughts in Iowa or the surrounding states?

    The only one I have so far is Devils Lake State Park in Wisconsin.



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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Ft. Robinson State Park in northwest Nebraska
    Custer State Park in South Dakota
    (Devils Tower just across the border in WY is small but
    would be great for a one/two night stay)
    Badlands National Park - South Dakota
    Roosevelt National Park - North Dakota
    (south unit has a lot more hiking opportunities)
    Boundry Waters (if you want to canoe) or
    Voyaguers National Park (Just west of Boundry Waters -
    I've read that there is a 'backcountry' lodge that you
    can rent a room/rooms at - but you would have to
    investigate some more since I've never been there)

    And the place I would head first the Ozarks -
    but again you will have to look to others since
    I have not camped there. However, I have read
    that Buffalo National River in northwest Arkansas
    is absolutely beautiful.

    Have fun.



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    Re: Midwest Camping

    I have camped at and liked Backbone State Park (known for trout fishing) and Lake McBride State Park on Coralville Lake. Lewis and Clark Recreation Area in Yankton, SD is a really nice park.



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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by ISUAlum05 View Post
    I have camped at and liked Backbone State Park (known for trout fishing) and Lake McBride State Park on Coralville Lake. Lewis and Clark Recreation Area in Yankton, SD is a really nice park.
    Numerous great trout fishing streams around there, great part of the state.



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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Might be a little to far away..but Grand Teton National Park just south of Yellowstone is BEAUTIFUL. Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a nice little town, beautiful country over there.


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    Re: Midwest Camping

    I would recommend Maquoketa Caves State Park. Nice campground and a beautiful park. The caving is fun. Bring a flashlight and clothes you don't mind getting really muddy in. There is also good canoeing on the Maquoketa river.



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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Backbone is, IMO maybe the most beautiful park in Iowa. Lots of hiking trails and the trout fishing is good. In fact, I caught a 6 lb rainbow in the Maquoketa, just where it starts into the park. There is also a cave that some friends and I went into. Its marked in the park, and doesn't really look like much, but there is a little hole to one side that you can get into and go for a couple hundred feet.


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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Always loved Devil's Lake (about two hrs from Dubuque), but we had to stay in a campground off the park. Best rock climbing in the Midwest IMO.


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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Ledges, between Des Moines and Boone off of Hwy 17 has a lot of great hiking trails, and is very scenic river bluff country.


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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Boundary Waters


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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by oldman View Post
    Ledges, between Des Moines and Boone off of Hwy 17 has a lot of great hiking trails, and is very scenic river bluff country.
    The road to the lower ledges was closed all last year, anyone know if they will have it open this year?



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    Re: Midwest Camping

    In Minnesota along the shore of Lake Superior there are a handful of great state parks within about 30 miles of each other. My fiance and I went up there a couple years ago and loved it. There's great hiking trails and fishing, but it may not be the best for swimming unless you're fine with swimming in rivers. Lake Superior is pretty cold even in the summer.



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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by clone99 View Post
    Boundary Waters
    Good call. I'll be working there this summer in conjunction with the USFS rebuilding portage trails.

    Isle Royale is a fantastic destination, and some of the best backpacking I've been on.

    The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT), is a great North Shore destination and has some good spots to stop at along the way. It's in pretty good shape, and gets regular maintenance (I helped rebuild some of it last year).

    Yellow River is supposed to be pretty good here in IA, but I haven't been to it yet.



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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by jackrabbit View Post

    And the place I would head first the Ozarks -
    but again you will have to look to others since
    I have not camped there. However, I have read
    that Buffalo National River in northwest Arkansas
    is absolutely beautiful.

    Have fun.
    You are absolutely correct, especially in April or May. The river warms up enough to swim in (still cold) sometime around May usually. I did a 3 day trip where we hiked 22 miles up the river in two days, and canoed back in a day. So beautiful. Probably the best trip I've been on, and I've been other places in the Ozarks, Big Bend TX, almost all the NPs in Cali, and to various places in Colorado (Lake Charles maybe beats Buffalo River).

    It's probably a 6-7 hr trip from Ames. There are a bunch of campgrounds you can drive to on the River. Ozarks the only one I remember by name.


    Last edited by Doc; 01-31-2012 at 01:22 PM.

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    Re: Midwest Camping

    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    Good call. I'll be working there this summer in conjunction with the USFS rebuilding portage trails.

    Isle Royale is a fantastic destination, and some of the best backpacking I've been on.

    The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT), is a great North Shore destination and has some good spots to stop at along the way. It's in pretty good shape, and gets regular maintenance (I helped rebuild some of it last year).

    Yellow River is supposed to be pretty good here in IA, but I haven't been to it yet.
    I spent every other weekend there from Memorial day to Labor day growing up. We camped in the Little Paint area. Great for hiking around, trout fishing, and hunting. Be careful in torrential downpours, as it can flash flood.


    "Just remember, what you choose to do with each day is very important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it" -ET

    "I'm trying not to sweat the small stuff in my life, but there is a definite learning curve." -CE

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