Listen to our full interview with Carl from the Iowa DNR, as he talks about Pleasant Creek State Park, Iowa here:
Pleasant Creek State Park Iowa
Camp Iowa: We’re talking with Carl with the Iowa DNR for Pleasant Creek State Park. How long has the park been around?
Carl: Most of the park was established in the 70’s – the lake was built in the late ’70s and the park really started to be developed in the mid-80s.
Camp Iowa: Perfect. Where is Pleasant Creek State Park located?
Carl: It is about four miles north of Palo, Iowa, which is about 10 miles west of Cedar Rapids.
Camp Iowa: What are probably the most popular activities while people are in the park?
Carl: Pleasant Creek is actually a state recreation area, so it is a little bit different than most areas in the state of Iowa with that. We have a lot to offer at Pleasant Creek. Pleasant Creek has a wide variety of outdoor activities. With it being a state recreation area, it’s all public hunting, so we have about 2,000 acres of public hunting to offer everyone. It has a little bit larger than a 400 acre lake, so we have a lot of pan fishing to offer, a lot of sport fishing, bass, walleyes, muskies.
We have approximately 70 campsites, so we have a large campground with spacious campsites. Electric sites, modern restrooms. We also have a large beach that draws in a large crowd. We have several large picnic areas. We also have a dog trial area that sponsors AKC-approved dog trials.
And then the last thing but not the least, we also have an equestrian trail that is approximately eight miles long. It’s a multiuse trail, mostly used by equestrians and horses. Also used in the wintertime by snowmobilers.
Camp Iowa: Great. Sounds like there’s certainly a lot to do within the park. What are some of the other attractions in the area that are possibly worth checking out?
Carl: In the area, like I said, we’re about 12 miles approximately from Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids has a lot of things to offer, a lot of hotels. A lot of day activities in Cedar Rapids, night activities. Rough Riders, Cedar Rapids Cardinals. We also have Center Point that’s not too far away. Travel Plaza there, a couple hotels in Center Point that aren’t too far away. But basically, being so close to Cedar Rapids, all the activities that Cedar Rapids has to offer in the community.
Camp Iowa: Certainly in Cedar Rapids there’s a lot of the stores and different things. In the park, do you guys have any type of camp store to sell ice or food, that type of stuff to the campers or people there for the recreational activities?
Carl: In years past, we’ve had a concessionaire that’s been able to provide activities such as snack items, ice, firewood, that kind of thing. But we do not have a concessionaire currently at this time. We do have a friends group, the Friends of Pleasant Creek. They offer firewood sales, so you can buy your firewood right here in the campground. But we do not currently have anyone in the park, a concessionaire providing those services.
Four miles south of here in the town of Palo, there’s the Palo Outdoor Store, which is an outdoor store that also will provide all the amenities you may need throughout your stay here at Pleasant Creek.
Camp Iowa: In terms of the camping, do you guys have any group sites?
Carl: Yeah, we have one. It’s actually a youth group site. It’s for organized youth groups, such as Boy Scouts, church groups – again, organized youth groups. We don’t have any group sites per se for more than one family to set up on. All of our sites are individual sites except for that youth group site.
Camp Iowa: With the campsites, are they secluded or are they more open?
Carl: No, we have three separate campgrounds that are all basically – none of them are what you would consider walk-in sites. They’re all pull-through sites or back-in sites that are all open and contained within a certain area of the recreation area.
Camp Iowa: If you could spend one hour in Pleasant Creek State Park, what would you do?
Carl: What would I do? I would say probably our biggest draw here is the lake. Most people come out here for that in mind, using the lake. Fishing, it’s a great pan fishing lake, lots of walleyes. People travel from out of state to fish for muskies. We’ve got a great population of muskies in the lake. We have people from Minnesota and Wisconsin that come down yearly to fish the lake for muskies. So I would say I enjoy the outdoors as well, and fishing is a big part of what I enjoy. I would probably come out and use the lake.
However, the beach is also a very large attraction too. I would say most people come out and either fish or use the beach, mostly.
Camp Iowa: And if you could spend one night in Pleasant Creek campground, which campsite would you choose and why?
Carl: Which campsite would I choose and why? Our campground is very spacious, very large campsites. Probably larger than most average campgrounds. It also sits up above the lake. Several sites are kind of what you would consider lake view sites. You sit above the lake, you can look down and see the lake down below you.
But if I had one campsite to choose, I would choose site #63 just because it sits up high; you can overlook pretty much the entire lake. It’s not close to the lake, but it sits up above. You have a great view. But we also have several other sites that are in rows above the lake, too, with great views. We don’t have what I would consider a bad campsite here. Almost all of them are just wonderful, spacious sites.
Camp Iowa: Absolutely. Thank you so much for the insights. We really appreciate it.
Carl: No problem.