Bellevue State Park RV & Campground Guide


Overlooking the mighty Mississippi River in northeast Iowa, Bellevue State Park sprawls across 770 acres of picturesque landscape. Timbered walking trails lead to a majestic Butterfly Garden, the educational Nature Center, and a main overlook that provides views from 250 feet above. From this overlook, you'll see the Mississippi River, Lock and Dam 12, and the city of Bellevue nearby. The park is split into two sections sitting about two miles apart, each with stunning scenery and plenty of recreational opportunities. Nearby Cities: • Bellevue, IA • Cedar Rapids, IA • Dubuque, IA • Clinton, IA

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Spring 45-71 F
Summer 81-83 F
Fall 47-75 F
Winter 28-33 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Bellevue State Park

Dyas Unit Campground • Water hookup: Yes • Electrical hookup: Yes • Sewer hookup: Yes • Wi-Fi: No • Pet-friendly: Yes • Max RV length: 66 feet • Other amenities: Modern restrooms with flush toilets, showers, sanitary dump station, playground, picnic tables, fire pits

Lakehurst Riverside Campground

Located just a half hour from Bellevue State Park along the Maquoketa River, Lakehurst Riverside Campground is a family-friendly RV park and campground nestled right in nature in a peaceful setting, surrounded by a variety of trees, wildflowers, bluffs and the river. Rates begin at $25 a night.

Water hookup: yes

Electrical hookup: yes

Sewer hookup: no

Wifi: no

Pet-friendly: no

Other amenities: restroom facilities with shower, primitive sites available, large pavilion available for rent for parties and receptions. For more information,click here.

Hoot Owl Hollow Campground and RV Park

Set on a tree-lined area behind Catfish Creek in the rolling hills of Eastern Iowa, Hoot Owl Hollow Campground and RV Park is a family-friendly RV park with full hookups and tent sites available as well. Visitors can rent a site for long or short term.

Water hookup: yes

Electrical hookup: yes

Sewer hookup: yes

Wifi: no

Pet-friendly: no

Other amenities: pool, pavilion available for rent, swings and sandbox. For more information,click here.

RV Rentals Near Bellevue State Park

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Bellevue State Park

Finding beauty in nature is what Bellevue State Park is all about! In the northern Nelson Unit of the park, you'll find the South Bluff Nature Center where people of all ages can explore all the park has to offer, learning about the valuable cultural history of the area, the animal and insect species inhabiting the park, and the plants that fill the green space all around. You'll also find the nature trail leading to the Butterfly Garden with over 60 species of butterflies, perennial and annual flowers, and a frog pond. Over on the Dyas Unit, you can trek down nearly four miles of trails to find scenic overlooks and streams full of aquatic wildlife. Both units of the park have picnic areas and majestic views of the surrounding area.

Inside Bellevue State Park

Bellevue State Park is known for its beautiful scenic views, rich history and unique features such as the butterfly garden. From hikes to picnic areas with stunning views and much more, there is something for everyone in your group to enjoy. Some of the things that make the State Park unique include:   

Hiking and Nature Activities – Between the two units of Bellevue State Park, there are plenty of hiking and nature activities! In the Nelson Unit, there are three trails, each offering a unique experience: scenic views of the Mississippi River, a trail through the butterfly garden and restored prairie and a limestone quarry with views of a primitive limestone kiln. In the Dyas Unit, there are over 5 miles of trails offering scenic overlooks, a stream with wildlife, plentiful spring flowers and much more.  

Nelson Unit Butterfly Garden – Located in the Nelson Unit, the Butterfly Garden is truly a must-visit! Visitors can walk through the area to take in almost 60 different species of butterflies, a frog pond and array of flowers. The area includes over one hundred separate plots on one acre, each featuring plants and flowers that provide food and habitat for the butterflies.

South Bluff Nature Center – Also located inside the Nelson Unit, the South Bluff Nature Center offers an educational glimpse into Bellevue State Park. Visitors can enjoy a variety of interesting and educational displays on the animals, plants and geology of the State Park.

Picnicking – After a hike taking in the beautiful sights within Bellevue State Park, enjoying a snack or meal is a fun way to relax! There are a few picnicking opportunities in the Nelson Unit, which offer views of the Mississippi River. Open picnic shelters and a lodge (perfect for family events or larger parties) may be reserved online through the park reservation system.

Nature Watching Nature Watching

Dozens of bird species, nearly 60 butterfly species, and some small creatures in the streams call Bellevue State Park home. You'll also find whitetail deer, rabbits, squirrels, and several small rodents and insects in the park. In the winter, watch for bald eagles feeding on the water of the Mississippi River.

Stargazing Stargazing

Away from the city lights, especially in the further south Dyas Unit, you'll find an open prairie perfect for gazing up at the open sky. Be sure to check your favorite stargazing app to see which solar bodies are in view each night.

Flora and Fauna

Filling the space at Bellevue State Park are trees such as white and red oak, elm, sugar maple, walnut, and red cedar. Prickly ash, blackberry, and Missouri gooseberry shrubs also decorate the park. Running around enjoying the shade and food of these plants are opossums, raccoons, squirrels, and chipmunks. Nesting in the branches of the trees, you'll find birds such as the swallow, oriole, eastern bluebird, bobolink, and many more.

Hiking Hiking

In the Nelson Unit of the park, there are just over two miles of trails with scenic views. The Quarry Trail leads to a primitive lime kiln. Other trails from the main overlook lead to Pulpit Rock and Indian Mounds that date back to Middle Woodland Culture. In the Dyas Unit, you'll find four miles of trails that take you alongside streams. Deer Trail is a short and easy hike near the campground.

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How to Get to
Bellevue State Park

The Nelson Unit of Bellevue State Park sits just south of the town of Bellevue. Take Highway 52 south from town, where you'll find the main entrance. To get to the Dyas Unit of the park, you'll continue farther south on Highway 52 to 429th Avenue. Take a right on 429th Avenue until you reach the main entrance. Ample signage is posted for both entrances along the route.

Entering Bellevue State Park

There is parking available off the main road in both units, giving you access to the trails. There is also some additional parking in the campground. There is no fee to enter Bellevue State Park.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bellevue State Park

What is the best time of year to visit Bellevue State Park?

Spring through fall temperatures are warm and comfortable for a hike through the park and wildlife viewing. Summertime is when the area is most popular for hiking and picnicking. In this area of northeast Iowa, the changing leaves on the trees provide stunning colors over the park during the autumn months.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Bellevue State Park?

Whitetail deer, opossums, squirrels, chipmunks, and other rodents can be seen frolicking throughout the park. Overhead, you'll see dozens of bird species such as the swallow, wren, and even woodpeckers. Bald eagles are spotted in the area, especially in the winter when they hunt for food on the Mississippi River.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Bellevue State Park?

There are 46 designated RV camping spots in the campground at Dyas Unit. Each of these spots has electrical hookups as well as picnic tables and fire pits.

Do you have to reserve a camping spot at Bellevue State Park and what is the cost?

A quarter of the campsites in the campground at Dyas Unit are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can register for these at the park office or by self-registering after you arrive. The rest of the sites can be reserved online. Campsites range in price from $12-$24 per night.

Are pets allowed at Bellevue State Park?

Pets must be attended and kept under control at all times. They must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet, and you must keep them quiet. Be sure to always clean up after your pets!