Elk Rock State Park RV & Campground Guide


Elk Rock State Park in Knoxville, Iowa, is located right on Iowa’s largest water body, Lake Red Rock. The State Park has more than 50,000 acres of public land as part of the park, which means there is no shortage of recreational opportunities, from multi-use trails to fishing, swimming, boating and even an equestrian campground and horse trails! The park has a robust history – it’s located on an area that had been inhabited by Native Americans, dating back more than five thousand years. Whether you’re considering Elk Rock State Park for your next family camping trip or are just interested in the unique history and activities available inside the park and nearby, read on to learn more!

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Spring 40-73 F
Summer 66-86 F
Fall 43-77 F
Winter 13-36 F
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Nearby Cities
Otley, IA
Pella, IA
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Elk Rock State Park

Skipping the tent under the stars and opting for glamping in a comfortable RV is a surefire way to make your next camping vacation a memorable one! Camping in an RV offers a private bathroom of your own, a fully stocked kitchen perfect for cooking family meals and best of all, a comfortable and cozy bed. If you’re going to opt for an RV, consider renting one fromRVshare.com. The site makes it a breeze to find a perfect RV for your family, and best of all, for your budget. Plus, all rentals come with nationwide insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance.

After securing the perfect RV, you need the perfect place to park it! Luckily, Elk Rock State Park has two campgrounds for campers, including a unique equestrian campground. The equestrian campground features electric and non-electric sites, a modern shower building, plus horse stalls, hitching rails and a 100-foot by 200-foot riding arena. The non-equestrian campground also features electric and non-electric sites, a dumping station, modern shower building and a self-dispensing firewood machine. These popular campsites fill up quickly, but there are plenty of other campgrounds in the area. Here are some worth checking out:

Wallashuck Campground

Located right on Lake Red Rock, just about 20 minutes from the State Park, Wallashuck Campground is known for its Dutch heritage! The quiet campground is open from April 25th – September 29th, and visitors enjoy a variety of recreation activities such as fishing, boating, hiking, wildlife viewing and more. Rates begin at $20 a night.

Water hookup: no

Electrical hookup: yes

Sewer hookup: no

Wifi: no

Pet-friendly: no

Other amenities: flush and pit toilets, showers, drinking water, dump station, playground, visitor center, picnic shelters, ranger stations and handicap accessibility.  

Newton/Des Moines East KOA Journey

Located about a half hour from Elk Rock State Park, the Newton/Des Moines East KOA Journey is set in an open, rolling area and offers a wide variety of campsites and amenities. The location is also near many area attractions, so there is plenty to do both inside the campground and out!

Water hookup: yes

Electrical hookup: yes

Sewer hookup: yes

Wifi: yes

Pet-friendly: yes

Other amenities: pool, dog park, cable TV, firewood, 1-mile nature trail, fishing, groceries, game room, horseshoes, laundry facilities, meeting room, pool table, camp store and more.

RV Rentals Near Elk Rock State Park

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What to Do at
Elk Rock State Park

Inside Elk Rock State Park

Lake Red Rock may be one of the highlights of the State Park, but there are plenty of opportunities for fun both in and out of the water! With multi-use trails, including trails for horse riding, wildlife viewing and more, everyone is sure to have a great time within the park. Here are some of the activities and things to do inside the park:

Trails – Elk Rock State Park has 13-miles of multi-use trails, all winding through a variety of habitats. Trails can be used for hiking, running, horse riding, mountain biking and even snowmobiling in the winter months. From woodlands to remnants of native prairie and trails with wildlife viewing opportunities, the habitats and trails offer a lot of beautiful, natural sights to see!

Lake Recreation – Lake Red Rock is one of the highlights of Elk Rock State Park, and it offers plenty of water recreation, including boating, swimming and of course, fishing. The State Park has two different boat ramps to access the Lake, including a six-lane ramp at the entrance and another ramp at the back side of the park. Anglers can try their luck and hopefully snag one of the varieties of fish, including bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass, channel catfish and more.

Picnicking/Shelters – Looking for a perfect place to stop, relax and grab a snack or meal? Elk Rock State Park has two open shelters that can be reserved online, plus a picnic area located just one mile north of the entrance. 

Outside Elk Rock State Park

From additional nature activities to shopping, the renowned Iowa Speedway and much more, there is so much to do in the Knoxville, Iowa area and beyond. Once you’ve enjoyed a day inside Elk Rock State Park, take a quick drive to see some of the other attractions, grab a meal with friends and family and more. Here are some of the things worth doing in the area:


Having a fully stocked kitchen in your RV is great, but sometimes you just want a meal out! The area around Elk Rock State Park has a wide variety of restaurants, each offering unique, delicious food, so no matter how picky your kids are, they will be happy! Here are some nearby restaurants worth checking out:

One Eleven Public House

One Eleven Public House uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible to bring delicious food to the area. Located just 15 minutes from the State Park, the menu includes small plates, flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, and big supper plates.

Type: Comfort Food

Location: Knoxville, IA


Try something a little different at Dutchfix! The drive-up, locally owned restaurant features many popular Dutch foods. Stop by for a variety of coffees and ice cream and Dutch dishes such as poffertjes, stroopwafels, olieboolen, dutch mess, gouda curds. It’s a fun, unique dinner experience the entire family is sure to love!

Type: Dutch

Location: Clear Lake, IA

Manny’s Diner

Everyone loves breakfast for dinner sometimes! With breakfast all day, Manny’s Diner has something for everyone, including homemade daily specials, soup and breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes. In a casual atmosphere, it’s a great place for a reasonably priced family meal.

Type: American

Location: Knoxville, IA


Molengracht Plaza

Located in downtown Pella, the Molengracht Plaza is great for shopping but also just an afternoon stroll to take in the sights! It’s designed to look like an authentic Dutch canal and features over 100,000 square feet of boutiques, stores, bakeries and meat markets. There are also casual and fine dining restaurants, a movie theatre and an authentic canal and working drawbridge.

Location: Pella, IA


Cordova Park Observation Tower

The Cordova Park Observation Tower is the tallest observation tower in the Midwest! The 106-foot converted water tower offers beautiful views of the Lake Red Rock and Des Moines River Valley, 170 steps up. It’s open year-round and there is an admission fee.

Location: Otley, IA

Iowa Speedway

A state-of-the-art asphalt race tract and motorsports facility, the Iowa Speedway is known as the fastest short track on the planet. It’s the only race track owned and raced at by NASCAR, the only 7/8 mile asphalt oval in the world, designed for year-round use and is worth a visit to take in an event or just check it out!

Location: Newton, IA

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and Prairie Learning and Visitor Center

A unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge has a mission to “actively protect, restore, reconstruct and manage the diverse native ecosystems of tallgrass prairie, oak savanna and sedge meadow.” Visitors can enjoy hiking and wildlife viewing, environmental education, photography and much more.

Location: Prairie City, IA

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How to Get to
Elk Rock State Park

Elk Rock State Park is located on 146th Avenue in Knoxville, Iowa. For more information and directions, click here.

Entering Elk Rock State Park

Like all State Parks in the State of Iowa, Elk Rock State Park does not charge an entrance fee.

Whether you are excited for enjoying the lake, want to take your horse for a ride on a beautiful trail or just want to see the beauty nature has to offer, there is something for everyone at Elk Rock State Park. When you post your fun vacation photos on social media, don’t forget to tag us, or shoot us a photo and some details at [email protected]. We may just feature your story on our blog or social media channels. Happy camping!