Elk Rock State Park RV & Campground Guide


Elk Rock State Park sits on over 50,000 acres of scenic woodland in southern Iowa, with the park bordering Lake Red Rock, the largest body of water in the state. It is fed by the Des Moines River. Elk Rock is a lush area in the forest with amenities geared towards equestrians; you'll see hitching posts and an arena for practice riding in the equestrian campground. Across the lake, Cordova Overlook gives you a view up the river and around the lake. Nearby, you'll find several small towns with exciting attractions, including the Knoxville Raceway. In nearby Newton, the Iowa Speedway hosts NASCAR events. Near Prairie City, the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge features a hands-on nature center and a buffalo herd roaming the lands.

Nearby Cities:

  • Knoxville, IA

  • Pella, IA

  • Prairie City, IA

  • Newton, IA

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Spring 51-75 F
Summer 83-87 F
Fall 66-84 F
Winter 33-37 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Elk Rock State Park

Campground Accommodations

Elk Rock State Park Equestrian Campground

  • Water hookup: No

  • Electrical hookup: Yes

  • Sewer hookup: No

  • Wi-Fi: No

  • Pet-friendly: Yes

  • Max RV length: 65 feet

  • Other amenities: Dump station, playground, hitching posts, riding arena, showers, flush toilets, fire rings, picnic tables

Elk Rock State Park Non-Equestrian Campground

  • Water hookup: No

  • Electrical hookup: Yes

  • Sewer hookup: No

  • Wi-Fi: No

  • Pet-friendly: Yes

  • Max RV length: 65 feet

  • Other amenities: Dump station, playground, showers, flush toilets, fire rings, picnic tables

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

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Elk Rock State Park

With more than 50,000 acres of open nature to explore, you'll get everything from horseback riding to fishing, with relaxing views of nature between activities. Take a walk or horseback ride down the nature trails and spot bald eagles, deer, and small critters along the route. Venture around the Lake Red Rock area and check out the newly constructed hydroelectric dam, the visitor's center with interactive exhibits, and the marina, which has camping and fishing supplies if you forgot anything at home. Catch a glimpse of a former highway leading to the city of Red Rock, which is now underwater as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers controlled flood.

With some of the best fishing in Iowa, Lake Red Rock offers open space to get your boat on the water. Check out the horseback trail and arena, and remember to glance up in the sky for bald eagles and migratory birds.

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. 

Fishing Fishing

Bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and many other fish fill the lake for excellent fishing opportunities. A six-lane boat ramp sits at the entrance to the park, with a second launch area on the back side of the park.

Geocaching Geocaching

Check out the official Geocaching website for any caches in the area. Be sure to dress comfortably for the weather and terrain, and follow the park rules while out on your hunt. Once you find a cache, you can take a prize and sign the logbook.

Nature Watching Nature Watching

Birdwatching is popular all year round at Elk Rock State Park. Bald eagles call the park home, as do numerous waterfowl such as ducks, pelicans, cormorants, and gulls. Numerous trails, bridges, and overlooks in the Lake Red Rock area are perfect for spotting birds and other wildlife.

Stargazing Stargazing

Away from the city lights, this rural escape in Iowa provides an astonishing view of the starry night sky. Grab your blanket and get out from under the cover of the trees to spot constellations and the different phases of the moon. For help spotting planets, download an app on your phone that lines you up for viewing.

Flora and Fauna

Elk Rock State Park, as part of the greater Lake Red Rock area, is home to mudflats, marshes, prairie, and forested areas. Cottonwoods, willows, and cockleburs are prominent in the area. While exploring, you are likely to see White-tailed deer, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, and raccoons.

Hiking Hiking

The 13 miles of multi-use trails give hikers and equestrians a chance to view the backcountry of the park, trekking through the woodlands and prairies. The pathways offer opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter.


One boat ramp sits near the park's entrance, with another near the park office at the back side of the park. Kyacks, canoes, and small fishing boats are allowed on the lake.

Swimming Swimming

Elk Rock State Park has no designated swimming area. However, a public beach on Lake Red Rock is nearby at North Overlook Park.


Mountain biking is allowed on the hiking trails. Many also choose to bike the park roads for some exercise.

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How to Get to
Elk Rock State Park

Elk Rock State Park sits on 146th Avenue, just off Highway 14. Highway 14 runs from Newton south through Knoxville and down to Corydon.

Entering Elk Rock State Park

Parking is available near both boat ramps in the park. Limited additional parking spots are available to registered guests of the campground. There is no fee to enter and enjoy Elk Rock State Park.

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!

Frequently Asked Questions About Elk Rock State Park

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

For adventures on land, the park bursts with new life in the spring, while in fall, you can look forward to the autumn colors. Alternatively, summer temperatures are perfect for boating, fishing, and hiking.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Elk Rock State Park?

While visiting the park, you will see white-tailed deer, squirrels, opossums, and raccoons. Birders can watch for ducks, bald eagles, and pelicans.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Elk Rock State Park?

There are more than 80 RV camping spots at Elk Rock State Park between the equestrian and non-equestrian camping areas. Each site has a fire ring, picnic table, and nearby restrooms.

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

Some spots in the campgrounds are available by reservation only. You must secure these sites online or by telephone. The other campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The nightly fee for a camping spot at Elk Rock State Park starts at $14.

Are pets allowed at Elk Rock State Park?

Your pets are welcome at Elk Rock State Park. You can take them on the hiking trails and camp roads. However, you must clean up after your four-legged companions, and they must be on a leash.