Walnut Woods State Park RV & Campground Guide

Iowa

Walnut Woods State Park

boasts the most extensive surviving natural stand of black walnut trees in North America. Aside from the hardwood forest, visitors can access the Raccoon River, which offers plenty of water activities. There's also a year-round lodge on-site that offers both an indoor and outdoor fireplace where you can gather together for a graduation, wedding, or large family gathering. Walnut Woods is about eight miles southeast of West Des Moines and nine miles southwest of Urbandale. When visiting, you'll love the mild temperatures, but it is wise to bring a sweater or jacket as the nights tend to become chilly. In winter, the temperatures stay near or below freezing. 

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Weather
Spring 29-73 F
Summer 62-86 F
Fall 30-77 F
Winter 13-35 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Walnut Woods State Park

Whether you visit Walnut Woods State Park in the warmth of summer or during the cold winter, an RV provides the ideal home base. It will keep you comfortable if you stay at the rustic on-site campground. If you don't have an RV, consider renting one from RVshare.com, where you can select from different models and class sizes. 

Timberline Campground

Timberline Campground is a few miles from West Des Moines and about 1.5 miles from Interstate 80. The campground offers both tent and RV site accommodations; any size of rig or camper can easily fit in and maneuver throughout the grounds with ease. There is a camp store where you can purchase snacks, supplies, soda, firewood, and Iowa wines.

  • Water hookup: Yes
  • Electrical hookup: Yes
  • Sewer hookup: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes
  • Other amenities: Dump station, swimming pool, recreation hall, and playground

Iowa State Fair Campgrounds

This campground offers camping arrangements during the state fair and other times throughout the year. The Iowa State Fair Campgrounds has more than 2,300 sites during the fair events, so there are plenty of spaces for non-fair camping as well. If you stay here, you will be within easy walking distance of all fairground activities.

  • Water hookup: Yes
  • Electrical hookup: Yes
  • Sewer hookup: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes
  • Other amenities: Three large bathhouses and restrooms

Griff’s Valley View RV Park & Campground

Griff’s Valley View RV Park & Campground has 142 sites that accommodate big rigs. The campground is a short distance from Interstate 35 and other local attractions. There is an inside lodge, a recreation room, and a playground.

  • Water hookup: Yes
  • Electrical hookup: Yes
  • Sewer hookup: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes
  • Other amenities: Laundry facility, storm shelters, and exercise equipment

RV Rentals Near Walnut Woods State Park

Nearby RV Rentals

Restaurants

What to Do at
Walnut Woods State Park

Inside Walnut Woods State Park

Walnut Woods State Park has more than two miles of trails that meander through wooded bottomland along the Raccoon River. Bird-watching is an activity that many tourists enjoy all year round. During the summer and fall months, you'll be able to spot owls, flycatchers, hawks, warblers, and various kinds of songbirds. Picnic sites are located strategically throughout the park, making it convenient to gather together with friends and family. You can go boating, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing in the river. 

Outside Walnut Woods State Park

When you visit West Des Moines, you'll have plenty to explore outside of the park. The area just outside of Walnut Woods State Park is filled with various restaurants, shops, and other exciting attractions. Of course, Iowa's capital city of Des Moines is just a few miles away, too.

Restaurants

Bonefish Grill

Fill up on delicious seafood at Bonefish Grill, which sits less than seven miles from Walnut Woods State Park entrance. The bar features hand-crafted cocktails, draft beer, and a variety of wines.

Type: Seafood

Location: 650 S. Prairie View Drive, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Waterfront Seafood Market

Waterfront Seafood Market sells fresh fish, spices, and kitchen tools. You can even get a delicious recipe on how to prepare your seafood choice. There's also a restaurant that serves the freshest seafood right to your plate.

Type: Seafood

Location: 2900 University Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Gilroy’s Kitchen + Pub + Patio

Enjoy a sangria, margarita, or a Moscow mule porch pounder at this relaxed joint known for its catering services, party accommodations, and delicious American dishes. Gilroy’s Kitchen + Pub + Patio offers wine, beer, and other non-alcoholic beverages.

Type: American

Location: 1238 8th Street, West Des Moines, IA 50265

Perkup Café

Craving a delicious homemade meal during your state park stay? The Perkup Café menu is packed full of homemade food that includes apple cinnamon bread, strawberry shortcake, and more.

Type: American

Location: 2700 University Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano

Are you looking for a restaurant that serves gluten-free dishes? Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano offers delicious gluten-free dishes that instill all the flavors you could ever want in your food. The restaurant serves other delicious dishes that include pasta, seafood, steak, and more.

Type: Italian, Seafood

Location: 5900 University Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Shopping

Grand Junction Shopping Center

This shopping center offers a variety of specialty shops, hip bars, and tasty restaurants. There is even a movie rental place for your entertainment.

Location: 1720 Grand Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50265

Valley West Mall

Find out the latest trends at Valley West Mall, which is home to several stylish shops. Many of the retailers offer a variety of sales and savings on their products.

Location: 1551 Valley W Drive, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Heart of Iowa Market Place

Heart of Iowa Market Place has been Iowa’s original specialty store since 1983. The market has a variety of gift baskets that would be ideal for a special occasion. You can fill yours with small gifts, souvenirs, and Iowa gourmet foods.

Location: 211 5th Street, West Des Moines, IA 50265

Fareway Grocery

Fareway Grocery provides an unmatched full-service meat department, farm-fresh produce, and other grocery items. Here, you can get all the supplies needed to fill your RV refrigerator.

Location: 329 Grand Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50265

Hy-Vee

At Hy-Vee, which is just off of Interstate 35, you can shop at the market, pharmacy, garden center, and more. The department store offers various prepared meals, including Asian, American, Mexican, and plenty of comfort food items.

Location: 555 South 51st Street, West Des Moines, IA 50265

Sightseeing

Blank Park Zoo

Just a short drive from the state park, this zoo features 104 different animal species. More than 1,480 animal specimens are cared for at Blank Park Zoo; these animals are well adapted to zoo life. The zoo offers an educational program to widen young children's minds.

Location: 7401 Southwest 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50315

Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens

Explore the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens and experience the art and sculpture of many different types of plant species. There are 15 gardens to explore, and each time you visit, you'll see new growth and flowers in bloom.

Location: 909 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines, IA 50309

Des Moines Art Center

Look at the exhibits at Des Moines Art Center where you can see unique collections of art. The center offers educational programs while providing opportunities for transformational art experiences.

Location: 4700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312

The Escape Rooms

Experience 60 minutes of adrenaline fun at The Escape Rooms. There are three escape rooms to choose from, and each gives you different exciting thrills.

Location: 5465 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Living History Farms

Living History Farms is an interactive outdoor museum that entertains people of all age groups. The farm hosts family scheduled events that not only educate but also give a new outlook on history. Some annual events include the family Halloween and Christmas festivities.

Location: 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale, IA 50322

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How to Get to
Walnut Woods State Park

From Interstate 35, take Exit 68, travel on IA-5 toward West Des Moines/Norwalk, and follow for a little over a mile. Take exit 102; turn left onto Southeast 35th Street. Go about a half-mile, and then turn left onto Southwest 64th Avenue/Southeast Post Road. In a short distance, turn right onto Southwest 105th Street/Southwest 52nd Avenue and follow about 1.5 miles. Make a left onto Walnut Woods Drive and follow signs to the state park. 

Entering Walnut Woods State Park

Walnut Woods State Park is open Sunday through Saturday from 4 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. 

Per vehicle (1-4 adults) : $5

You'll make memories that last a lifetime when you take an RV adventure to Walnut Woods State Park. If you don't have an RV of your own, rent one with RVshare! If you share your trip photos on social media, be sure to tag us, or send them to [email protected] for a chance to be featured on our blog.