Pleasant Creek State Park is a popular destination in Palo, Iowa that offers a wide variety of nature adventure activities. It features a 410 acre fishing lake, Lewis Lake, in the middle. There are trails that can be enjoyed for nearly the whole year in several ways from horseback riding to using a snow mobile during the winter season. This plus many other attractions make it a great place for the whole family.
The park, considered an Important Bird Area in the state, has around 200 different bird species for the avid bird watchers. The size of its habitat has allowed birds, including the endangered Henslow’s sparrow, to use it as breeding areas. The prairie landscape is diverse enough and rich enough to support the wildlife that hunting and trapping is allowed during certain days of the year. The wildlife is of those animals who consider the prairie, wetlands, and grasslands home.
For the majority of Pleasant Creek State Park’s visitors who are not interested in either hunting or trapping but would rather observe the flora and fauna, there are several trails that may be used during the different seasons. A particularly interesting trail is the one mile Pleasant Ridge Trail located on the northern portion of the lake. The park’s recreational area has about ten miles worth of multipurpose trails. Hikers, those who go for equestrian rides, and mountain bikers can all use these eight feet wide mown trails. During winter, cross country skiing may be done as well as the use of snowmobiles to traverse them.
From the middle of March to the middle of May several dog trials are scheduled, a second season of these trials are held from early in September to late in October. These were traditionally conducted in the southern portion of the Pleasant Creek State Park.
The species of fish for those interested in fishing, which is quite common, are tiger muskellunge and channel catfish. These are restocked twice every year. Also available are the large trophy sized species of bass, bluegill, crappie, grass carp, perch, sunfish, and walleye. There is also an ice fishing tournament in winter that is held every February. Boats may be rented and bait purchased at the concession stands.
Although boating is allowed, the speed is limited to the no wake level. Other activities that may be indulged in are swimming, scuba diving, and windsurfing – this sport is the rage three seasons (summer, fall, and winter) out of four. Lessons are offered in both scuba diving and windsurfing in the summer months.
For the more mundane park visitors, several modern amenities are available for camping and picnics. There are 43 campsites with electricity available and, for those who would like to rough it a bit, another 26 that are non-electric. Despite camping being allowed the whole year, the restrooms, dump station, and the hot showers are open for use only from the middle of May to the middle of October. During these months, the camping cabins are also available for use. Located in the northern and southern portions of the park area are picnic tables and fire grills that may be used for cooking. These are shelters scattered throughout the park and open shelters that may be reserved. There are concession stands for firewood and snacks.
Other points of interest close by are Mud Lake and Lake McBride, for those who love lakes; and Cedar Rapids which has the following features the Czech Village, the Indian Creek Nature Center, the African American Historical Museum, and, for those who love hands-on activities, Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center.
Cabin, lodge, campsite and open shelter reservations may be done by calling the toll free number 1-877-IAPARKS or via the website reserveiaparks.com.