Brushy Creek State Recreation Area - Iowa

US National Parks and Monuments Travel Guide:

Park Overview

At over 6,000 acres, Brushy Creek is one of Iowa's largest tracts of public outdoor recreation land. Visitors can get a real sense of being "away from it all" while, at the same time, enjoying a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities such as camping, hunting, horseback riding, and winter sports. The development of a 690 acre lake and associated facilities will provide additional opportunities for boating, swimming, and fishing, picnicking. These developments are under construction and are expected to be completed in the future.

Facilities and Activities


Brushy Creek is a great place for picnics and large gatherings. Picnic areas are located around the park. They offer tables and fire grills. Two open shelters can be reserved online through the park reservation system.

Equestrian Camping

Equestrian users enjoy one of the most modern camp facilities in the Midwest. The northern equestrian campground has a modern shower and restroom, 125 campsites (50 electrical), horse wash area, ample shade, a substantial hitch rail at every site (users are required to tie animals to rails) and a 100' by 200' arena. Water hydrants with potable water are available, as are picnic tables, grills, and a playground. In the future another shower/toilet building will be constructed.

The south campground has a modern shower and restroom with 62 electric, 22 non-electric sites, and 8 full water and sewer hookup sites with the same amenities as the northern campground. Advance campsite reservations can be reserved online through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Horses are not to be hitched or tied to trees, shrubs or park facilities in a manner that will cause injury or damage to the plant or facility. Animals may be hitched to trailers for short periods of time for grooming and saddling. Animals must be stabled inside a trailer, at a hitch rail or in stalls or corrals if provided. Portable stall/pens or electric fences are not allowed.

Non-Equestrian Camping

A non-equestrian campground has 47 sites including 39 electric sites, and 8 with full water and sewer hookups. This location makes the campground very inviting to those using the nearby boatramp and beach. This area is also available for picnicking. Non equestrian campers are also welcome to use any of the equestrian campgrounds. Half of these campsites can be reserved online through the park reservation system. The rest of the campsites are available on a first come/first serve basis.

Equestrian Day Use Staging Area

Currently there is a day-use staging area near the existing equestrian campground in the northern portion of the recreation area and one in the southern portion, near the equestrian campground. Day users are encouraged to use these areas at no charge for the day. Facilities include seasonal restrooms. Additional staging areas are being developed in the southern area.

Lake Activities (swimming, boating, fishing)

Fishing is also a popular activity at Brushy Creek. The creek and Des Moines River have always provided not only scenic beauty but also a challenge to the angler with smallmouth bass and panfish as favorite catches. Several boat ramps and fishing jetties are located around the 690 acre lake. A fishing pier is located on the west side of the lake, north of the beach area. There are fishing tournaments occurring almost every weekend out on the lake.

Brushy Creek is a no wake lake, meaning that the maximum speed allowed on the lake is well below the speed needed for skiing, tubing or wakeboarding.

Swimming is allowed in the designated beach area only. A large sandy beach is located on the west side of the lake.


With approximately 45 miles of multi-use trails, there are trail activities for everyone including horseback riding, hiking, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and mountain biking. Mountain biking is allowed on all multiple use trails. A map of these trails is on display at the information kiosks located in the equestrian campgrounds.

Neighboring Towns

Lehigh is located five miles southwest of county road D45. Duncombe is located five miles north on county road P73. Stratford is located 9 miles south on Stagecoach Rd of Hwy 20. Ft. Dodge is located approximately 15 miles northwest of Brushy Creek on Hwy 20. Webster City is located approximately 15 miles northeast on Hwy 20.


Beach, Bird Watching, Boat Launch Ramp, Boating, Camping - Electric, Camping - Equestrian, Camping - Full Hook-up, Camping - Nonelectric, Camping - Youth Group, Canoeing, Cross Country Skiing, Dock, Boat, Dock, Fishing, Dump Station, Fish Cleaning Station, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Hunting, Jogging/Running, Kayaking, Modern Campground, Mountain Biking, Park Lake, Picnic Area, Picnic Shelter, Pier, Fishing, Playground, Restrooms, Showers, Snowmobiling, Swimming - Beach, Telephone, Trails, Cross Country Skiing, Trails, Equestrian, Trails, Hiking, Trails, Mountain Bike, Trails, Snowmobile, Walking, Water Hydrants , Wildflower Viewing, Wildlife Viewing


Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, 2802 Brushy Creek Road, Lehigh, IA 50557 -- ph. 515/543-8298 -- fax: 515/843-8395

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