Lacey-Keosauqua State Park is one of the largest and most picturesque of Iowa state parks and recreation areas. The park's 1,653 acres of hills, bluffs and valleys wind along the Des Moines River in Van Buren County.
During the middle of the 19th century, the great Mormon trek westward across Iowa occurred. Ely Ford, now the site of a beautiful picnic area, was a river crossing point. It is now a component of the Mormon Pioneer Trail.
Originally, the park was named "Big Bend," but when it was dedicated in 1921, a more colorful name was sought. For the next five years, it was called Keosauqua, a Native American term meaning "the stream bearing a floating mass of snow, slush, or ice." In 1926, the name was changed to Lacey-Keosauqua in honor of Major John Fletcher Lacey who fought in the Civil War, was elected to Iowa House of Representatives in 1868, and by 1888, was a member of Congress. Major Lacey campaigned for conservation legislation long before Teddy Roosevelt and was instrumental in the establishment of a state park system in Iowa.
A series of 19 mounds overlook the Des Moines River in the northwest section of the park. These were built by an ancient group of Woodland Culture Indians in order to bury their dead. Such mounds are usually found on hilltops overlooking river valleys.
These are sacred locations to living Native American peoples - please pay your respects and avoid walking on or otherwise disturbing the mounds.
Lacey-Keosauqua's beautiful, shaded campground features 113 campsites (45 with electrical hook-ups), modern rest rooms, shower facilities, and a trailer dump station. Half of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Lacey-Keosauqua State Park offers 6 family cabins. The cabins provide all of the comforts of home while bringing visitors a great outdoor experience. All cabins include modern facilities.
The park's hiking trails wind among the valleys and cliffs along the Des Moines River. On the trails, it is often possible to see many types of wildlife including deer, raccoons, opossums, gray squirrels, red foxes, and numerous species of bird life. The variety of plants, trees and shrubs; many of them more than 200 years old; make hiking at the park an exciting and educational experience.
The Southeast Iowa Bike Route is a 46 mile route that connects Lacey Keosauqua State Park and Geode State Parks. This route winds through southern Iowa woodlands, pastures and lush cornfields with lots of rolling hills and some flat terrain.
The picturesque 30-acre lake is a favorite spot for swimmers during the summer. There is a bathhouse restroom at the beach, but no lifeguards are provided and swimming is at your own risk within the beach ropes. Boating is limited to electric motors only. The lake is popular with fishermen as is the scenic Des Moines River which runs the length of the park.
A Scenic Drive Festival is held at Lacey Keosauqua State Park the second weekend of October. The festival features buckskinners, DNR information booths, and a portable woodmizer sawmill. The Annual 5K Run/Walk is held at the lodge on Sunday morning and is sponsored by the Friends of Lacey. Nearby Keosauqua has a parade, carnival and other related events.
Lacey Keosauqua State park is within convenient distance from several picturesque towns and villages on the Des Moines River. Keosauqua, the county seat of Van Buren County, is located just across the river from the park. Nearby historic settlements are Bentonsport and Bonaparte.
Beach, Bicycling, Bird Watching, Boat Launch Ramp, Boating, Camping - Electric, Camping - Nonelectric, Camping - Youth Group, Canoe Rental, Canoeing, Dock, Boat, Dock, Fishing, Firewood Sales, Geological Formations, Hiking, Historic Sites, Interpretive Display, Jogging/Running, Kayaking, Modern Cabins, Modern Campground, Park Lake, Picnic Area, Picnic Shelter, Playground, River, Scenic Driving Routes, Seasonal Festivals, Swimming - Beach, Trails, Hiking, Walking, Water Hydrants , Wildflower Viewing, Wildlife Viewing
Lacey Keosauqua State Park, 22895 Lacey Trail, Keosauqua, IA 52565 -- ph. 319/293-3502 -- fax 319/293-3329