Lake Macbride State Park - Iowa

US National Parks and Monuments Travel Guide:

Park Overview

Lake Macbride State Park's 2,180 acres offer much to the outdoor enthusiast: fishing, picnicking, swimming, hiking, camping, boating and lots more. The park is located in two units. The northern unit lies at the end of County Road F-16, 4 miles west of Solon. Here you will find a modern campground, boat ramps, beach and boat rental, picnic areas and the park office. The southern unit is located off County Road F-28 (Fifth Street in Solon), 3 miles west of Solon. The southern unit offers a non-modern campground, boat ramps, picnic areas, and a prairie.


An effort to establish the wooded valleys of Mill and Jordan Creeks as a state park was initiated by the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce and J.N. "Ding" Darling, a noted Iowa Conservationist. To raise funds to purchase additional land for the park, lots were sold in the area.

In June, 1937 the park opened to the public. The name for the park was selected from several hundred contest entries. Thomas Macbride had a distinguished 40-year career as professor of botany and president of the University of Iowa. He has been called the "father" of conservation in Iowa. In 1895 he addressed the members of the Iowa Academy of Science on the need to establish a statewide system of "country" or "rural" parks.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed a number of facilities at Lake Macbride in the 1930's including the beautiful stone shelter and beach building.

In 1955, the lake was enlarged. A portion of the park borders Coralville Lake, one of Iowa's largest artificial lakes, constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Facilities and Activities


Lake Macbride State Park is a great place for a family picnic or get-together. Four open picnic shelters are available and may be reserved online through the park reservation system. Two day-use lodges are also available and great for family reunions. The main lodge may also be reserved online through the park reservation system. The Beach Lodge can only be reserved from May 1 through the Thursday before Memorial Day and from the day after Labor day until October 15. The Beach Lodge will be closed the remainder of the time.


Lake Macbride State Park has two campgrounds. The modern campground in the northern unit of the park has 38 sites with electrical hookups with 10 of those having full hook ups, a shower and restroom and a trailer dump station.

The non-modern campground in the southern park unit has 60 campsites and a non-flush restroom. This campground is located in a beautiful shaded setting near the lake. Both campgrounds have a playground nearby.

Lake Activities (swimming, boating, fishing)

Lake Macbride offers swimming as well as refreshments at the beautiful beach area. The Macbride beach is a great place for young and old to cool off on a hot summer day. Swimming is restricted to the designated beach area only.

Lake Macbride is an angler's delight! Good catches of walleyes, channel catfish, crappies and bluegill await the angler in the 812-acre artificial lake. Walleyes, channel catfish and muskies are stocked annually. Lake Macbride may be the only lake in Iowa in which the prized Kentucky spotted bass can be caught. Good lake access is available for both shoreline and boat fishing.

There are seven boat ramps on the lake and one on Coralville Lake. Pontoons, motorboats, canoes and paddle boats are available for rent near the beach. The boat rental number is 319/624-2315. A 10 horsepower motor limit is in effect on Lake Macbride from Memorial Day through Labor Day. At other times there is an unrestricted horsepower motor limit operated at a no-wake speed. Any size motor may be used on Coralville Lake. Pontoon docking spaces are available for rental, as are dry-storage spots for boats.


Multi-use trails wind for miles around the lake. All park trails offer opportunities for the sights and sounds of Iowa at its best. Bird watchers will thrill to the sight of nearly every songbird native to the region. During the spring and fall, shorebirds, waterfowl and ospreys are frequent visitors. During winter months, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are popular.

Lake Macbride offers a five-mile scenic multi-use trail located along the lake from Solon to near the entrance to the park. This trail is very popular with bicyclists.

Volkssport Trails and Events. Six permanent Volkssport trails have been established for seasonal use within state parks and recreation areas.

Nearby Towns

Solon, located 4 miles east of the park, has restaurants, groceries and churches. Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa, is 14 miles south on Highway 1. Cedar Rapids, Iowa's second largest city, is just 12 miles north of the park via County Road W6E.


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Lake Macbride State Park, 3525 Highway 382 NE, Solon, IA 52333 -- ph. 319/624-2200 -- fax 319/624-2188

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