Activities

 
Camping Camping at Lake Orient Recreation Area
The Lake Orient campground has 22 spacious and level campsites that are close to the lake.  The campground is located on the north side of the lake.  Each of  the trailer campsite has two 30 amp ground fault protected outlets and two 20 amp ground fault protected outlets.  There are four hydrants located in the campground to provide drinking water.  One boat dock is provided in the campground.  The new shower building and tornado safe room will be open in 2017.  The Conservation Board maintains a camper dump station in the nearby town of Orient.  The fee to use the dump station is $2.00.  Camping at Lake Orient is available on a first come first serve basis.  We do not accept reservations. If you have questions about availability you may call the Adair County Conservation Board at (641) 743-6450 for information.  Fees are collected  through a self registration station in the campground.  The last few years Lake Orient has been a popular campground with campers arriving mid week to get their campsite for the weekend. Length of stay is two weeks.
Camping Camping at Mormon Trail Park

 Camping is permitted only in designated areas. Camping is restricted to one basic unit per site except that a small tent or other type of camping unit may be placed on the site so long as the persons occupying the second unit are under 18 years of age and are dependent members of the family occupying the larger unit. The cost of an electrical site is $9.00 per night and a nonelectrical site is $6.00. There are 15 electrical sites and 5 non-electrical sites. Camping at Mormon Trail Park is available on a first come first serve basis. We do not accept reservations. If you have questions about availability you may call Adair County Conseration Board at (641) 743-6450 for information. There are no showers and the camping area has only pit toilets. Drinking water is available in the park. Camping is processed by self registration.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Middle River Forest Area
Adair County Conservation Board worked with the Madison County Conservation Board in the development of Middle River Water Trail. The new trail is now completed.  In addition to the natural beauty along Middle River there are also a few man-made attractions that will add to the scenery and water-trail experience. Spanning the river is two of Madison County’s famous “Bridges of Madison County” Roseman Covered Bridge and Holliwell Covered Bridge. Paddlers must also portage around the historic “ford” at Pammel Park which was built in the early 1900’s, and while making the portage one can catch a glimpse of the “Harmon Tunnel” originally constructed in 1958. The Middle River Water Trail begins at Middle River Forest Area County Park in Adair County and currently ends at the historic Holliwell Covered Bridge located approximately 3 ½ miles SE of Winterset, covering a distance of just over 45 miles.  For more information kiosks signs are conveniently located at the Middle River Forest Area County Park Access, Roseman Covered Bridge Access, Pammel State Park Access and Holliwell Covered Bridge Access. Other public accesses on Middle River are Schildberg Access and Middle River County Park Access.

Middle River Forest County Park - Access #89 (gradient of 4.44 feet/mile): Middle River Forest Park Access is the Trail-head access to the water-trail. It is located in eastern Adair County and can be found by driving west of Winterset on Highway 92 for approximately 14 miles, then north on Vinton Ave. for 3 miles and then east on 200th Street to the entrance of the County Park. Please take time to appreciate Middle River’s natural beauty of limestone outcroppings, woodlands and abundant wildlife. You should expect moderately challenging paddling as you navigate through the numerous river bends and riffles. Schildberg Access is approximately 11 miles (3 hours) downstream. 
 
Middle River is a moderately challenging paddle for experienced canoeist especially at high and low water levels. This stream provides an exciting paddle with occasional chutes and ledges that can be navigated with moderate effort.
 
The Middle River has its origin in the south-central Guthrie County. However the navigable section of Middle River begins in east-central Adair County near the Middle River Forest Area County Park. Middle River is a scenic stream that flows easterly through a mixture of Country side of croplands and pasture, rolling forested hills and limestone bluffs. It is twelve river miles from Middle River Forest Area County Park to the next downstream public access, which is Schildberg Access on highway 92.

For more information please visit ; Madison County Conservation Board - Middle River Water Trail
Fishing Fishing at Middle River Forest Area
Channel catfish and carp are the major species of fish found in these streams. The minor species found are flathead catfish, bullhead, and walleye.
Fishing Fishing at Mormon Trail Park
  • 35 acre lake
  • boat ramp electric motor only
  • Mormon Trail provides excellent fishing year round.
  • There is one paved boat ramp, three docks and two fishing jetties  to make your fishing time more enjoyable.
  • Mormon Trail has largemouth bass, catfish (which is restocked with 6 to 10 inch catfish every other fall),  walleye, bluegill, and crappie.
  • In 2010 Mormon Trail has a high population  channel catfish.

 

    • Daily limits for Adair County Public Lakes:

        Largemouth bass - 3
        Walleye - 5
        Channel catfish – 8
        Bluegill -25
        Crappie- 25

      • The minimum length on bass in all Adair County public lakes is 15 inches. State law requires the immediate release of all bass under 15 inches.  The Conservation Board encourages the release of all walleye under 15 inches.
Fishing Fishing at Lake Orient Recreation Area
  • 24 acre lake
  • boat ramp
  • electric motor only
  • Lake Orient provides excellent fishing year round. There is one paved boat ramp and two docks to make your fishing time more enjoyable. Lake Orient has largemouth bass, catfish, walleye, bluegill, crappie, and grass carp. 

  • 1n 20​1​6 Lake Orient has a high population of 1​6 to 19 inch channel catfish.

    2016 net survey found  a good population of 9 to 10 inch black crappie.

    2016 net survey found a good population of 7 to 7 1/2 bluegill.

    •  Daily limits for Adair County Public Lakes:

Largemouth bass - 3
Walleye - 5
Channel catfish – 8
bluegill-25
crappie- 25

 

  • The minimum length on bass in all Adair County public lakes is 15 inches. State law requires the immediate release of all bass under 15 inches.  The Conservation Board encourages the release of all walleye under 15 inches.

 

 

 

Historic Visits Historic Visits at Jesse James Historical Site
 
Jesse James and his notorious gang of outlaws staged the world's first robbery of a moving train the evening of July 21, 1873, a mile and a half west of Adair, Iowa.
 
Early in July the gang had learned that $75,000 in gold from the Cheyenne region was to come through Adair on the recently build main line of the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railroad.
 
Jesse sent his brother, Frank James, and Cole Younger to Omaha to learn when the gold shipment was to reach there. Jesse, Jim and Tom Younger, Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell remained camped in the hills in the Adair area.
 
Finally, Frank James and Cole Younger got their tip that the gold shipment was on its way east and they brought the report to Jess who had made plans for the train robbery. On the afternoon of the robbery, the bandits called at the section house and obtained some pies and other food from Mrs. Robert Grant, wife of the section foreman.
 
In the meantime, the bandits broke into the handcar house, stole a spike-bar and hammer with which they pried off a fish-plate connecting two rails and pulled out the spikes. This was on a curve of the railroad track west of Adair near the Turkey Creek bridge on old U.S. No. 6 Highway.

A rope was tied on the west end of the disconnected north rail. The rope was passed under the south rail and led to a hole they had cut in the bank in which to hide.

When the train came along, the rail was jerked out of place and the engine plunged into the ditch and toppled over on its side. Engineer John Rafferty of Des Moines was killed, the fireman, Dennis Foley, died of his injuries and several passengers were injured.
 
Two members of the gang, believed to have been Jesse and Frank James, climbed into the express car and forced John Burgess, the guard, to open the safe. In it they found only $2,000 in currency--the gold shipment had been delayed. They collected only about $3,000, including the currency and loot taken from the passengers, in the world's first robbery of a moving train.
 
Levi Clay, employed by the railroad in Adair, which was then not quite a year old, walked to Casey where the alarm was sent by a telegrapher to Des Moines and Omaha, and soon the news was spread all over the nation. A train loaded with armed men left Council Bluffs for Adair and dropped small detachments of men along the route where saddled horses were waiting.

The trail of the outlaws was traced into Missouri where they split up and were sheltered by friends. Later the governor of Missouri offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of Jesse James, dead or alive.
 
On April 3, 1882, the reward reportedly proved too tempting for Bob Ford, a new member of the James gang, and he shot and killed Jesse in the James home in St. Joseph, Missouri.
 
A locomotive wheel which bears a plaque with the inscription: "Site of the first train robbery in the west, committed by the notorious Jesse James and his gang of outlaws July 21, 1873" was erected by the Rock Island Railroad in 1954.  
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Lake Orient Recreation Area

The Henry A Wallace historic marker was erected at Lake Orient in 1976 in honor of Henry Agard Wallace.

Henry Agard Wallace (October 7, 1888–November 18, 1965) was the 33rd Vice President of the United States.

Wallace was born on a farm near Orient, Adair County, Iowa, and graduated from Iowa State College at Ames in 1910. He served on the editorial staff of Wallace's Farmer in Des Moines, Iowa from 1910 to 1924 and was editor from 1924 to 1929. He experimented with breeding high-yielding strains of corn (maize), and was the author of many publications on agriculture. In 1915 he devised the first corn-hog ratio charts indicating probable course of markets. The company he founded during this time is now known as Pioneer Hi-Bred, and is among the most profitable agriculture corporations in the United States today.

In 1933, Wallace was appointed United States Secretary of Agriculture in the Cabinet of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He had been a liberal Republican but supported Roosevelt's New Deal and soon switched to the Democratic Party. Wallace served as Secretary of Agriculture until September 1940, when he resigned, having been nominated for Vice President. He was elected in November 1940 as Vice President on the Democratic ticket with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was inaugurated January 20, 1941, for the term ending January 20, 1945.

Wallace was bumped from the Democratic ticket in 1944, largely due to party concerns over FDR's failing health and Wallace's perceived ultra-liberal viewpoints. The party would go on to nominate Missouri Senator Harry S. Truman. Roosevelt placated Wallace by appointing him Secretary of Commerce, where Wallace served from March 1945 to September 1946.

Following his term as Secretary of Commerce, Wallace became the editor of The New Republic magazine, using his position to vociferously criticize Truman's foreign policy. He left that position in 1948 to make an unsuccessful run as a Progressive Party candidate in the 1948 U.S. presidential election.

Wallace resumed his farming interests, and was a resident of South Salem, New York. During his later years he was responsible for a number of advances in the field of agricultural science. Among his many accomplishments was a breed of chicken that at one point accounted for the overwhelming majority of all egg-laying chickens sold across the globe. He died in Danbury, Connecticut. His remains were cremated at Grace Cemetery in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the ashes interred in Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines, Iowa.  

 Henry A Wallace Life Center
Swimming Swimming at Mormon Trail Park

Large sandy swimming beach is available to all ages at Mormon Trail Lake. The swimming area is available between 7:00 A.M. and 9:30 P.M. Lifeguards are not provided. Swimming is at your own risk.

No glass containers are allowed.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Middle River Forest Area
There is a 3/8 mile hiking trail that provides foot access to ¾ mile of river in the park.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Ken Sidey Nature Area

There are three miles of grassed surfaced hiking trails at the Ken Sidey Nature Area. The grade on these hiking trails is moderately steep.

The Ken Sidey Nature Area is part of a 4 park complex.  Adjacent to the Ken Sidey Nature Area are Nodaway Lake, Land between Two Lakes and Lake Greenfield. These three adjacent areas are managed by the City of Greenfield. 

There are 10 miles of hiking trails in this 4 park complex.  Eight miles of trails have a grass surface among the Southern Iowa rolling hills.  Most of the grade on these hiking trails is moderately steep.  There is a 2 mile concrete surfaced trail around Lake Greenfield that has very little change in grade.

Camping is available at Nodaway Lake.

Go To Nodaway Lake