Activities

 
Biking Biking at Cedar Valley Nature Trail
The Cedar Valley Nature Trail is a 51 mile linear park created from an abandoned railroad between Evansdale and Hiawatha. The trail is paved from Hiawatha to just south of Center Point, and from just outside of LaPorte City to Waterloo. The rest of the trail is crushed limestone.
Biking Biking at Hoover Nature Trail
The Hoover Nature Trail is an 18 acre trail that connects Cedar Rapids to Ely - a continuation of the Cedar River Trail through Cedar Rapids. The Cedar River Trail also connects to the Cedar Valley Nature Trail to the north, which runs further north into Waterloo. All three trails are part of the American Discovery Trail that runs 6,800 miles coast-to-coast across the United States. The trail is popular for biking.
Biking Biking at Squaw Creek Park
Squaw Creek Park now features a Mountain Bike Trail with the Linn Area Mountain Bike Association. For a trail map click here. In 2010, LAMBA entered into an agreement with Linn County to create a collection of singletrack trails within the interior of the existing pathway loop. The approved design includes two loops combining to create approximately two miles of trails.
Boating Boating at North Cedar Natural Area
This 56-acre natural area was acquired by the Linn County Conservation Board in the early 1990’s as a river access.
Boating Boating at Chain Lakes Natural Area
A dominant feature of this 403-acre natural area is the Chain Lakes Bridge, built in 1884 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This area is part of the Cedar River Greenbelt and is divided by the Cedar River. The area consists of six separate units, the largest of which is an island. Two of the area units are accessible from Blair’s Ferry Road, one of which is planted to prairie grasses and sunflowers. There is a 400+ acre property managed by the Iowa DNR adjacent to the southern boundary.  Boat ramp provides access to Cedar River.
Boating Boating at South Cedar Natural Area
Public boat ramp with adjacent parking provides access to the Cedar River.     
Boating Boating at Troy Mills River Access
The Troy Mills River Access is a canoe and boat ramp access on the Wapsipinicon River in northern Linn County.  This is also the drop off point for the 6 hour canoe trip shuttle from Pinicon Ridge Park.
Boating Boating at Wakpicada Natural Area
Boat Ramp access to the Wapsipinicon River     
Cabins Cabins at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
Red Oak cabin is a popular getaway for nature enthusiasts and hunters alike. The rustic cabin is located on a bluff with a spectacular view of the Wapsipinicon River valley. The cabin is located approximately half a mile from the parking area and is accessible by foot only. The opportunity to "get away from it all" and the primitive amenities make Red Oak a popular destination.
Cabins Cabins at Pinicon Ridge Park

 Four camping cabins with varying amenities are available for reservations.  All cabins have heat and air conditioning. 

Aspen
The cabin has 460 square feet of living space. This is a two room cabin with two twin over twin bunk beds & foldout double sleeper (futon) in living area. Aspen cabin sleeps a maximum of 6.  

Bob White
Bob White features 460 sq. feet of living space (16’ X 28’ cabin) and sleeps a maximum of 6.  This is a two room cabin with two twin over twin bunk beds and foldout double sleeper (futon).

Pintail
Pintail Cabin features 625 sq. feet of living space (24’ X 26’ cabin) and sleeps a maximum of 8.  The cabin has two bedrooms & great room; with two twin-over-full sized bunk beds in each bedroom; futon in great room with full-size mattress.

River Otter
The River Otter Cabin is the smaller of the four modern camping cabins offered for reservations within the Linn County parks. It's small size makes it perfect for a couple's getaway weekend. River Otter is a one room cabin - 350 sq. feet of living space (16' X 22' cabin). This cabin sleeps a maximum of 6. There are two twin over full sized bunk beds.

Click here to make your reservation and to find out more about Linn County Parks cabins
Camping Camping at Pinicon Ridge Park
Family Camping
Camping is a popular outdoor recreation activity at Pinicon Ridge Park. Campgrounds are open from April 15 through late October, ground conditions permitting. To provide a variety of camping experiences, the park offers campsites that range from primitive sites with no hook ups to modern sites with electricity and water. Campsites are equipped with a firepad and and picnic table with showers and restrooms nearby. Family campgrounds, such as Flying Squirrel and Plains are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.All campers must self-register and pay the required fee. A dumping station for use by campers who camped in Linn County parks is available. Camping discount booklets are also available from the park office and campground hosts.Firewood is available at the campground host site.

Group Camping
There are 7 group campgrounds available by reservation at Pinicon Ridge Park.  The group camps are designed for use by groups larger than 6 people and 3 camping units or more.  Group campgrounds are located on the south side of the river.  To reserve a group campground, click here and then click the group camp you'd like to reserve. 

Camping Cabins
Four camping cabins with varying amenities are available by reservation.  All cabins have heat and air conditioning.  Pintail Cabin has 2 bedrooms (sleeps up to 8 people); Bob White and Aspen cabins have 1 room living area with restrooms (sleeps up to 6 people); and River Otter Cabin is a 1 room cabin with a pit vault restroom nearby (sleeps up to 6 people). 
Camping Camping at Squaw Creek Park
Squaw Creek Park offers 69 campsites with a modern, state-of-the-art restroom and shower facility.  Campgrounds are usually open April 15 through late October, weather and ground conditions permitting. The Squaw Creek Campground is divided into two camping areas: A Loop and B Loop.  A Loop at Squaw Creek Park is the only family campground in the Linn County Park system that allows advanced reservations.  To reserve a site, click here and select the campsite you are interested in. There are two sanitary dumping stations nearby
Camping Camping at Morgan Creek Park
Family Campground
Camping is a popular outdoor recreation activity at Morgan Creek Park. Campgrounds are open from April 15 through late October, ground conditions permitting. Morgan Creek Family Campground has modern sites with electricity and water. Campsites are equipped with a firepad and and picnic table with showers and restrooms nearby. Sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  All campers must self-register and pay the required fee.  A dumping station for use by campers who camped in Linn County parks is available. Camping discount booklets are also available from the park office and campground hosts. Firewood is available at the campground host site.

Group Campground
 A "pack-in" group campground is located at the south end of the day-use area.  A short walk is required to reach the campground.  Capacity is 15 tents or 45 people.  Facilities provided include: 6 picnic tables, 2 fire rings with grills, water spigot, primitive (pit) restroom.  The group campground can be reserved online.
Camping Camping at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
Matsell Bridge has several options available for camping enthusiasts. There is a primitive campground with 22 sites and an equestrian campground with 20 sites, 8 of which have fire rings. The equestrian campground features hitching posts, water availability, and lots of space all situated with direct access to the park's equestrian trails. There are also several pack in campsites to provide that backwoods experience. In addition, primitive Red Oak Cabin is available for reservation.
Camping Camping at Buffalo Creek Park
 Walnut Grove Campground offers 13 sites located along Buffalo Creek.  Electrical and water hook-ups, a fire ring and picnic table are provided for each site.  A lighted, vault-type restroom, firewood sale point, playground and horseshoe courts are all located nearby. A sanitary dumping station is provided for RV's near the entrance to the park.  All campers are required to self-register and pay the required fee.  The campground is managed on a first-come, first-served basis
Camping Camping at Wakpicada Natural Area
Primitive camping is available at Wakpicada. The campground features 8 primitive sites with fire rings.  There is no electric or water service.  There is not a shower house, but there are vault toilets.  Wakpicada is open to equestrian camping.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Wakpicada Natural Area
Boat ramp access to Wapsipinicon River     
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Troy Mills River Access
Troy Mills River Access is the drop off point for the 6 hour float trip on Wapsipinicon River.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at South Cedar Natural Area
This 162 acre natural area is located along the Cedar River southeast of Cedar Rapids. Boat ramp area with adjacent parking provides access to Cedar River.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
The Wapsipinicon is a great river to canoe and kayak on. Matsell Bridge Natural Area has a boat ramp that provides access to the Wapsipinicon. Many people either start or end their float journey here.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Chain Lakes Natural Area
Boat ramp provides access to Cedar River.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at North Cedar Natural Area
This 56-acre natural area was acquired by the Linn County Conservation Board in the early 1990’s as a river access.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Jay G. Sigmund Memorial Site
This refuge is named and maintained in honor of author Jay G. Sigmund. Sigmund grew up near the area, attended high school in Central City, then moved to Cedar Rapids for work.  Sigmund was an avid outdoors person.  Sigmund died in a hunting accident in 1937. The area has limited river access with parking nearby.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Paris Bridge Natural Area
Paris Bridge Natural Area is a refuge with canoe access to the Wapsipinicon River. Though parking is very limited at this location, it is a great access to the river - located between the lowhead dams in Troy Mills and Central City. From this point, it is a leisurely float downstream to Pinicon Ridge Park just above Central City. This refuge is also the drop point for the 2-hour canoe trip shuttle from Pinicon Ridge Park.  The canoe access is near the historic 1876 Paris Bridge. 
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Pinicon Ridge Park

The Watercraft Concession has been a special feature available at Pinicon Ridge park since the early 1970's.  Each year, just shy of 10,000 visitors utilize this watercraft rental and canoe trip service on the Wapsipinicon River.

 

CANOE TRIPS

Visitors are shuttled to one of the three up river drop points on the Wapsipinicon River.  the float trip back to the park is very scenice and proceeds at a relatively slow pace.  Trips are available that take approximately two, four or six hours - bringing you back to your point of departure at Pinicon Ridge County Park. Shuttles leave at fixed times: 9AM (6 hour); 11AM (4 hour); and 1PM (2 hour).  Groups must arrive at least 45 minutes prior to departure for a pre-trip orientation.  

All canoes are due back at the concession by 4:30PM.  All shuttles require at least a 24 hour notice. Groups of any size can be accommodated, pending equipment availability.   Smaller groups may be combined to enhance our ability to serve you.   It is suggested that you make your arrangements as far in advance as possible to ensure that your date, time and equipment needs are available. Canoe trip shuttles may be arranged weeks or months in advance with concession personnel.  

 

 IN-PARK RENTALS

The concession provides in-park rentals of paddleboats, canoes and kayaks. Calm backwater channels and the slow-flowing Wapsipinicon River provide miles of water trails throughout the park. Campsites and picnic areas along the waterways allow you to paddle right up to your family & friends! Frisbees, volleyballs, horseshoes and various snacks are also available at the concession for a nominal fee.

 

FEES ARE LISTED BELOW

Education Education at Morgan Creek Park

The Morgan Creek Arboretum contains a one mile crushed limestone trail that loops and winds through over 250 species of trees and shrubs. The plant collections includes:

  • native and exotic shade trees
  • ornamental trees and shrubs
  • prairie grasses and forbs
  • crabapples
  • lilacs
  • butterfly garden.

 

Teachers interested in setting up field trips to the arboretum should call 319-892-6485.

Education Education at Wickiup Hill Learning Center
In order to meet the mission of increasing environmental awareness in citizens, the Conservation Board built the Wickiup Hill Learning Center in 2002 and completed an expansion in 2012. One of the Center’s long-standing goals is to provide opportunities for people to experience the outdoors and develop an awareness and admiration of nature. Richard Louv in his book, “Last Child in the Woods” highlights the need to connect children with natural places. This book coined the term “nature deficit disorder” to highlight the emotional and developmental issues involved when children become too connected to electronics and disconnected from natural places. Wickiup Hill serves a vital role in addressing this need. 
Oliver & Ava's River Raft Adventure Exhibit & Other Learning Areas
The exhibit stations at Wickiup Hill are designed around a story of a school-aged boy and girl who follow a magical dragonfly on a learning adventure related to Native American history, nature, and watersheds. Come visit to see where the dragonfly takes you! Life Along the River: Features a full-size replica of an Ioway summer home; a three-sisters garden; a maple syrup camp and scent station; and historic artifact replicas! Nature is Fun: Features a muskrat hut; research fort; hollow tree; nature view finders; an oversized underwater room; a larger than life green frog, and a special secret passage-way from the muskrat hut to the fort! Everyone Lives in a Watershed: Features the waterdrop game; a watertable; and a video touchscreen about healthy watersheds!

Outdoor Exhibits: Features the interpretive trails; wetland boardwalk; observation deck; prairie, woodland and savanna habitats; and Native American mounds.

Other exhibit areas include: Bird viewing area; wildlife viewing area; wildlife and habitat management; movie clip station; the hallway of habitats (woodland, prairie, and wetland); and traveling exhibits.
Equestrian Activities Equestrian Activities at Wakpicada Natural Area
Wakpicada Natural Area has an equestrian trail and is open to equestrian camping.
Equestrian Activities Equestrian Activities at Squaw Creek Park
The 4 mile trail winds through a variety of vegetation types ranging from open meadows to brushy creek bottoms to mature timber.  Users have the opportunity to enjoy the solitude of a ride in the woods while viewing wildflowers and abundant wildlife.  The trail is popular for horseback riding. Large lot for trailer parking. 
 
Equestrian Activities Equestrian Activities at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
Matsell Bridge Natural Area is a favorite among equestrian entusiasts. There are over 10 miles of horseback riding opportunities. Matsell Bridge also offers an equestrian campground featuring hitching posts, water, and a lot of space all situated with direct access to the equestrian trails in the park.
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
Red Oak Cabin is available for reservation, all other campsites are first come, first serve.
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Buffalo Creek Park
Hickory Hill Shelter  is an open air shelter with 14 picnic tables, two grills, four electrical outlets, pressurized water and lights.  The playground, horseshoe courts and restroom are immediately adjacent.  This is reservable from April 15-October 15.
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Squaw Creek Park
Lodges & Shelters
The park has two enclosed lodges and one open air shelter.  Prairie Oak Lodge offers approximately 4000 square feet of floor space.  Red Cedar Lodge offers approximately 2000 square feet of floor space.  Meadowlark Shelter is an open air shelter featuring picnic tables and grills.
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Morgan Creek Park
Morgan Creek Shelter is available for rent from April 15 to October 15. It includes 10 picnic tables, 4 grills, and 4 electrical outlets.
It can hold between 50-100 people dependent on weather.
Fishing Fishing at Chain Lakes Natural Area
A dominant feature of this 403-acre natural area is the Chain Lakes Bridge, built in 1884 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This area is part of the Cedar River Greenbelt and is divided by the Cedar River. The area consists of six separate units, the largest of which is an island. The area is managed for wildlife and is open to hunting during season. Two of the area units are accessible from Blair’s Ferry Road, one of which is planted to prairie grasses and sunflowers. There is a 400+ acre property managed by the Iowa DNR adjacent to the southern boundary.
Fishing Fishing at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
The rocky shores, riffles, and deep holes of the Wapsipinicon River provide excellent habitat for smallmouth bass, channel catfish, walleye and many other fish species, A boat ramp is located just west of the Matsell Park Road bridge over the Wapsipinicon River.
Fishing Fishing at Goose Pond Natural Area
Goose Pond Natural Area provides access to the Cedar River via Wood Duck Bottoms Recreation Area.
Fishing Fishing at South Cedar Natural Area
This 162 acre natural area is located along the Cedar River southeast of Cedar Rapids. Severely damaged during the 2008 flood, access to the primitive camping area of the park was closed, as was use of the original boat ramp in the area. While closed to vehicles, this area of the park is still open to hiking, fishing, etc. The newer public boat ramp, with adjacent parking has been repaired and reopened.  All 162 acres are open to hunting during season.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Wickiup Hill Learning Center
Come walk the Archaeology trail and learn more about what life was like along the Cedar River long ago. See real Indian Mounds and inside the Center tour a Wickiup and Ioway Long Home. 
 
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Chain Lakes Natural Area
A dominant feature of this 403-acre natural area is the Chain Lakes Bridge, built in 1884 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
The first acquisition of public land occurred at Matsell Bridge in 1956 by the Iowa Conservation Commission, but this part of Linn County has a rich history dating backs hundreds if not thousands of years. Matsell Bridge is named for George W. Matsell, the New York City Chief of Police from 1845-1857. Legend has it that Matsell befriended some American Indians visiting New York City.. They appreciated his kindness and invited him to visit them in Iowa. When he arrived, Matsell fell in love with the land and eventually built a mansion near the present day equestrian camping area. Matsell fashioned his home after George Washington's Mount Vernon home that overlooks the Potomac River. At one time, his land holdings in this area topped 3,000 acres. Additional buildings were added to the farmstead until there were a total of 11 buildings including livestock barns, grain storage, a gate keepers house, and an ice house. Over time, the buildings fell into a state of disrepair and were razed. Today, the only thing remaining of the large estate is the ice house, and the main entry gates.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Cedar Valley Nature Trail
The Cedar Valley Nature Trail is a 51 mile linear park created from an abandoned railroad between Evansdale and Hiawatha. The trail is paved from Hiawatha to just south of Center Point, and from just outside of LaPorte City to Waterloo. The rest of the trail is crushed limestone. Stop in Center Point to visit the historical Center Point Depot and Historical Museum. Operated by the Center Point Historical Society it provides the history of the railroad in the area.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Abbe Creek School Museum
The Abbe Creek School Museum is open 6-8 times per year by volunteers for public visits, typically on Sundays in June, July and August. School groups, youth groups, and others interested in using this historic facility are encouraged to call the Linn County Conservation Board 319-892-6450.
Hunting Hunting at Chain Lakes Natural Area
The area is managed for wildlife and is open to hunting during season. Two of the area units are accessible from Blair’s Ferry Road, one of which is planted to prairie grasses and sunflowers. There is a 400+ acre property managed by the Iowa DNR adjacent to the southern boundary.
Hunting Hunting at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
Matsell Bridge is the largest natural area in Linn County at nearly 2000 acres. Numerous wildlife species make Matsell Bridge Natural Area their home. Providing suitable habitat to meet wildlife's needs is a significant focus of the staff who maintains this area. Many game species including deer, squirrels, raccoons, pheasant quail and many furbearing animals are found here. Many species of waterfowl use the Wapsipinicon River and it's backwaters. There are several different areas of Matsell Bridge Natural Area that are open to public hunting. In addition, many hunters rent the Red Oak Cabin for a complete hunting excursion experience. All hunters are expected to follow all regulations set forth by the Iowa DNR.
Hunting Hunting at Goose Pond Natural Area
This 269-acre area was acquired in 1993 with contributions from REAP, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, Wetlands for Iowa, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the Iowa DNR’s Habitat Stamp Project. The area is managed for wildlife and is open for hunting during season. It is particularly popular with duck hunters.
Hunting Hunting at Blue Creek Natural Area
Closed to deer hunting but all other types of hunting and trapping are available.
Hunting Hunting at Harold & Ruth Rehrauer Natural Area
This 80 acre natural area in NE Linn County is open for hunting and trapping during season. The Buffalo Creek runs through the natural area.
Hunting Hunting at Otter Creek Natural Area
The Otter Creek Natural Area was donated to the Linn County Conservation Board in November 2009 by Kesler’s Otter Creek Farm. This 37-acre natural area is managed for wildlife and is open for BOW HUNTING ONLY during season. All hunters are expected to follow all DNR rules and regulations.
Hunting Hunting at Squaw Creek Park
A portion of Squaw Creek Park is opened for antlerless bow hunting. An application must be made to Linn County Conservation. Names and zones are chosen by lottery system. For more information, please call 319-892-6450
Hunting Hunting at Palo Marsh Natural Area
This 144-acre natural area bordering the Cedar River is part of the Cedar River Greenbelt. It is managed for wildlife and is open for hunting during season.
Hunting Hunting at Wickiup Hill Natural Area
400 acres of public hunting land. Park boundaries must be watched closely due to the high use of the South Wickiup area by local schools and trail users.
Hunting Hunting at South Cedar Natural Area
This 162 acre natural area is located along the Cedar River southeast of Cedar Rapids.  All 162 acres are open to hunting during season.
Other Activities Other Activities at Wickiup Hill Learning Center
Oliver & Ava's River Raft Adventure Exhibit & Other Learning Areas The exhibit stations at Wickiup Hill are designed around a story of a school-aged boy and girl who follow a magical dragonfly on a learning adventure related to Native American history, nature, and watersheds. Come visit to see where the dragonfly takes you!Life Along the River: Features a full-size replica of an Ioway summer home; a three-sisters garden; a maple syrup camp and scent station; and historic artifact replicas! Nature is Fun: Features a muskrat hut; research fort; hollow tree; nature view finders; an oversized underwater room; a larger than life green frog, and a special secret passage-way from the muskrat hut to the fort! Everyone Lives in a Watershed: Features the waterdrop game; a watertable; and a video touchscreen about healthy watersheds! Outdoor Exhibits: Features the interpretive trails; wetland boardwalk; observation deck; prairie, woodland and savanna habitats; and Native American mounds.Other exhibit areas include: Bird viewing area; wildlife viewing area; wildlife and habitat management; movie clip station; the hallway of habitats (woodland, prairie, and wetland); and traveling exhibits.
Other Activities Other Activities at Morgan Creek Park
The Morgan Creek Arboretum contains a one mile crushed limestone trail that loops and winds through over 250 species of trees and shrubs. The plant collections include native and exotic shade trees, ornamental trees and shrubs, prairie grasses and forbs, crabapples, lilacs, and a lovely butterfly garden.
Other Activities Other Activities at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
Matsell Bridge Shooting Range
This regionally unique public facility features four shooting ranges open to the public. Distances are 15 , 50, 100, and 200 yards. The shotgun range closed in fall of 2013 and will not re-open at this location. The conservation board is looking into other options.
Other Activities Other Activities at Eastern Iowa Observatory & Learning Center
Visitors are welcome to attend the free Public Observing Nights hosted by CAA members. Each free night includes astronomy related educational programs, observing sessions, and supervised access to permanently mounted telescopes including the 24 inch Boller & Chivens telescope. Scouting groups, school and community groups may also request special programs.  
Other Activities Other Activities at Pinicon Ridge Park

OBSERVATION TOWER

A landmark for Pinicon Ridge Park, the 72' Woodpecker Hill Observation Tower provides scenic views and lifetime experiences to hundreds of thousands of visitors since it was originally constructed in 1966.  The main shaft of the tower was constructed by the former Link-Belt Speeder Company of Cedar Rapids in the mid-1960's-destined to become a crane in New York city harbor.  Due to some construction mis-configurations, it never made the trip to New York and was acquired by the Linn County Conservation Board in 1965.   Due to liability concerns, the tower was closed for a couple years in the mid-1990's.   A $150,000 rennovation project included a facelife, enclosing the previously open stairwell, and general structural maintenance on the facility. The tower reopened in the late 1990's, for another long run of providing meories for park users.  

The Pinicon Ridge Observation Tower is open to the public and no charge from early April through October-sunrise to sunset.  At 1,028 feet abover sea leve, it is one of the highest points in Linn County.  From the observation platform, one commands a wonderfully scenic view of the Wapsipinicon River valley and adjoining country side as far as the eye can see. 

 

 ALEXANDER WILDLIFE AREA

 Named after former Conservation Board member Dick Alexander for his efforts in wildlife conservation and education, this 5 acre area was started in 1968 to further the county's wildlife restocking efforts at that time.  Species on display include American elk, white-tailed deer, mallard ducks, and Canada geese. 

Picnicking Picnicking at Buffalo Creek Park
Many shaded picnic sites can be found along the western boundary of the park with numerous grills and picnic tables scattered throughout. An accessible picnic site for persons with disabilities is also available. The playground and horseshoe court are located in this area also.
Picnicking Picnicking at Chain Lakes Natural Area
A dominant feature of this 403-acre natural area is the Chain Lakes Bridge, built in 1884 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This area is part of the Cedar River Greenbelt and is divided by the Cedar River. The area consists of six separate units, the largest of which is an island. There are four individual picnic areas each with a picnic table and fire ring with grates.
Picnicking Picnicking at Morgan Creek Park
There are several areas that make for delightful picnicking at Morgan Creek Park. The reserveable Morgan Creek Park Shelter contains 10 picnic tables, 4 grills, a horseshoe court and 4 electrical outlets. There are also several individual picnic areas.     
Picnicking Picnicking at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
There are picnic tables available by the boat ramp. In addition, the campground fire rings can be used for grilling/cooking purposes. Many people also enjoy hiking up to the Red Cedar Cabin and using the outdoor fire ring there, provided it is not reserved at the time.
Picnicking Picnicking at Pinicon Ridge Park

There are many individual picnic areas in Pinicon Ridge Park that feature charcoal grills, picnic tables and close proximity to fun activities. In addition, for larger groups there are several shelters available for rent.

Eagle View Shelter
This facility is located on the "day use" portion of Pinicon Ridge Park, accessible from the south park entrance off Maine Ridge Road - directly west of Central City, IA. On Maine Ridge (west of Hwy. 13), turn right (north) into the park on Horseshoe Falls Road. Follow the main park aroad (and associated signs) to the Riverside area of the park, and the shelter is just off to your right near the playground complex. Open air (not enclosed) picnic shelter 23' X 35' Sheltered capacity - 40 - 50 people (more during fair weather) 6 picnic tables under roof + 4 tables on patio, Large charcoal cooking grill, Fire ring with additional cooking grate next to shelter, Potable chlorinated water at shelter, 2 refuse cans, 10 double electrical outlets, Large food preparation counter, Parking for 16 cars (additional parking for 100 cars within walking distance), Modern pit vault restroom with sidewalk adjacent to shelter, Utility closet including broom, hose, dust pan, horseshoes and first aid kit & fire extinguisher available  Watercraft Concession and boat ramp adjacent to shelter, Paved walking trail adjacent to shelter

Riverside Shelter
Riverside Shelter is located in the very popular Riverside Picnic Area in Pinicon Ridge Park. With adjacent playground, sand volleyball and horseshoe courts - the location along the backwaters of the Wapsipinicon River puts this facility much in demand during the warm summer months! This facility is located on the "day use" portion of Pinicon Ridge Park, accessible from the south park entrance off Maine Ridge Road - directly west of Central City, IA. On Maine Ridge (west of Hwy. 13), turn right (north) into the park on Horseshoe Falls Road. Follow the main park aroad (and associated signs) to the Riverside area of the park, and the shelter is just off to your right near the playground complex. 32’ x 56’ - 1792 square feet of sheltered use area. Open air shelter (not enclosed) picnic shelter. Sheltered capacity - 50 to 60 people Fair-weather capacity - 575+ people 10 picnic tables under roof + 4 tables on patio, Two large charcoal grills, 4 refuse cans, 6 double electrical outlets,  Large food preparation counter,  Parking for 134 cars directly adjacent (additional parking for 51 cars within walking distance),  Pit vault restroom nearby,  Watercraft Rental within walking distance,  Horseshoe court & playground adjacent, Sand volleyball court for exclusive use (horseshoes & volleyball available on request), Pressurized drinking water at shelter, Lighting available for evening use

Picnicking Picnicking at Squaw Creek Park
Squaw Creek has many areas available for picnicking. Close to the playground, trail system, dog exercise areas you can make a day of it at the park!
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Squaw Creek Park
The 4 mile trail winds through a variety of vegetation types ranging from open meadows to brushy creek bottoms to mature timber.  Users have the opportunity to enjoy the solitude of a hike in the woods while viewing wildflowers and abundant wildlife.  The trail is popular for hiking, horseback riding, nature study, running and cross country skiing.  A portion of the trail system is groomed for cross country skiing, both classical and skate-ski styles.  The trail system include a mountain biking system, developed and managed by LAMBA and equestrian-friendly trails.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Millard Preserve
This area features a unique glacial marsh wetland.This area also contains a mowed trail to a sitting bench for wetland observation.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Harold & Ruth Rehrauer Natural Area
This 80 acre natural area in NE Linn County has a mowed hiking trail for people to enjoy. The Buffalo Creek runs through this area.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Hoover Nature Trail
The Hoover Nature Trail is an 18 acre trail that connects Cedar Rapids to Ely - a continuation of the Cedar River Trail through Cedar Rapids. The Cedar River Trail also connects to the Cedar Valley Nature Trail to the north, which runs further north into Waterloo. All three trails are part of the American Discovery Trail that runs 6,800 miles coast-to-coast across the United States. The trail is popular for walking.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at J. Harold Ennis Preserve
The J. Harold Ennis Preserve is a 33 acre preserve with a hiking trail along the Cedar River in southern Linn County. This area is favored by birdwatchers and for nature study.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Morgan Creek Park
Morgan Creek has 4 miles of all-purpose trails. There are 2 miles of arboretum trails and 2 miles of open prairie trails. In addition to walking, hiking and biking, the park has recently become the host of several cross country runs. In the winter, we groom 3 miles of cross country skiing trails, both classic and skating.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Otter Creek Natural Area
The Otter Creek Natural Area was donated to the Linn County Conservation Board in November 2009 by Kesler’s Otter Creek Farm. A trail system for this area is planned.    
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Palisades-Dows Preserve
The Palisades-Dows Preserve is a 162 acre preserve and home to the Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center (EIOLC). While there are no mowed or maintained trails at Palisades-Dows Preserve, many people enjoy getting off the beaten path here and going for a stroll in the timber.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at North Cedar Natural Area
This 56-acre natural area was acquired by the Linn County Conservation Board in the early 1990’s as a river access. Great for backwoods exploration and nature study.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Cedar Valley Nature Trail
The Cedar Valley Nature Trail is a 51 mile linear park created from an abandoned railroad between Evansdale and Hiawatha. The trail is paved from Hiawatha to just south of Center Point, and from just outside of LaPorte City to Waterloo. The rest of the trail is crushed limestone
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Buffalo Creek Park
There is a short, 1.2 mile trail in the north end of Buffalo Creek Park. It is a completely level trail terrain with gravel surfacing. The trail brushes along the Buffalo Creek in a few locations and passes through numerous wetlands. This area of the park is designated as a "Dog Training Area", and is exempt from the requirement of having your pet(s) on a leash. Another significant point of interest along this trail is one of the largest natural collections of blue belle wildflowers in the region - be sure to plan you hike in late April or early May to catch the under story of the woods in full bloom.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Pinicon Ridge Park


(For a map of all park trails, visit the interactive park map)


Woodpecker Hill Trail
The trailhead is near the parking area located at the top of Woodpecker Hill.  1.69 miles in length, it takes about 45 minutes to walk.  The trail, which has some hills, features a unique limeston outcropping located in the valley of the forest and a small water cascade known locally as "the Horsehoe Falls".

White Oak Trail
The trailhead is located near the river just past the boat ramp.  The trail uses the group camp road for a short distance and connects the group campgrounds with the day use part of the park. The trail is approximately 1.85 miles long and takes approximately 2 hours to walk.  The trail traverses heavily wooded hills and valleys. 

Whip-Poor-Will Trail
This trail is 1.47 miles in length and begins in Plains Campground.  This trail connects with the Central City Trail - providing a great access to the City of Central City.   It takes about 1.5 hours to walk.  When the campground closes in the fall, this trail is expanded through Flying Squirrel Campground and becomes the only designated cross-country ski trail in the park.  Access to the cross-country ski trail is at the campground entrance located along Valley Farm Road.  Parking is also available at the Flying Squirrel Trail parking lot along Valley Farm Road.

Flying Squirrel Trail
The trailhead for Flying Squirrel Trail is on Valley Farm Road, 1 mile west of Highway 13. This trail includes stands of mixed pines and a splendid view of the river. It is 2.69 miles in length, has some hills, and takes about 2 hours to walk.  This area is open to hunting during the hunting season.

Snowmobile Trail
This trail is open from December 1st until April 1st, weather and ground conditions permitting (1" or more of snow cover required).  It is .88 miles in length and follows the main road through the park.  Snowmobiles must follow trail markers and stay on the trail at all times.  Speed limit on the trail is 15 m.p.h.

Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Matsell Bridge Natural Area
Three trails are located at Matsell Bridge providing over 12.5 miles of hiking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding opportunities.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Blue Creek Natural Area
Enjoy a nice hike through a secluded timber area. Trails are very primitive now, future trails are slated for development.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Eastern Iowa Observatory & Learning Center
There are no marked, mapped or defined trails in this area, however, many people enjoy getting off the beaten path here. It is also adjacent to Palisades Dows Preserve and Palisades Kepler State Park.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Goose Pond Natural Area
There are no marked, mowed or defined trails, however, many people enjoy getting off the path here.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Grant Wood Trail
Though not a contiguous 10 mile stretch, it does provide a nice 6+ mile loop from Highway 13 on the west, going east for 3.25 miles and then back to the current trailhead. Short-term plans include creating an underpass under the four-laned Hwy. 13 and connecting with new trails coming east out of Marion, as well as a new connector to the existing trail system at Squaw Creek Park. Popular activities include walking, running, biking (grass & gravel), and nature study.
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Cedar Valley Nature Trail
  In the winter months the trail can be used for snowshoeing, and on designated unpaved areas, snowmobiling.
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Morgan Creek Park
Many people enjoy the 3 miles of groomed cross country ski trails in both classic and skating styles.
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Squaw Creek Park
 A portion of the trail system is groomed for cross country skiing, both classical and skate-ski styles. Many users also enjoy our lighted downhill sledding area. Bring your wood and start a fire in the stove of the warming shed or rent Red Cedar Lodge to host a sledding party.
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Pinicon Ridge Park
Snowmobile Trail
This trail is open from December 1st until April 1st, weather and ground conditions permitting (1" or more of snow cover required).  It is .88 miles in length and follows the main road through the park.  Snowmobiles must follow trail markers and stay on the trail at all times.  Speed limit on the trail is 15 m.p.h.

Sledding
Pinicon Ridge park has a very popular sledding hill starting by Woodpecker lodge.

Cross Country Skiing
There are groomed trails at Pinicon Ridge.

Ice Fishing
Newly created fishing jetties at Pinicon Ridge make for excellent ice fishing opportunities on the Wapsipinicon River.