Nestled along Buffalo Creek in northeastern Linn County, rolling wooded knolls of oak and hickory combine with the open meadows adjacent to the stream valley to provide habitat for a unique variety of flora and fauna. Wild turkey, deer, nesting Canada geese, beaver and fox are but a few of the species of wildlife that inhabit the park. Among many other wildflowers, one of the largest populations of blue belles in the area can be found in this 128-acre park.
Buffalo Creek Park was the first park developed in Linn County, with most of the development completed by 1962. The first low-head dam in Iowa installed for recreational pursuits, was constructed in 1964-65 on the Buffalo Creek to create a water impoundment. The backwaters and dam structure still provide fishing opportunities for the avid angler (NOTE: There is no boat access to this portion of the Buffalo Creek). The park is managed for multi-use recreation and offers facilities for camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, nature study and much more.
The park is open year round, but closed to vehicles from late October until April 15, ground and stream conditions permitting.
Recently renovated campsites at Buffalo Creek Park now provide some of the best camping in Eastern Iowa. Historically, the Walnut Grove Campground was one of the first "modern" campgrounds open for camping in Linn County back in the early 1960s. The 18 campsites in this campground each have the following amenities: picnic table, fire ring, 50 AMP electrical, pressurized water and a gravel use pad. Most sites are comfortably shaded by towering oak, hickory and maple trees. The campground has a pit vault restroom and sink (with pressurized water), and a sanitary dumping station for RVs is located near the entrance to the park. The Buffalo Creek is easily accessed from the campground, and the horseshoe courts, a dog exercise area, and small playground are nearby. Other activities include: camping, canoeing & kayaking, fishing, picnicking, hiking. (NOTE: there are a few of the lower sites in this campground that are subject to flash flooding from the creek. Campers should take note of weather conditions when camping in these sites.)
These "family" campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited to 5 persons or less. Campers should select their campsites, then register via the self-registration station and pay the required fee.
Park hours are from 4:00 AM until 10:30 PM. No camping equipment may be set up or taken down between the hours of 10:30 PM and 6:00 AM. Campground check-out time is 3:00 PM.
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.