Pinicon Ridge Park
About Pinicon Ridge Park
This 925-acre park along the Wapsipinicon River has long been admired for its scenic natural beauty. The hilly, heavily wooded area is divided by the river and home to many species of wildlife. Beginning as a rural picnic ground in the 1960s, Pinicon Ridge Park has been developed into a modern recreation area - a regional destination for many outdoor enthusiasts.
Camping is a popular outdoor recreation activity at Pinicon Ridge Park. Campgrounds are open from April 15-October 15, 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 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.
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.
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).
Lodges & Shelters
The park features Horseshoe Falls Lodge and Woodpecker Lodge. These are enclosed facilities and available all year long. These can be reserved online. The park also has 2 reservable shelters, Eagle View and Riverside. These shelters are open-air facilities and may be reserved from April 15-October 15.
Activities & Attractions
The Pinicon Ridge Observation Tower is open to the public at no charge from early April thru October, sunrise to sunset.At 1,028 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest points in Linn County and from the observation platform, one commands a wonderfully scenic view of the Wapsipinicon River valley and the adjoining countryside as far as the eye can see!
The Alexander Wildlife Area is a feature activity in Pinicon Ridge
Park. The area is 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 mallard
ducks, American elk, white-tailed deer and Canada geese.
The park is open daily from 4AM to 10:30PM. Entrance to the park and the wildlife pen is free.
The Watercraft Concession at Pinicon Ridge Park is open seven days a
week from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. It may
also be open on weekends prior to and after this period as weather and
river conditions permit. The concession features an in-park rental system and a shuttle-service program.
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.
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.
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.
Pinicon Ridge is located in NE Linn County, just west of Central City, IA.
There are two entrances to the park, one each on the north and south side of the Wapsipinicon River. Access to the south entrance is off Maine Ridge Road from Hwy. 13, and then turning north (right) on Horseshoe Falls Road. This side of the park is home to the lodges and shelters, wildlife exhibit, watercraft rentals & canoe trips, the landmark observation tower, hiking trails and the group camp complex. The north entrance is accessed from Hwy. 13 by going west on Valley Farm Road, and turning south (left) on Flying Squirrel Trail. You will find our main campgrounds and cabin complex on this side of the river, along with hiking trails and a hunting/dog exercise area. For a map of the park, click here.
Lighted winter sledding hill
Hunting & dog training area
Boat Ramp & Canoe/Kayak Access
Operating Hours & Seasons
Pinicon Ridge Park is open from 4:00 AM - 10:30 PM. All visitors need to exit the park no later than 10:30 PM. Many features of the park are open on a year-round basis, some will close seasonally:
- Campgrounds & Cabins are generally open from April 15 - October 15th (Weather, ground or river conditions may contract or expand these dates)
- Watercraft Concession hours (seasonal May-September): Weekdays - 1:00 - 5:00 PM, Weekends/Holidays - 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM