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Thomas Mitchell Park

Camping Camping at Thomas Mitchell Park
Thomas Mitchell Park's campground rests in a scenic bend of Camp Creek at the foot of a tall, wooded ridge. This popular area offers electric sites, primitive sites, and 2 youth group camping areas.  A modern showerhouse and dump station are open from mid-April to mid-October. Children's playground, hiking trails, fishing pond, and reconstructed prairie are nearby. More information can be found on our website at www.leadingyououtdoors.org

Reservations for some campsites can be made on this website by clicking the MAKE RESERVATIONS tab above. 
Education Education at Thomas Mitchell Park
Polk County Conservation naturalists offer nature programs at Thomas Mitchell Park. To request a Nature News to learn about upcoming programs at Thomas Mitchell and other parks in Polk County send an email to pccb_info@polkcountyiowa.gov and put ADD TO MAILING LIST  in the reference line.
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Thomas Mitchell Park
Two shelters are located near the ballfield and playground. Shelter are reservable from April 15 - October 16 or on a first come first serve basis. Reservations can be made using this website by clicking on the MAKE RESERVATIONS tab above.
Fishing Fishing at Thomas Mitchell Park
There is an 18" length limit on bass.  
For more information on fishing and a pond contour map, please visit our website at www.leadingyououtdoors.org or by clicking on the following link: FISHING INFORMATION

Major improvements to the pond have been taking place over the past next three years which have improved the quality of the woodlands and pond in Thomas Mitchell Park. Grant dollars have funded the installation of  water control structures, construction and connection of new tile lines, reestablishment of native vegetation, pond dredging, fish restocking, and timber stand improvement.

Click here for a more detailed timeline and project description.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Thomas Mitchell Park
Thomas Mitchell Park was named after Polk County’s earliest Anglo-American settler, Thomas Mitchell. In 1844, Mitchell obtained early access to the Iowa Territory from Captain Allen, commander of Fort Des Moines. In exchange, Mitchell built a bridge over Camp Creek which was often impassible to wagons traveling from Keokuk and Iowa City to Fort Des Moines. He also built the Apple Grove Inn, in what is today’s Thomas Mitchell Park. Thomas Mitchell was not only an innkeeper, but also a farmer, legislator, sheriff, and operator of a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Other Activities Other Activities at Thomas Mitchell Park
A ball field is located near Shelter #1 and is reservable with a shelter reservation. It is available on a first come basis when shelter is not reserved.

A universally designed play area provides accessible walkways connecting the playground, restrooms, shelters, and ball field. The playground has an average of 50 different activities and are constructed using recycled materials. Some of the activities include slides, swings, tunnels, sliding poles, cargo nets, ramps, bridges, lookout towers, and activity panels.

Picnicking Picnicking at Thomas Mitchell Park
Two picnic shelters are available by reservation or on a first come first serve basis. Both shelters have horseshoe pits, playground, ballfield and modern restrooms nearby.

Numerous picnic tables are scattered throughout the park.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Thomas Mitchell Park
Devoite Trail: This 0.7 mile ridge top trail is part of the old stagecoach trail which continued on to Fort Des Moines and beyond.  The stagecoach would make stops at Thomas Mitchell's cabin while traveling along this trail. 
Difficulty: Moderate

For more trail information and park maps, please visit our website at www.leadingyououtdoors.org or clicking on the following link: PARKS AND TRAILS

Winter Activities Winter Activities at Thomas Mitchell Park
Snowmobiling is allowed east of the creek.