Pinicon Ridge Park

Watercraft Concession
Watercraft Concession
Pinicon Ridge Park
Pinicon Ridge Park Campground
Camping Cabin

Featured Events
»   Almost New Moon Owl Hike
January 18 - January 18, 2023   6:00 - 7:30 PM
»  more events

Learn more about Pinicon Ridge Park at our official website,   LinnCountyIowa.Gov/Conservation 

This 966-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.

Check out a preview video of Pinicon Ridge Park!


Family Camping

Camping is a popular outdoor recreation activity at Pinicon Ridge Park. Campgrounds are open Mid- April through the Mid-October (see below) , 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. No reservations are accepted. All campers must self-register and pay the required fee. A dumping station for use by campers is available. 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 park and river. Reserve a group camp here.  

 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) Bobwhite 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). Reserve a cabin here


Lodges & Shelters
The park features 2 lodges, Horseshoe Falls Lodge and Woodpecker Lodge. These are enclosed facilities and available all year-round. 

The park also has 3 reservable shelters, Eagle View and Riverside, as well as the new Wapsi Bluff Shelter with an overlook and spectacular view of the Wapsipinicon River. These shelters are open-air facilities and may be reserved April 15th - October 15th.

A new reservable shelter, the Wapsi Bluff Shelter offers a wonderful view of the Wapsipinicon River. 

Reserve a lodge or shelter here. 

Activities & Attractions
The Pinicon Ridge Observation Tower is open to the public at no charge.  It is generally open, with the exception of snow, ice or similar weather conditions.  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!

Wildlife Exhibit

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 6.5 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 4 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.  Entrance to the park and the wildlife pen is free.

Watercraft Concession

The Watercraft Concession at Pinicon Ridge Park  is typically open seven days a week from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. M-F 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sat-Sun-Holidays 10 - 6 p.m.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. The number to the watercraft concession is 319-438-1961 or the park office 319-438-6616. 


Woodpecker Hill Trail
The trail-head is near the parking area located at the top of Woodpecker Hill. 1.7miles in length, it takes about 45 minutes to walk. The trail, which has some hills, features a unique limestone outcropping located in the valley of the forest and a small water cascade known locally as "the Horseshoe Falls".

White Oak Trail
The trail-head 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 2 miles long and takes approximately 2 hours to walk. The trail traverses heavily wooded hills and valleys. 

Wapsi-River NatureTrail
This trail is 1.5 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 trail-head 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 December 1st - 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.


There are two entrances to the park, one each on the north and south side of the Wapsipinicon River just west of Central City.

Pinicon Ridge Park - South Access - 4732 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.

Pinicon Ridge Park Campground - North Access  - 4740 Valley Farm Road. 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.

Pinicon Ridge Park brochure and map

Watercraft Concession brochure



Picnic areas

Fishing access

Hunting & dog training area

Boat Ramp & Canoe/Kayak Access

Lighted winter sledding hill


Operating Hours & Seasons

Pinicon Ridge Park is open from 4 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Campgrounds & Cabins are generally open April 15th - October 15th. Weather, ground or river conditions may contract or expand these dates.   (check our official website, for details on whether conditions allow for extension of the season)

Watercraft Concession Hours are seasonal May - September.  Weekdays: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.  Weekends/Holidays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Hours may vary based on staffing.