Big Hollow Recreation Area

Big Hollow is Des Moines County's premiere outdoor recreation destination. It is home to a 178-acre lake with a swimming beach and public boat ramp that provides boating access to the lake. Only a few years ago, the area that is now the lake was forest and trails; today, most of the trees still stand, their canopies rising above the water, making the lake a fish and wildlife haven like no other around. The lake features excellent bluegill, crappie, channel cat, and bass fishing opportunity either by boat or from the shore. And the alcohol-free beach is a great family attraction during the summer months. For anglers looking for a quieter setting, Big Hollow Recreation Area offers numerous other small ponds within its borders, all of which offer great fishing opportunities throughout the year.

Big Hollow is open to public hunting and features quality deer, turkey, upland and small game hunting opportunity. The open lands are actively managed for upland game and the diversity of forest types on the property offer a variety of habitats for various woodland species. The extensive trail system throughout the area gives hunters access to parts far from main roads.

The area offers year round recreational opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast including ice fishing and cross country skiing in the winter and hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing all year round. Plans for a 20-mile recreation trail, the Flint River Trail, linking the city of Burlington to Big Hollow, are underway. The trail project has been a cooperative effort between the City of Burlington and Des Moines County. The trail will greatly contribute to Big Hollow's existing popularity among outdoor enthusiasts.

Big Hollow Recreation Area is home to a 25, 50, 100 yard, and 300 meter outdoor shooting range. Each of the ranges have a ten person covered firing line with wood and concrete benches. Membership is required to use the range.

Planned development: Big Hollow is still undergoing development. Plans for the area include the construction of four fully furnished lakeside rental cabins, and 18 more RV sites. The continued development of Big Hollow will only progress as funding allows. Since most of the funding for the project must come from grants and private donations, YOU can help make the planned developments a reality.

To view a copy of the 2021 Big Hollow Master Plan, click Here.


10 miles north of Burlington on Hwy 61, then 3 miles west on Pleasant Grove Rd., then 1/2 mile south on 152nd Ave. Google Map.


  • 798 total acres
  • 178 acre lake with beach, fishing jetties and boat ramp
  • 25, 50, 100 yard and 300 meter shooting ranges (requires certification)
  • Observatory run by SE Iowa Astronomy Club
  • 3-D archery course run by Flint River Bowhunters Association
  • Model Airplane field run by Burlington Model Airplane Club
  • RV and Primitive Campgrounds
  • Primitive Cabin
  • Full- Amenity Cabin
  • Numerous small ponds
  • Extensive trail system
  • Dump station
  • Online reservation for half of the RV sites
  • Modern Restroom / Shower House located in the full hook-up RV campground
  • Dedicated kayak dock and sand launch for canoes
  • Playground in the full hook-up RV campground

Camping Rates:

  • Full hook up: $25 per night
  • Electric only: $20 per night
  • Primitive sites: $10 per night
  • Primitive cabin: $40 per night

Operating Hours & Seasons

Park hours: 6:00 am – 10:30 pm
Camping Check-In: After 3 pm on your arrival day
Camping Check-Out: 
Before 3 pm on your departure day