Activities

 
Boating Boating at Criss Cove
Criss Cove provides users with a high quality 9 acre pond fishery that allows easy access for both shore-line fishing as well as an access for non-motorized boat/canoe fishing. Access to the pond is open year round.  Bring your canoes and kayaks out to cruise around the pond as water levels permit.
Cabins Cabins at Pammel State Park
There are two 24’ diameter Yurt style cabins. Yurt cabins are soft-sided structures that are commonly found in the western United States and are of a unique design to provide comfort in a more versatile setting. Our Yurt cabins sleep 8 people and are air-conditioned & heated. Each cabin has a small kitchenette that includes an electric stove/oven, microwave, refrigerator, counter space and cabinets. Other furnishings include two sets of bunk beds (double-bed on bottom, single-bed on top), a sleeper sofa and a kitchen table and chairs. An exterior deck is attached to each cabin, along with a hooded BBQ grill, ground-fire ring and water hydrant. Cabin renters must use the bathrooms in campgrounds.
Camping Camping at Pammel State Park
Pammel Park campgrounds have 36 designated modern sites providing electrical and water hookups. There are also 5 tent-only sites. Modern bathrooms and showers are also provided along with play equipment. Dump station provided.
Camping Camping at Criss Cove
The camp ground is located in the northwest corner of the park on a ridge overlooking the pond. There are 16 designated rock camping pads provided for campers and RV’s. Each modern site is serviced with 50-30-20 amp outlets and rural water hookups. A primitive group tent site is available at the west end of the campground. Newly remodel pit-vault bathrooms are provided. Showers are not available. 
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Pammel State Park
Canoe/Kayak accesses are available at the Middle River Ford. Some campers put in at the ford and canoe the “horse-shoe” section of the river and take out at the bridge by the main entrance (30 minutes). 
Fishing Fishing at Pammel State Park
River Fishing in Middle River: Catfish (Channel, Blue and Flathead) is excellent, especially below the ford following heavy flows.
Fishing Fishing at Criss Cove
Pond fishing is good in this 9 acre pond. Maximum depth of over 23 feet, and a spring fed water source helps maintain an optimum fishery. Large-Mouth Bass, Bluegill, Crappie and Channel Catfish are kept stocked in the pond. Fishing is available year round.
Fishing Fishing at Fellowship Forest
The small ½ acre pond provides a fun place for youngsters to wet a line. The pond is kept stocked with catfish and also provides good angling for bluegill and largemouth bass.
Fishing Fishing at Guye Woods
Catfishing in North River.
Geocaching Geocaching at Pammel State Park
Geocache ​boxes are located along the Backbone Trail and the Lodge Trail. Coordinates are available on our website at www.madisoncountyparks.org.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Pammel State Park
Harmon Tunnel: The only highway tunnel in Iowa , greets all visitors entering the park. The tunnel pierces the base of the limestone backbone and provides access to the remainder of the park facilities. Historical Note: In 1858 the tunnel was originally dug by William Harmon and his sons as a small chute to carry water diverted from Middle River to power a saw mill that was eventually converted to a grist mill. The mill was abandoned in 1904 and the tunnel expanded in size to allow vehicle traffic in 1925. The tunnel has since been expanded and reinforced to accommodate modern vehicles.

Middle River & Limestone Backbone: Middle River makes a great horse-shoe loop in the park. The dividing wall is called the backbone which is a natural limestone ridge over 100 feet high. When standing atop the backbone directly over the tunnel, you can see Middle River flow in all four directions. The geology of the backbone is as extensive as the plant life and well worth exploring.

Middle River Ford: Built in the 1920’s, the ford is the only means of vehicle access (within the park) to the west side of the park. During normal river flow levels, vehicles can safely cross the ford which maintains a depth of 2” to 4”. The ford has provided countless hours of recreation for many generations of park visitors who love to wade, splash and fish in and around the structure. The ford is closed during high water flows and icy conditions during winter months.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Cedar Covered Bridge Park
Cedar Bridge Park, managed primarily as day-use historic site and picnic area, is home to one of the six remaining covered bridges in Madison County, with Cedar Bridge being the only covered bridge that you can still drive your vehicle through. Cedar Bridge Park is adorned with a quaint Victorian era gazebo, brick walkways and a courtyard bordered by a wildflower garden that is often used for weddings.
Cedar Bridge, built in 1883, was destroyed by fire in the fall of 2002. Through a ground swell of public support, funds were raised to rebuild Cedar Bridge. The exact replica of Cedar Bridge was built and dedicated on Saturday, October 9th, 2004.
In May of 1993, Cedar Bridge Park hosted Oprah Winfrey when she aired her daily television talk show from the park as a means to promote a book that she dearly liked at the time which was entitled, “The Bridges of Madison County”. Although only 27 acres in size, Cedar Bridge Park receives heavy daily tourist traffic with the peak season coming in the fall during Covered Bridge Festival weekend (2nd full weekend in October).
Hunting Hunting at Clanton Creek Recreational Area
This area is managed as a wilderness area open to fishing, public hunting and hiking. This is one of Madison County’s largest remaining remnants of land locked wilderness. There are no interior roads throughout the entire area which spans 2 1/4 miles east and west and a mile north and south. The landlocked feature enables this area to be one of Madison County’s most pristine wildlife areas and prime public-hunting areas. Access to the interior of the park is pedestrian only. The primary habitat is upland oak/hickory forest with terrain that varies from gently rolling to steep ravines. Other unique habitats present are oak-savanna prairie, ridge top tall-grass prairies, and numerous small wetlands.
Hunting Hunting at Fellowship Forest
Fellowship Forest was originally established as a Methodist Church youth camp. Fellowship Forest was donated to the Conservation Board’s foundation in 1988. This 60 acre park is managed as both a day-use picnic area as well a public hunting and fishing area. Fellowship Forest consists primarily of upland hardwood forest, with some bottom land timber. A beautiful clear running meandered creek flows the entire length of the park, cascading over numerous limestone out-croppings, creating 3 to 5 foot tall waterfalls.
Excellent hunting for White-Tailed deer, turkey, squirrels and other small woodland game.
Hunting Hunting at Jensen Marsh
This 190 acre wildlife area is managed as a natural resource/public hunting area. Due to the diversity of habitats present, Jensen Marsh provides the user with the opportunity of viewing a wide variety of both game and non-game wildlife throughout the year, including waterfowl, upland birds and mammals, wetland and aquatic species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. I wide variety of native wetland and upland species of forbs, grasses and legumes are also found in these diverse habitats.
Excellent site for waterfowl hunting, as well as good to excellent hunting for White-Tailed deer, and turkey. Fair site for pheasant, and other small game.
Hunting Hunting at Goeldner Woods
Even though there is only 40 acres of timber available for public hunting, Goeldner Woods is surrounding by large tracts of privately owned high quality upland forest in this North River valley. Excellent location for White-Tailed deer, turkey, squirrel and other small woodland game. Not bad for mushrooms either!
Hunting Hunting at Guye Woods
Excellent area for White-Tail deer, turkey, squirrel and other woodland wildlife.
Picnicking Picnicking at Goeldner Woods
Small picnic area with ground grills and fireplaces is available adjacent to the parking area.
Picnicking Picnicking at Fellowship Forest
A modern shelter that seats up to 60 people is located near the parking lot. Electrical outlets and lighting is provided within the shelter as well as a large “hooded” group grill. The shelter may be reserved or used on a first-come/first-serve basis.
Picnicking Picnicking at Cedar Covered Bridge Park
Picnic facilities are available in the two shelters. The Gazebo is nestled within a stand of stately pines and accented with an attached brick patio garden that is landscaped with tiered beds of perennial and annual plantings. Handicap accessibility made possible with hand-laid brick walkways.
Picnicking Picnicking at Middle River County Park
A two-level picnic shelter provides picnic facilities for large groups. Upper level (200 person capacity) is available for reservations. The lower level (100 person capacity) is kept open on a first come/first serve basis. The shelter is surrounded by landscape beds of colorful perennial and annual plantings. Handicapped accessible. Other picnic facilities (tables & grills) are located on the lower grounds between the shelter and Middle River.
Picnicking Picnicking at Pammel State Park
Three separate picnic areas are located near the main entrance of the park, as well as around the Lodge and north of the campground on the backbone. A small one-table shelter is located near the ford.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Pammel State Park
Nearly 5 miles of trails wind through Pammel’s woodlands exploring the many diverse ecosystems created by the river, geology and plant life. Three separate trail systems are located in the park. The Backbone Trail has trail heads at both ends of the tunnel as well as atop the backbone near the Backbone Shelter. The Lodge Trail has trail heads near the bathrooms and play equipment. The Interpretive Trail begins on the north side of the park road directly across from the Lodge.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Middle River County Park
Park visitors use both the hard surfaced trail system as well as the park road system to hike through the park and the adjoining Winterset City Park to the north. During winter season, the road system is closed and utilized as cross-country ski trail system connecting to the road system in the adjacent Winterset City Park to provide for over 3 miles of wind-protected ski trails.
There are also TWO, 5-stop geocache trails in the park.  Call ahead and request use of portable GPS units (515) 462-3635.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Fellowship Forest
 Trails meanders in a large loop through the west half of the park. The trail-head is located on the north end of the pond dam. The trail is approximately 1 mile in length and remains fairly level throughout.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Criss Cove
A groomed trail circles through the west half of the park providing a convenient connection between the campground area and the pond. The trail loops through the southwest corner of the park taking visitors through stands of Red-Cedar and the beginnings of a natural regeneration of native grasses and wildflowers. The trail is approximately 1/4 mile in length.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Clanton Creek Recreational Area
A five+ mile trail system transects this entire wildlife area. Trail markers are set every 1/4 mile providing the user with a good measure of distance traveled. Trail heads are located in the Deer Creek Unit parking lot and east parking lot of the Clanton Unit. The trail traverses a multitude of gradients, and would require a hearty traveler approximately two to three hours to complete. No form of motorized, bicycled or equestrian transportation is allowed on the trail. Pedestrian use only.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Goeldner Woods
Trails meander through the entire park. The upper loop (approximately 1/2 mile) is located adjacent to the picnic grounds and remains primarily on level ground in the upper elevations of the park. The lower loop trail system (1 1/2 miles) explores the side slopes and river bottom timber and traverses steeper gradients.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Jensen Marsh
The wetland habitat attracts a wide variety of waterfowl and shore birds throughout the spring, summer and fall. For bird watchers, the rail-trail, has native grasses and shrubs to provide concealment and the necessary environment to set up photo opportunities for bird-watching. The adjacent prairie and timber provide the user with excellent opportunities to view upland wildlife that venture close to the open marsh area to feed. Binoculars, field scopes and various field guide books are a must when exploring this area. For plant enthusiasts, the high quality of diverse habitats at Jensen Marsh provides and excellent area to conduct vegetative studies with over 150 native plants species currently identified with an ongoing plant inventory.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Hanson Prairie Preserve
The prairie is divided into two segments as Cedar Creek meanders through the middle of the prairie preserve. The public is encouraged to come and explore the “tall-grass prairie” ecosystem that once covered over 90 percent of the State of Iowa. Hunting is not allowed.
Users are encouraged to get off the trail and explore the prairie ecosystem. This is an excellent area to locate grasslands and “thicket” type bird species. Cedar Creek also makes this area a good sight to locate amphibians and reptiles.