Polk

Skip Navigation LinksHome > Counties > Polk > Parks > Jester, Lewis A., Park > Activities

Jester, Lewis A., Park

 
Boating Boating at Jester, Lewis A., Park
For those who want to launch their own boats onto the upper reaches of Saylorville Lake, Jester Park offers two boat ramps. One is located off Jester Park Drive near the main campground, with the other located at the Lincoln Access beside the Mile-Long Bridge. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warns boaters to use caution upstream from the Mile-Long Bridge.

A "No Motorized Vessel Zone" is located north of the Mile Long Bridge during April 1 to August 31. During periods of flood storage, restriction may be lifted. Please contact the US Army Corps of Engineers at Saylorville Lake for details. Call 515-276-4656 or visit their website at http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/SaylorvilleLake.aspx
Cabins Cabins at Jester, Lewis A., Park
Four modern cabins at Jester Park will provide opportunities for families to enjoy Jester Park who are unable or less inclined to camp. The cabins will feature a walk out basement, covered front porch seating area, a wrap around wooden walkway to a back deck with a secluded woodland views. Amenities inside will include a fireplace, kitchenette, two restrooms with shower, and modern household furnishings. The one larger cabin will be a 2 bedroom upper level, with separate bunk space in the lower walk-out; the three smaller cabins will have 1 bedroom on ground level with the same lower level features. Other amenities to the cabin site will include fire ring, BBQ grills outside, and a central fire-pit gathering area for families. 

Pictures of the facilities can be found at our website at http://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/conservation/facilities/jester-park-cabins/
Camping Camping at Jester, Lewis A., Park

Jester Park features 168 campsites spread across wooded hills and along the shore of Saylorville Lake. These include 80 electric sites (17 of these allow advance reservation), 82 non-electric sites (9 of these allow advance reservation), four primitive walk-in sites, and two reservable youth areas. Of the primitive sites, 20 are compatible with equestrian users within the park, and layovers can be arranged with Jester Park Stables. Contact the Jester Park Equestrian Center for layover information at 515-999-2818.

Two campground showerhouses are open mid-April through mid-October. A special discounted rate is available for a 7-day camping stay on non-reservable sites. More information about camping is available on our website at www.leadingyououtdoors.org

Campers should set up at their campsite before registering at the campground registration booth located one mile from the park entrance. Some campsites cannot be reserved in advance. Firewood is available near the registration booth.

A youth camping area is available by reservation only. 

Reservations can be made for some campsites using this website. 

Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Jester, Lewis A., Park
For those who want to launch their own boats onto the upper reaches of Saylorville Lake, Jester Park offers two boat ramps. One is located off Jester Park Drive near the main campground, with the other located at the Lincoln Access beside the Mile-Long Bridge. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warns boaters to use caution upstream from the Mile-Long Bridge.

A "No Motorized Vessel Zone" is located north of the Mile Long Bridge during April 1 to August 31. During periods of flood storage, restriction may be lifted. Please contact the US Army Corps of Engineers at Saylorville Lake for details. Call 515-276-4656 or visit their website at http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/SaylorvilleLake.aspx
Education Education at Jester, Lewis A., Park
Polk County Conservation naturalists offer many year-round nature programs. To request a Nature News to learn about upcoming programs at Lewis A. Jester Park and other parks in Polk County send an email to pccb_info@polkcountyiowa.gov and put ADD TO MAILING LIST in the reference line. For current listings, click on the EVENTS tab above or visit the calendar on our website at www.leadingyououtdoors.org.
Equestrian Activities Equestrian Activities at Jester, Lewis A., Park
The Equestrian Center offers boarding, riding lessons, shows and clinics, team building, trail riding, wagon & sleigh rides, pony rides and birthday parties. For for a complete listing of all programs go to their website at http://www.jesterparkec.com/ or call 515-999-2818.
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Jester, Lewis A., Park
SHELTERS AND AMPHITHEATER
Five picnic shelters are available by reservation or on a first-come  basis. Shelter #2 has a volleyball court and overlooks Skull Pond and golf course, Shelter #3 has a volleyball net and is closest to the playground, Shelter #4 has a campfire pit with view of the lake, Shelter #5 is near the cabins, across from Two Dam Pond, Shelter #6 is across from Elk/Bison Exhibit and Nature Playscape. The Amphitheater/mini shelter, great for award ceremonies and small wedding ceremonies is also available to reserve. Reservations for these facilities can be made by clicking on the MAKE RESERVATIONS tab above.

JESTER PARK LODGE
The Jester Park Lodge a full service banquet and conference center nestled along the northwest shore of Saylorville Lake. With a capacity of 258 people, it is an ideal location for wedding receptions, reunions, and meetings The rental facility offers users a full kitchen, dance floor, deck, and fireplace. The large hall can be divided into two meeting rooms. The facility is ADA-accessible and can be reserved year-round. Visit our website for further information: www.leadingyououtdoors.org

For more information or to make a reservation at the Lodge, please click here to go to their website:  Lodge

JESTER PARK CABINS
Four modern cabins at Jester Park provide opportunities for families to enjoy Jester Park who are unable or less inclined to camp. The cabins will feature a walk out basement, covered front porch seating area, a wrap around wooden walkway to a back deck with a secluded woodland views. Amenities inside will include a fireplace, kitchenette, two restrooms with shower, and modern household furnishings. The one larger cabin will be a 2 bedroom upper level, with separate bunk space in the lower walk-out; the three smaller cabins will have 1 bedroom on ground level with the same lower level features. Other amenities to the cabin site will include fire ring, BBQ grills outside, and a central fire-pit gathering area for families.  For more information or to make reservations, please click on the MAKE RESERVATIONS tab above.
Fishing Fishing at Jester, Lewis A., Park
Three ponds (Teal, Skull, and Discovery) support largemouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish, and crappie.
Maximum depth: 8 feet.
Average depth: 5 feet.
Most fish are small but plentiful making it a good for beginning anglers. Look for submerged brush piles. Ice fish using wax worms and minnows. You can also fish Saylorville Lake from the shore or by boat. 

For more information on fishing and pond contour maps, please visit our website at www.leadingyououtdoors.org or by clicking on the following link: FISHING INFORMATION
Geocaching Geocaching at Jester, Lewis A., Park

Geocaching has become a very popular activity for individuals and families to participate in. Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for GPS users. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the Internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is to leave an item if they decide to take something from the cache. Visit geocaching.com for more details.

Polk County Conservation permits geocaching in keeping with its mission to provide opportunities for safe recreational activities. Geocachers are welcome to place a cache in PCC lands as long as they comply with the requirements of the geocache permit.

Hunting Hunting at Jester, Lewis A., Park
Several remote areas of Jester Park are available to hunt all game. A portion of Jester Park along Saylorville Lake is open to waterfowl hunting only. All state and federal hunting laws apply.

For more information on hunting, please visit our website at www.leadingyououtdoors.org or by clicking on the following link: HUNTING INFORMATION
Other Activities Other Activities at Jester, Lewis A., Park
Playground
This play structure was created with the child in mind. One structure is desgned for children ages 2-5, while the other is designed for children ages 5-12. Both structures are accessible and can be found near shelter #3.

Natural Playscape
The Jester Park Natural Playscape is not a run of the mill playground. It is a play area constructed using natural materials such as boulders, earth mounds, and water features, avoiding plastics, metals, concrete, or signs explaining how to play.

Children that climb trees, roll down hills, scramble up rocks, dam up water, and hide in grass experience natural play. This type of play frees the child’s imagination to limitless learning opportunities. By using the approach of a Natural Playscape instead of a fabricated playground, children’s creativity will be challenged with adventurous natural activities and objects.

Jester Park Golf Course
The Jester Park Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course judged by the Des Moines Business Record in 1997 to be Greater Des Moines' "best public golf course." Excellent playing conditions and challenging holes have helped make Jester Park a popular course for state tournaments. Tee times may be made in advance by calling (515) 999-2903. Jester Park also offers a 9-hole par 3 course especially popular with beginning golfers, as well as a modern Golf Learning and Practice Facility with driving range and practice greens.

Picnicking Picnicking at Jester, Lewis A., Park
Five picnic shelters are available by reservation or on a first-come basis. Several offer views of the lake and others are located in private, wooded settings. Picnic tables with grills are scattered throughout the park.

Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Jester, Lewis A., Park
Jester Park offers more than 8 miles of trails to explore, including the Lakeshore Trail along Saylorville Lake, Hickory Ridge trail near the bison-elk display and Campers Loop. The Stagecoach Trail brings one to an especially scenic view of the lake. The Red Pine and Red Cedar trails are perfect short hikes for young children. 

Basswood Trail  - 0.3 mile trail winds through the woods from the park entrance, past the Lodge, and to Camp Area 3.

Camper's Loop -  0.3 mile loop is located near Camp Area 2 and is great for a leisurely stroll.

Stagecoach Trail - 0.2 mile trail leads hikers from the park road to Camp Area 4.

Red Cedar Trail - 0.4 mile loop east of Camp Area 5, perfect for a night hike.

Red Pine Trail - 0.4 mile loop west of Camp Area 5.

Hickory Ridge Trail - 0.7 mile trail from the kiosk to the wildlife exhibit.

Lakeshore Trail  -4.6 mile trail begins at Mile Long Bridge traveling north along Saylorville Lake. Snowmobiles, horses and hikers are permitted on this trail.

Discovery Trail - just under 0.5 miles of accessible trail around Discovery Pond with a pedestrian boardwalk.

Portions of these trails are groomed for cross country skiing in the winter.

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






Winter Activities Winter Activities at Jester, Lewis A., Park
Snowmobiling
The 5-1/2 mile Lakeshore Trail is open for snowmobiling when snow conditions permit and offers a beautiful ride alongside Saylorville Lake. For an update on trail conditions, call the park ranger at 323-5366. 

Cross Country Skiing
At Jester Park you’ll have an opportunity to ski over 3.5 miles of trails. Shelter # 2 will serve as the trailhead. Due to drifting, the majority of trails on the golf course have been closed. Trails will lead skiers through the woods, near Saylorville Lake, and along the edge of the golf course.

Snowshoeing
Snowshoeing can be enjoyed by anyone just about anywhere in Polk County. The only places to avoid snowshoeing are on groomed cross-country ski trails (found at Jester Park and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt) and golf courses.
143