Garrison Rock Resource Management Unit

Garrison Rock Sign
Garrison Rock Sign
Garrison Rock
Rock with grass
Horse Thief Cave

Garrison Rock Outcropping

Consists of 302 acres of rolling terrain of primarily of high quality oak/hickory timber and open ridge tops. Much of the open areas were farmed, grazed or hayed prior to WCCB’s ownership. Prairie and savanna restoration is underway on this area - making it ideal turkey and deer habitat.

Garrison Rock is actually a large sand stone out crop overlooking the Des Moines River valley. This area was very important historically, being a Native American gathering site and one of the first places European settlers occupied in Wapello County. A Pioneer Cemetery occupies a bluff top overlooking the Des Moines River. Both Native Americans and early settlers used Horse Thief Cave for shelter before it collapsed over 50 years ago. During the early 1900’s, Garrison Rock was a must see site for all of the local townsfolk. Horse drawn buggies and sleighs would carry Ottumwa residents out to the area to picnic, hike and explore Horse Thief Cave. Garrison Rock is a high quality oak/hickory forest resource with excellent plant and animal diversity.


Garrison Rock Resource Management Unit is located about 2 miles southeast of Ottumwa on Cliffland Road.

The parking lot is located in the northeast corner of section 4, Keokuk Township.


* Hunting

* Hiking Trails

* Wildlife Viewing and Bird Watching

* Target shooting is not permitted

Operating Hours & Seasons

All county parks are open daily 6:00 AM to 10:30 PM.