Activities

 
Biking Biking at Fontana Park
Bring your bike and enjoy our paved trail that leads from Fontana Nature Center into the nearby town of Hazleton. The trail is about 1 mile long.
Boating Boating at Koutny Pond/Hoffman Woods
The shallow waters of Koutny Pond give way to a few deep fishing holes that are easily reached by a boat with a small electric motor. This type of motor is the only one allowed at any county areas.
Boating Boating at Newton Township Natural Area
Boaters can put in at this area and enjoy a ride down scenic Buffalo Creek.
Boating Boating at Iron Bridge Woodland & River Access
Iron Bridge Access has a long ramp and a large parking area that make it an ideal spot to put in for a great day of boating on the Wapsipinicon River.
Cabins Cabins at Fontana Park

Sustainable Living Cabin Virtual Tour - Tour produced by Flight Spool 

 

A Unique Experience - Sustainable Living Cabins!
Visitors to Buchanan County’s signature park, Fontana, will be able to enjoy overnight comfort while being conscious of conservation and the environment. People can now click on the 'Facilities' tab to reserve a cabin! Fontana Park is located nine miles north of Independence or one mile south of Hazleton, off Highway 150, and is managed by the Buchanan County Conservation Board. “We are quite excited about this project,” said Conservation Board President Roger Johnson. “The cabins are one-of-a-kind in combining comfort with a strong conservation message.”

The cabins' comforts and amenities are complimented by natural beauty, park attractions, and promotion of a sustainable lifestyle. Each cabin comfortably sleeps five, with two private bedrooms, kitchenette, and a private bathroom with shower. Vaulted ceilings, wood-sided interiors, and exterior wood siding from trees harvested in Buchanan County. Each cabin has a porch, table, grill, and fire ring. A private drive for cabin users provides access to the cabins. The cabins are situated near the woodland trails and prairie on the northwest part of the park.

Conservation and Energy Efficiency
The cabins are off-grid – receiving all electrical needs through roof-mounted solar panels with battery storage. Cabin construction makes use of energy efficient: structural insulated panels (SIPs), triple pane windows, water conserving faucets and toilets, and more. Details of the sustainability features will be prevalent, with educational displays and printed materials. Cabin users will be able to view meters that indicate the flow of electricity from the solar panels and the supply of stored energy in the batteries.

Camping Camping at Jakway Park
Jakway Park offers a beautiful place for visitors to tent or camper camp at. For more information, click here.
Camping Camping at Lime Creek Area
Lime Creek Park has a nice, peaceful campground. Not far from the Cedar Valley Trail, campers at Lime Creek may want to bring their bicycles. As its name implies, Lime Creek meanders through the park. A playground and shelter house are available right in the campground. The Conservation Board recently improved the electrical service at Lime Creek, allowing for more power use by campers. Camping Fees at Lime Creek are $12/night with electricity or $6/night without electricity.
Camping Camping at Fontana Park
Enjoy camping by tent or camper at the Fontana Park Campgrounds.
Camping Camping at Boies Bend Area
Primitive camping with no electric sites or running water areas. Vault toilets and fire pits available.
Camping Camping at Troy Mills Wapsi Access
Primitive campsites with fire pits. No running water, electricity, or restroom facilities.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Troy Mills Wapsi Access
This area has a boat ramp paddlers can use to easily get their boats into the Wapsi.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Iron Bridge Woodland & River Access
Canoes and kayaks slide smoothly into the water at the edge of a soft ramp at Iron Bridge Access. Located halfway between Independence and Quasqueton, this access is the perfect place to join the Wapsi River Water Trail.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Wapsipinicon River Access
This is a beautiful place to put in a canoe or kayak and join up with the Wapsipinicon River Water Trail.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Robert "Chic" McGlaughlin Easement Access
This area provides paddlers on the Wapsipinicon River Water Trail with a place to portage around the Littleton dam.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Three Elms Area and Access
This area is the perfect place for paddlers to access the Wapsi south of the Independence dam and continue on down the River trail.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Koutny Pond/Hoffman Woods
Koutny Pond is a scenic area that beginning paddlers can enjoy while learning in a relaxed atmosphere.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Fontana Park
Non-motorized boats are welcome to explore the section of Otter Creek north of the Nature Center. The water is relatively shallow, and many birds and other wildlife species may be observed. There is a small loading and unloading area near the Nature Center. A round-trip up the creek and back typically takes less than 2 hours.
Education Education at Fontana Park
Enjoy an educational program at Fontana Park. For a complete list f offerings see our "Events" page. Teachers and community group leaders may also schedule a program with a naturalist. For more information see our "For Teachers" page.
Education Education at Fairbank Fen
This area offers a very unique wetland habitat that teaches about the native lands of Iowa.
Education Education at Bryantsburg Prairie Preserve
A natural prairie area with a large variety of prairie grasses and wildflowers.
Education Education at Putty Root Preserve
These 15 acres of natural prairie offer many opportunities to learn about native plants and wildflowers.
Fishing Fishing at Mickey Fox Area
The Mickey Fox area provides easy access to the Wapsi for a fun day of river fishing.
Fishing Fishing at Newton Township Natural Area
Buffalo creek winds its way through this area providing great stream fishing opportunities.
Fishing Fishing at Three Elms Area and Access
Visit Independence and then take a break at Three Elms for some fishing. This area is located south of the dam in Independence and is a great place to fish for almost anything.
Fishing Fishing at Anderson Addition to Cutshall Area
Fish the Wapsi for a large variety of game fish at this beautiful natural area.
Fishing Fishing at Otter Creek Roadside Park
Otter creek and a small pond provide anglers with a variety of fishing opportunities.
Fishing Fishing at Boies Bend Area
Fish the Wapsi for a variety of game fish at Boies Bend.
Fishing Fishing at Sand Creek Area
Sand Creek area marks the spot where Sand Creek and the Wapsi meet. These two waterways will keep you fishing all day.
Fishing Fishing at Pine Creek Area
Enjoy a full day of fishing with access to both Pine Creek and the Wapsipinicon River.
Fishing Fishing at Buffalo Creek Wildlife Area
Anglers can enjoy fishing along scenic Buffalo Creek.
Fishing Fishing at Koutny Pond/Hoffman Woods
At Koutny Pond/Hoffman Woods anglers have their choice of pond and/or stream fishing.
Fishing Fishing at Cortright Wildlife Area
Cortright Wildlife Area has access to the Wapsi for fishing and several small ponds also available.
Fishing Fishing at Cutshall Area
Access to the Wapsi makes this a great place to fish.
Fishing Fishing at Otter Creek Wildlife Area
Access to a remote area along Otter creek is available at this preserve.
Fishing Fishing at Fontana Park
Many visitors to Fontana Park enjoy fishing below the Fontana Dam or on one of the three nearby jetties. Sunfish, carp, and bass are the most common species seen.
Fishing Fishing at Robert "Chic" McGlaughlin Easement Access
Fish the Wapsipinicon River from this easement access.
Fishing Fishing at Iron Bridge Woodland & River Access
The Iron Bridge Access offers anglers the opportunity to fish along the scenic Wapsi in an out of the way spot.
Fishing Fishing at Wapsipinicon River Access
Fish the Wapsipinicon River for a variety of game fish.
Fishing Fishing at Troy Mills Wapsi Access
Easily gain access to the Wapsi at this area.
Fishing Fishing at Frogville Access
This area offers anglers easy access to the Wapsipinicon River.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Iron Bridge Woodland & River Access
The Iron Bridge is a piece of history from the very beginnings of Buchanan County and is one of the few remaining bridges of its type in the state of Iowa.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Jakway Park
The Richardson-Jakway Historic Site is a partner site in the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area. This site, located at Jakway Park just two miles South of Aurora, provides a glimpse into the 19th century home, farmstead, and community. An interpretive loop has been established around the house with signage that shares its history. The house is locked, but tours may be arranged for groups by calling 319-636-2617.

The house was built by Abiathar Richardson, a native of the state of Maine. He arrived in Iowa in 1849 and built a log cabin on the west side of Buffalo Grove. In so doing, he became the first settler in what came to be known as Buffalo Township, Buchanan County, Iowa. For nearly a year he was the sole inhabitant. Then he induced a couple who were on their way west, Silas Messenger and his wife, to take his cabin as their home. Richardson stayed with the Messengers for the next year. In 1851 he built his new home - the first frame house in the township. He painted it the "romantic color of red" as described in an early account.

Buffalo Township was officially established in 1852 and a little village grew up around the Richardson house. The village was known variously as Buchanan, Buffalo Grove or Mudville. The settlement was laid out and platted by Richardson in 1857. His house was used as a polling place for first election ever held in the township. It also housed the Buffalo Grove post office from 1857 to 1885. Abiathar Richardson served as the first postmaster. The "old red house", as it came to be known locally, was the stopping place for the stagecoach line which was established through the area. It served as a stage coach inn from 1857 to 1886.

The little village thrived until 1886 when the Chicago Great Western Railway laid their tracks one and one-half miles north of Buchanan and the town of Aurora sprang up. This was the death knell for the little village. Most of the buildings were moved, during the next winter, to the bustling community of Aurora.

In 1894 the Richardson family traded this farm for a farm owned by the John Jakway family. Later, the Palmer family became tenants of the Jakways and lived here for several years. Then, Glenn Jakway, John's son, moved into the house around 1910 and remained there until his death in 1967.

Hunting Hunting at Cutshall Area
The 85 acres of natural area offer a variety of game animals habitat all year long.
Hunting Hunting at Cortright Wildlife Area
This mostly wooded area with access to running water and deep cover is an ideal spot to find many different woodland animals. 152 acres.
Hunting Hunting at Koutny Pond/Hoffman Woods
A large prairie area attracts many different species of birds to Koutny Pond/Hoffman Woods and among those is the ring-necked pheasant. The wooded areas also provide food and cover to deer and turkey.
Hunting Hunting at Bearbower Sand Prairie
This area offers a variety of hunting opportunities with both prairie area for birds and a small wooded area for turkey and deer.
Hunting Hunting at Buffalo Creek Wildlife Area
A wooded area with great habitat for animals like squirrels, turkey, and deer. 60 acres.
Hunting Hunting at Rowley Fen
Rowley Fen has 43 acres of wetland and grassland for upland bird hunting.
Hunting Hunting at Crumbacher Wildlife Area
This area is full of excellent wildlife habitat, and hunting is permited during the appropriate seasons.
Hunting Hunting at Pine Creek Area
40 acres of mostly wooded area for hunting squirrel, turkey, and deer.
Hunting Hunting at Sand Creek Area
Sand Creek area has 80 acres of various landscapes available for hunting in every season.
Hunting Hunting at Boies Bend Area
Nearly 26 acres of wooded area ideal for deer and turkey hunting.
Hunting Hunting at Buffalo Creek Area
Hunting may be pursued during the appropriate seasons.
Hunting Hunting at Anderson Addition to Cutshall Area
This area is open year round for all hunting seasons. 24 acres.
Hunting Hunting at Hodges and North Wildlife Area
66 acres of prairie make this an ideal spot to hunt for pheasant.
Hunting Hunting at Mickey Fox Area
97 acres of varied landscape make this a great deer and turkey hunting spot.
Hunting Hunting at Blazing Star Prairie
A natural area that provides year round habitat for upland birds. 7.5 acres.
Hunting Hunting at Newton Township Natural Area
158 acres help this area provide a large variety of habitat for  many different species.
Hunting Hunting at Patton Prairie
45 acres of natural prairie ideal for pheasant habitat.
Hunting Hunting at Wapsipinicon River Access
These 51 acres of land adjacent to the Wapsipinicon River are ideal for deer and turkey hunting.
Hunting Hunting at Frogville Access
Various shelter types encourage many different game animals to call this area home.
Hunting Hunting at Troy Mills Wapsi Access
63 acres of mostly wooded area provide a variety of hunting opportunities.
Hunting Hunting at Ham Marsh
This excellent wildlife habitat offers opportunities for hunting during the appropriate seasons.
Other Activities Other Activities at Three Elms Area and Access
Three Elms offers an archery range with distance markers. The Wapsi Bow Hunters club holds two shooting a year here with a 3d course. If you would like more information about the yearly shooting days contact Larry Spece, president of the Wapsi Bow Hunters, at 319-361-3646.
Other Activities Other Activities at Schneider-Hieneck-Rowe Area
Kitty corner to the Hoover area, this is a wonderful spot for bird watching, nature photography, and exploring.
Other Activities Other Activities at Swartz Preserve
Stop by this small area for a quick walk through a natural preserve. Visitors can take pictures, watch birds, or just explore.
Other Activities Other Activities at Van Laningham Wildlife Preserve
This area is a wonderful place to explore a natural area, bird watch, or take nature photos.
Other Activities Other Activities at Hoover Area
Hoover is a great area to enjoy nature by birdwatching, photagraphy, or exploration.
Other Activities Other Activities at Buffalo Creek Area
A disc golf course is available for use.
Picnicking Picnicking at Fairbank Fen
Fairbank Fen has multiple tables and a grill available for picnicking or barbeque.
Picnicking Picnicking at Cutshall Area
Picnic tables, a shelter with electricity, and vault toilets are available to visitors.
Picnicking Picnicking at Lime Creek Area
Lime Creek offer picnickers tables, a covered shelter, grills, toilets, and trash cans.
Picnicking Picnicking at Jakway Park
This location offers several picnic tables, a shelter, toilets, trash cans, and a playground to those interested in picnicking.
Picnicking Picnicking at Fontana Park
There are many picnic tables and several covered shelters available for picnicking at Fontana Park. All tables are near grills, toilets, and trash cans.
Picnicking Picnicking at Otter Creek Roadside Park
Picnic tables and grills are available for use. No restroom or electric facilities on site.
Picnicking Picnicking at Cortright Wildlife Area
Picnic tables are available but no restroom facilities are on site. All trash should be carried out by visitors when leaving the park.  
Picnicking Picnicking at Buffalo Creek Area
This lovely area offers picnic tables and a covered shelter with electricity near the meandering Buffalo Creek. Vault toilets, trash cans, and grills are aslo available at this site.
Picnicking Picnicking at Boies Bend Area
Picnic tables and a shelter with electricity make this a great area for a picnic.
Picnicking Picnicking at Hodges and North Wildlife Area
This is a great place to picnic and enjoy the scenery of a natural prairie area. No restroom or electric facilities on site.
Picnicking Picnicking at Three Elms Area and Access
Picnic table and fire pits are available for use. Vault toilets and no electricity.
Picnicking Picnicking at Wapsipinicon River Access
Picnic along the scenic Wapsipinicon River at this park. Fire pits and tables available but no restroom or electric facilities.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Ham Marsh
This site offers a short trail that cuts through fields before ending at a lovely wetland. There are many opportunities for wildlife viewing here, and a bird blind is located near the wetland to enhance birding opportunities.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Three Elms Area and Access
Mowed trails are available for hiking year round.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Otter Creek Roadside Park
Mowed trails wind through the small wooded area and run along Otter Creek.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Buffalo Creek Area
A short trail winds through a forest and borders several smal ponds here.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Fontana Park
Fontana Park has 1.25 miles of looping trails that skirt the lake and wind through a lovely wooded area.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Jakway Park
A short, but lovely interpretive trail loops through the woods at this site. Hikers pass Buffalo Creek, an old quarry, and many plant and wildlife species on their way.  
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Nibeck Wildlife Preserve
A short trail takes you on a scenic walk past a unique marshy area and other interesting natural places.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Crumbacher Wildlife Area
This large area offers over a mile of hiking trails that wind past a pond, prairies, and forest. Hikers are sure to encounter many plant and wildlife species on their journeys.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Cortright Wildlife Area
Mowed trails criss cross the woods and run along the Wapsi River.
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Buffalo Creek Area
Groomed ski trails are open during the winter months. call 319-636-2617 to check the trail conditions before your visit.
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Fontana Park
Groomed cross country ski trails are available to visitors during the winter. Call 319-636-2617 to check on trail conditions before your visit. Fontana Lake also offers ice fishing, and a portion of the ice is usually cleared for skaters each winter.
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Otter Creek Roadside Park
The summer hiking trails are open during the winter to cross country skiers.