Baileys Ford Park

Baileys Ford Park is located 3 miles southeast of Manchester on Jefferson Road, in section 10 of Milo Township (T88N-R5W) Delaware County, Iowa.

The history of this area goes back to 1838 when a surveyor by the name of Joel Bailey settled and built a cabin on the east side of the Maquoketa River where the park is today. As one of the first settlers in Delaware County his cabin became the first post office. When stagecoach roads were established, the family kept travelers overnight and at this location is where the river could be forded on their westward travels. Thus, the area became known as Baileys Ford.

This area has always been a popular location for fishermen, picnickers and campers. In 1959 the Delaware County Conservation Board purchased almost 4.0 acres from Interstate Power Co. Over the next ten years they acquired an additional 73.0 acres.

The Iowa DNR, through the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund assisted the Conservation Board with 55.0 of those acres, which became the base for Baileys Ford Park. The park opened to the public in May of 1969.

In 1984 the Delaware County Conservation Board constructed the park office, shop and exhibit center, making this the headquarters for all the county parks and wildlife areas.

In 1988 the Conservation Board entered into a lease agreement on 50.0 acres from Kuhlman Quarries. The Iowa DNR, in 1999, purchased 25.0 acres along the Maquoketa River and entered into a management agreement with the Conservation Board. Together all of these properties total over 170.0 acres as part of the Baileys Ford Park complex.

Today the park provides over 70 camping sites; 44 with water and electric service, 10 with electric service and 16 primitive sites, along with restroom and shower facilities (campground map available pdf).

The park has almost 3 miles of improved hiking trails (trail map available pdf) and a half mile of Spring Branch Trout Stream flows through the park before out-letting into the Maquoketa River. Trout fishing is easily accessible along the stream with a handicap fishing platform on the north end of the park. The stream is regularly stocked with trout by the Iowa DNR Fish Hatchery.



2379 Jefferson Road

Manchester, Iowa  52057


The park amenities include:

  • Camping
  • Shelters
  • Playgrounds
  • Showers / Restroom
  • Dump Station
  • Youth Camp Area
  • Vault Restrooms
  • Boat Ramp
  • Canoe / Kayak Access
  • Hiking Trails
  • Fishing
  • Trout Stream
  • Handicap Fishing Platform
  • Sand Volleyball
  • Wildlife Observation

Operating Hours & Seasons

The Office and Exhibit Center hours are:

Monday - Friday 

8:00 - 11:30 am and 1 - 3:30 pm


All parks and Natural Areas remain open all year. However, facilities are closed to vehicle traffic and allow only walk-in access during the late fall and winter season. Parks with campgrounds are usually open from mid-April through mid-October.