Hickory Grove Park

Camping at Hickory Grove
Camping at Hickory Grove

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Changes related to lake restoration: The lake restoration at Hickory Grove Park has been extended due to the recent discovery of remaining common carp in the lake. The lake is being re-drained and will remain drained until fall. Beach and concessions will not be available this summer, and no fishing or boating is allowed. The park itself will open to vehicle and foot traffic.

Story County Conservation (SCC) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are partnering to renovate the remaining fishery in Hickory Grove Lake. The DNR will treat Hickory Grove Lake late this summer or early fall (pending workable weather conditions) with rotenone, a botanical pesticide,  to eliminate the remaining fish population. Eliminating injurious fish species is an imperative and final step so water quality and fishery improvements can be achieved.

The DNR will treat Hickory Grove Lake on August 4, 2020 (pending workable weather conditions) with rotenone to eliminate the remaining fish population. The project area includes Hickory Grove Lake and a portion of the associated watershed. The treatment area includes both public and private property. 

For more information and updated details on the lake restoration project, visit: http://www.storycountyiowa.gov/1375/Hickory-Grove-Lake-Restoration

Changes related to COVID-19: Campgrounds at Hickory Grove Park are now open at Level 2 – Campgrounds and Facilities Open with Limitations.

This level previously limited shelter and lodge reservations to gatherings of 10 or fewer people. This has been modified to allow gatherings at 50% capacity per the Governor’s latest proclamation.


Level 2Campgrounds and Facilities Open with Limitations:

·         All camping units are allowed.

·         Campground restrooms and showers are open with elevated sanitation schedule.

·         Restrooms and showers are to be closed as needed for sanitizing.

·         14-day limit is in effect.

·         Restrictions to total number of people at a campsite will follow State guidelines for gatherings and social distancing and will be enforced by the Park Ranger.

·         Signage will be maintained at dump stations encouraging the use of vinyl/nitrile gloves and hand sanitizer.

·         Firewood sales shall be provided and each park shall establish their protocol with the following requirements:

Ø  There shall be no personal contact between the campground host and campers.

Ø  Social distancing shall be enforced with money not being handled for 24-hours from delivery. SCC will use a noncontact method for purchase of firewood.

·         The processing of registration envelopes and money handling is to follow department protocols.

·         The use of face coverings by employees and campground host is required per county policy. 

·         Playgrounds are open with elevated sanitation schedule.

·         Shelter and lodge reservations are permitted at 50% capacity of the facility.

·         If you become ill during your camping stay with us, please notify the Park Ranger.


Appropriate signage indicating the current level of service will be placed at the point of entry to the campgrounds. View all details regarding levels of operation here.


Here’s how you can help:

·         According to State of Iowa recommendations, limit your group size and stay 6 ft. away from other park visitors.

·         If you have been sick in the last two weeks, please stay at home for your health and the safety of others.

·         Avoid popular areas where people congregate.

·         Please maintain distance between you and other park visitors according to guidelines and recommendations by health officials. Please take in to consideration the health of others when spending time outdoors.

·         Pack extra soap or hand sanitizer. Soap or sanitizer will not be easily available at parks due to limited supplies. Be sure and bring your own and wash your hands frequently.

·         Additional information on best practices for keeping you and your family safe can be found online at the CDC website.





Story County's Largest Park!

Hickory Grove Park is the largest and most popular of the conservation board's parks. This 445-acre multiple-use recreational area southwest of Colo contains a 98-acre lake stocked with large mouth bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, and grass carp.

 Public Hunting Brochure


Public Fishing Brochure


SCC Rules and Regulations


Located within central Iowa’s “Golden Triangle”, Hickory Grove Park is a 45-minute drive from Des Moines, Iowa’s capital, and 15 minutes from Ames, the location of Iowa State University. 

Hickory Grove Park lies southwest of Colo, Iowa between 670th and 690th avenues and between 250th and 255th streets.  The park is approximately twelve miles east of the intersection of U.S. Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 30 and two miles west of the intersection of U.S. Highway 30 and U.S. Highway 65. 


  • 43 modern camping sites with electricity at Breezy Bay Campground within Hickory Grove Park; $20 per night per site - some sites are reservable - reservations are only available online - Camping Reservations
  • Shower house with flush toilets and hot water in Breezy Bay campground
  • Primitive campground on the south side of the lake; $12 per night per site - all sites are reservable - reservation are only available online - Camping Reservations
  • Concession stand with pedal boat and canoe rentals (open Memorial Day - Labor Day on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 12pm - 8pm).
  • Sand beach (no lifeguards on duty--swimming is at your own risk. There are no swimming fees charged.)
  • An alcohol free area exists on and around the beach from the north boat ramp (not including the ramp area) to and including the Supervised Youth Camping Area. No alcohol of any kind or size may be possessed or consumed .
  • Picnic sites with tables and grills
  • Two enclosed lodges with fireplaces, electrical outlets, outside grills, and water nearby (available by reservation; fee charged Oriole Ridge Lodge or Snow Bunting Lodge)
  • Five open picnic shelters (first-come, first-served)
  • Hiking trails
  • Boat ramps (electric motors only)
  • Fishing jetties
  • Fish cleaning station
  • Public hunting is allowed only in the two game management areas on the south side of the park (see map. No target practice is allowed. Only non-toxic ammunition is allowed.
  • Archery Range (no fee; first-come, first-served; no firearms; must bring own targets)
  • Winter activities including ice fishing, cross-county skiing, and snowmobiling

Operating Hours & Seasons

Park hours are 5:00 a.m.- 10:30 p.m. daily.


The area is open year round.  Campgrounds are closed November 1 - March 31.
  • Water and modern restrooms/shower facilities may be closed to prevent freezing

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