Peterson Park

 Peterson Park is a 200-acre park situated along the Skunk River Greenbelt.  This is an old mining area containing three gravel pits suitable for fishing, a 31-acre lake, and both prairie and woodland areas.  Park entrances are located on the east and west sides of the Skunk River.  Activities and scenic areas include: swimming beach (West Peterson), picnicking, bird watching, boating, hiking and equine trails, canoe access, fishing, and hunting. No target practice is allowed.  Only non-toxic ammunition is allowed.

No alcohol of any kind or size can be possessed or consumed at West Peterson Park.

Public Hunting Brochure


Public Fishing Brochure


Skunk River Greenbelt Trails Map


SCC Rules and Regulations


East Peterson Park: 55756 180th St. Ames IA 50010

West Peterson Park: 55310 180th St. Ames IA 50010

1.75 miles east of Highway 69 on 180th Street; approximately four miles north of Ames between Highway 69 (Grand Avenue) and Dayton Road.


  • Swimming beach (West Peterson): no life guards, swim at your own risk. No pets are allowed on the beach or in the swimming area.
  • Fishing is available at East and West Peterson Park and along the Skunk River. The ponds contain a variety of fish including largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish. There is a length limit of 15 inches for bass caught on Story County lakes. All other state fishing rules apply.
  • Picnicking, and bird watching
  • Boating. A boat ramp is available on the west side. Only electric motors are allowed.
  • 3.7 miles of trails: open to off-road bicyclists, hikers, equestrians, and cross-country skiers.
  • McMichael Pioneer Cemetery and segments of the Stagecoach Trail (East Peterson)
  • Skunk River canoe access (West Peterson Park)
  • Hunting is permitted only with shotgun and bow. Please remember to get permission when hunting within 200 yards of any occupied building, even when hunting public land. Only non-toxic ammunition is allowed.
  • Pets must be on leashes at all times.  Pets shall be deemed as running at large unless the owner carries such animal or leads it by a leash or chain not exceeding six feet in length, or keeps it confined in or attached to a vehicle. Hunting dogs are permitted in designated hunting areas for training, exercise, or hunting, but must be kept on leashes from March 15 to July 15 to protect nesting birds and must be kept under control at all times.

SCC Rules and Regulations?

Operating Hours & Seasons

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


This area is open year round.