Three Mile Recreational Area

Regional location of Three Mile Lake Recreation Area
Regional location of Three Mile Lake Recreation Area
Sunset over Three Mile Lake - Union County
Cabins at Three Mile Lake

                           Notice to Cabin Users and Campers 

Three Mile Lake is scheduled to be drawn down 12’ starting after Sept. 1 of 2023 for in-lake work on the sediment control basin, the placement of rip rap along the lake’s shoreline, and fish habitat work.  The lake will still be accessible via the middle lane at the main boat ramp.  Surface area of the lake will reduced.  Construction is expected to be complete by the spring of 2025.  Scheduling on this project is tentative and may change.  Please visit this website for updates


Welcome to the Three Mile Lake Recreation Area
It is Union County's largest recreational facility and family destination site.

Fishing: Acres of underwater structures make for some of the best fish habitat in Iowa. Bring your own boat or use one of the 13 fishing jetties, or explore nearly 24 miles of shoreline for your own "best" spot. For those with special needs, there's a wheelchair accessible fishing pier. Primary species include walleye, large and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, perch and blue catfish.

Boating: The lower portion of the lake is open to sailing, power boating and water skiing (sorry, no inboard or jet skis). "No-wake" boating is permitted on the remainder of the lake.

Swimming: The swimming beach offers you the opportunity to spend a quiet afternoon by the lake.

Wildlife: Hundreds of acres of cover and food plots create a habitat teeming with songbirds, waterfowl and upland game. Whitetail deer and wild turkey abound along with cottontail, squirrel, pheasant and quail. Waterfowl: The lake has quickly become a mecca for migrating ducks and geese. Waterfowl hunting is permitted, except for Canada Geese. Three Mile Lake and the surrounding wildlife area is designated as a Canada Goose Refuge.

Cabins: Year-around rental cabins at the modern campground provide a genuine year-around attraction. The 14x18 foot log frame units are equipped with self-contained heating and air conditioning units, electricity, basic furnishings and sleeping accommodations for up to six people. Accessible showers, sinks and flush toilets are available nearby at a heated year-around shower house.

Camping: The two campgrounds overlooking the lake have 80 sites to accommodate recreational vehicles, trailers and tent campers. Each site has electrical hookups. Water is available along with picnic sites, a fish cleaning station and dump station. Showers, sinks and flush toilets are available nearby at the year-around shower house. The cost for an electric campsite is $20/night and for a non-electric campsite is $15/night.

Lodge: Overlooking the lake is the newest addition to the Three-Mile Lake Park, Three-Mile Lake Lodge, a 36'x84' log structure which is available for rent by the public year-round. This multi-purpose building has quickly become a popular spot for many different types of activities. The Lodge has been host to wedding ceremonies and receptions, several local school proms, reunions, anniversaries, birthdays, and banquets. Inside of the building the upstairs level boasts an impressive main room of approximately 1800 square feet, with a dance floor in the middle of it. There is also a full kitchen and large restroom facilities. The lower level has the same main room, with a warming kitchen and slightly smaller restroom facilities. The walls are finished with wood siding, giving a rustic appearance with many modern conveniences.

For more information or to make reservations please call the Union County Conservation office at 641-347-5100.


Three Mile Lake Recreation Area is located approximately 70 miles south and west of Des Moines 3 miles north of U.S. Highway 34 at Afton.


For directions:
  • Click the Google Map Location link above
  • Click on "Get Directions"
  • Right click on the campground area
  • Click on "Directions to Here"
  • Enter your existing location


Three Mile Lake offers numerous recreational activities:

  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Hunting
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Lodge Rental

Operating Hours & Seasons

Three Mile Lake is open year-round.