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Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
Canoe over 3 miles of old Skunk River channels. Wildlife species such as river otters, great blue herons, beavers, wood ducks, and painted turtles are just a few of the animals that can be seen while canoeing the backwaters. Water depths are normally one to three feet.

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt has canoes for rent. Paddles and life jackets are provided. Reservations can be made in advance for groups of 10 or more by calling 515-249-5925 or on-site on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Additional information can be found on our website. Click here: Polk County Conservation website

Education Education at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
Polk County Conservation naturalists offer nature programs at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt. To request a Nature News to learn about upcoming programs at Chichaqua and other parks in Polk County send an email to pccb_info@polkcountyiowa.gov and put ADD TO MAILING LIST  in the reference line.
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
The Chichaqua Longhouse is one of our enclosed facilities. It is popular for family reunions, company picnics, weddings, and other group functions. The longhouse accommodates up to 125 people. Reservations can be made on this site. 
FALL COLORS FALL COLORS at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
Experience the changing of seasons at the expansive and secluded Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Park.
Fishing Fishing at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
For information about fishing at Polk County Conservation parks, please visit the Things to Do tab on our website (www.leadingyououtdoors.org) or click this link: Things to Do-fishing
Geocaching Geocaching at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

Geocaching has become a very popular activity for individuals and families to participate in. Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for GPS users. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the Internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is to leave an item if they decide to take something from the cache. Visit geocaching.com for more details.

Polk County Conservation permits geocaching in keeping with its mission to provide opportunities for safe recreational activities. Geocachers are welcome to place a cache in PCC lands as long as they comply with the requirements of the geocache permit.

Historic Visits Historic Visits at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
In 1910, a 100-foot early Warren pony truss bridge was built over the channelized South Skunk River. In 1992, a new bridge was constructed to replace the old bridge which was moved to Chichaqua. Only 17 bridges of this type remain in Iowa with this one being the longest.
Hunting Hunting at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
Hunting is allowed in the majority of the area. A portion of Chichaqua has been designated as a "controlled hunting area". Non-toxic shot (non-lead) is required with the exception of deer and turkey hunting. All state and federal hunting laws apply.

Polk County Conservation Board initiated a controlled waterfowl hunting program at the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt in 1973. Each year, the program allows the reservation of up to 12 hunting blinds per day. Up to four people are allowed per blind. Hunting is allowed Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from legal opening time until 1 p.m. during the October to early December season. Blinds are located adjacent to waters that are part of a five hundred acre refuge. The program has been very popular with central Iowa hunters. The County's operation is one of several programs in Iowa and the only one in the central part of the state. The others are along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. It has been popular for older hunters who find it difficult to wade in many public marshes, but can walk to individual blinds over dry land at Chichaqua. The layout of the area, access to the blinds, and the need for no boats make it more attractive.

Waterfowl hunting blinds at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt can be reserved by calling the Chichaqua office at (515) 967-2596 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The twelve blinds are located in both marsh and woodland settings. Daily reservations are $30 per hunting blind. Hunting is allowed from legal opening time to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday throughout the season.

A trap range including a trap house is available to rent for a nominal fee. You may also bring your own thrower to use at the range if the area is not reserved. To reserve the range, call the park office at (515) 967-2596.  Shot shell only allowed at this range. For more information about hunting, please visit our website at www.leadingyououtdoors.org or click on the following link: HUNTING INFORMATION
Other Activities Other Activities at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
Dog Training Area: Approximately 100 acres have been designated for year round dog training. Organized dog trials are held throughout the year. Areas not designated for year round training are closed between March 15 and July 15 during wildlife nesting season.

Bird Watching: Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt is designated as a Bird Conservation Area by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society. Chichaqua, in conjunction with the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, encompasses about 76,500 acres, 15,000 acres of which are protected for wildlife. Click here to download a brochure about this Bird Conservation Area which includes a field guide checklist and to watch a video to learn more about some common Iowa backyard birds.

Picnicking Picnicking at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
Several areas are available for family picnics. Tables, charcoal grills and trash cans are provided with restrooms nearby.
Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
There are several established trails within Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt. Trail information and park maps can be found on our website at www.leadingyououtdoors.org or by clicking on this link: PARKS AND TRAILS

Cardinal Flower Trail: .8 mile loop begins and ends near the historic bridge. This tranquil trail winds along the old ox-bows of the Skunk River. Keep an eye out for great blue herons, wood ducks, and river otters.
Difficulty: Easy

Jack Pine Trail: .9 mile trail crosses the historic bridge and follows the river to the west.
Difficulty: Easy

Otter Trail: 2.6 mile trail from the south end of the Cardinal Flower Trail to the southeast corner of the marsh and back to the office. Closed September 1 to the end of waterfowl hunting season.
Difficulty: Easy

Wood Duck Trail: .25 mile trail between the Longhouse and Area #2.
Difficulty: Easy

Winter Activities Winter Activities at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

Cross Country Skiing
If it’s a flat trail you’re looking for, then check out Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt. Trails will wind through the woodlands, following the old Skunk River channel. You may see deer, fox, and otter tracks along the trail. Many different loops will be groomed, all beginning from the campground.

Ski equipment can be rented at the Jester Park Outdoor Recreation and Wellness Center. Call 515-323-5330 for more information. To visit our website click here: Jester Park Equipment Rental information