Lacey-Keosauqua State Park is one of the largest and most picturesque of Iowa state parks and recreation areas. The park's 1,653 acres of hills, bluffs and valleys wind along the Des Moines River in Van Buren County.
During the middle of the 19th century, the great Mormon trek westward across Iowa occurred. Ely Ford, now the site of a beautiful picnic area, was a river crossing point. It is now a component of the Mormon Pioneer Trail.
Originally, the park was named "Big Bend," but when it was dedicated in 1921, a more colorful name was sought. For the next five years, it was called Keosauqua, a Native American term meaning "the stream bearing a floating mass of snow, slush, or ice." In 1926, the name was changed to Lacey-Keosauqua in honor of Major John Fletcher Lacey who fought in the Civil War, was elected to Iowa House of Representatives in 1868, and by 1888, was a member of Congress. Major Lacey campaigned for conservation legislation long before Teddy Roosevelt and was instrumental in the establishment of a state park system in Iowa.
Facilities and Activities
Lacey-Keosauqua is a wonderful place for a family cook-out. It is one of the prettiest parks where you can get together and enjoy a meal in the outdoors. Two open picnic shelters are available and may be reserved online through the park reservation system.The picnic shelter near the east entrance of the park is accessible to the mobility impaired.
There are two lodges that may also be reserved for a fee. The lodge is an excellent place for group events such as wedding receptions and family reunions. The lodge may reserved online through the park reservation system.
Lacey-Keosauqua's beautiful, shaded campground features a variety of campsites including 30-amp electrical, 50-amp electrical and water, modern rest rooms, shower facilities, and a trailer dump station. Advance campsite reservations can be made online through the park reservation system. One third of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Friends of Lacey-Keosuaqua group provides firewood sales to campers Memorial Weekend through Fall Festival in October and is open daily when the camphost is available.
Lacey-Keosauqua State Park offers 6 family cabins. The cabins can be reserved online through the park reservation system. The cabins provide all of the comforts of home while bringing visitors a great outdoor experience. All cabins include modern facilities.
The park's hiking trails wind among the valleys and cliffs along the Des Moines River. On the trails, it is often possible to see many types of wildlife including deer, raccoons, opossums, gray squirrels, red foxes, and numerous species of bird life. The variety of plants, trees and shrubs; many of them more than 200 years old; make hiking at the park an exciting and educational experience.
Lake Activities (swimming, boating, fishing)
The picturesque 30-acre lake is a favorite spot for swimmers during the summer. There is a bathhouse restroom at the beach, but no lifeguards are provided and swimming is at your own risk within the beach ropes. Boating is limited to electric motors only. The lake is popular with fishermen as is the scenic Des Moines River which runs the length of the park.
Beach Monitoring Results
Beach, Bicycling, Bird Watching, Boat Launch Ramp, Boating, Cabins, Camping - Electric, Camping - Nonelectric, Camping - Youth Group, Canoeing, Day-use Lodge, Dock, Boat, Dump Station, Firewood Sales, Fishing, Hiking, Historic Sites, Interpretive Display, Jogging/Running, Kayaking, Modern Cabins, Modern Campground, Park Lake, Picnic Area, Picnic Shelter, Playground, River, Scenic Driving Routes, Seasonal Festivals, Swimming - Beach, Trails, Hiking, Walking, Water Hydrants , Wildflower Viewing, Wildlife Viewing