Parks & Facilities
This 798 acre recreation area offers year-round recreational opportunities for families wanting to get out and enjoy the outdoors. The park features a 178 acre lake with a boat ramp, beach, and multiple fishing accesses and jetties. It also offers RV and tent camping, an off-grid rental cabin, a shooting range, an observatory, and over 10 miles of hiking trails.
Starr’s Cave Park and Preserve is a 184-acre state nature preserve and park area owned by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and managed by Des Moines County Conservation.
The area features two miles of scenic hiking trails and is a place rich with natural and cultural history. It is also home to Starr's Cave Nature Center, the headquarters of Des Moines County Conservation's award-winning Environmental Education Program.
Des Moines County Conservation offers three campgrounds with a total of 128 campsites throughout the county. Of those, about half have electricity. All three campgrounds have a central water and dump station. The 32 RV sites at Big Hollow offer electric, water, and sewer at every site. Half of those sites are reservable online.
County Parks & Trails
About half of the Flint River Trail is still in planning/construction phases. On the county side, a seven mile section extending from Flint Bottom Road to Big Hollow was officially opened to the public in October 2013.
Once complete, the hiking/bicycle trail will be approximately 20 miles and will connect the Mississippi River Trail, downtown Burlington, the Port of Burlington, Riverside Park, Starr's Cave Park and Preserve, Hickory Bend Recreation Area, Historic Zion School, and Big Hollow Recreation Area through the Flint River Valley. The trail will be primarily separated from roadways for safety and enjoyment of the users.
Hunt Woods is a 58 acre forest located near Burlington’s southwestern corner. It is a timber and woodland management demonstration area designed to show landowners how to manage their own property in an environmentally responsible manner. There have been regular timber management practices applied to the area including harvests, timber stand improvement, prescribed burning, and the planting of thousands of seedlings.
With its large network of trails winding through quality wildlife habitat, Hunt Woods is a popular destination for hikers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Luckenbill Woods is a 76 acre area of forest, prairie, and wetland located approximately five miles east of Mediapolis. More than a mile of hiking trails weave through the park's southern end, crossing Dolbee Creek. They are an excellent place to view wildlife. The park is managed as a wildlife refuge and natural resource area.
In 2009, the property's north prairie became the site of Operation: Save the Quail, a Mediapolis 6th grade science class project that won the Disney Planet Challenge Grand Prize, earning the entire class a trip to Disneyland.
A one-room school house on a one acre lot, Old Zion School is maintained as a historic landmark. The limestone schoolhouse was built in the 1840’s and served the Zion School District from 1846 until 1964 when school district consolidation closed nearly all of the 100 one room school houses in the area. The Zion School District donated the property to Des Moines County Conservation in 1965. The property resides along the Flint River Trail. In order to protect its interior, the building remains locked except during special events.