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Dolliver Memorial State Park

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General Information

Description - Bluffs, canyons, the Des Moines River, Prairie Creek and Indian mounds are all part of the natural and cultural history that make Dolliver State Park so valuable to the people of Iowa. Purchased for $38,500, the 457-acre park was dedicated in 1925. During the dedication ceremonies, a memorial plaque, the work of noted sculptor Laredo Taft, was unveiled before a crowd of 13,500 people.

Attractions - Picnicking/Shelters/Lodge

The two lodges at Dolliver, built during the 1930's, may be rented for day use. They accommodate groups of 100 people and are ideal for group events such as family reunions and wedding receptions.

An open picnic shelter may be reserved for a fee through the park manager. A playground is located in the picnic area for the younger visitors.

Family Cabin

Dolliver's newly renovated family cabin may be reserved for a fee for overnight stays. The cabin sleeps four, and is equipped with a refrigerator and sink. It is located only a short distance from the modern rest room and shower building in the campground.

Group Camp

The group camp has a dining hall, modern rest rooms and showers and 10 separate sleeping cabins. The camp is available on a reservation basis for a variety of group events.


The Dolliver campground is located in a pleasant setting overlooking the Des Moines River. There are 33 campsites with electrical hookups, modern rest room and showers and a trailer dump station. Camping permits are obtained through self-registration at the campground. Camping Fees can be paid at the registration station.


A trail will take you out past the Copperas Beds which are unique sandstone formations towering 100 feet above Prairie Creek. The trail then continues on up into oak covered hillsides and back down past Bone Yard Hollow. Trails also take you out to the Indian Mounds and up more wooded hillsides.

Boating and Fishing

Dolliver is located on the Des Moines River, which is popular for both boating and fishing. A modern boat ramp is located in the park and is a popular "put in-take out" spot for canoeists as well as anglers.

Copperas Beds

A unique facet of the sandstone formations at Dolliver are the "Copperas beds." The towering 100-foot bluff on Prairie Creek is a cross-sectional view of the ancient river bed that is over 150 million years old. Over the ages, the erosive power of Prairie Creek uncovered this unique feature. The porous nature of the sandstone has caused many minerals such as calcite and sulfur to dissolve as the water seeps through. As the water evaporates, the mineral deposits are left behind. You can see many of these deposits in the sandstone cliffs, as well as petrified logs and sticks.

"Boneyard Hollow"

This narrow ravine running between rock walls was given its name "boneyard hollow" by early settlers who found large amounts of buffalo bones in the canyon. It is possible the area's first inhabitants drove herds of buffalo from the prairie over the cliff to their death or perhaps drove the herds into the narrow ravine and then killed & butchered them for their meat, hides, horns & bone.

In 1912, a family picnicking in the area of the creek that runs through Boneyard Hollow found a lead tablet at the mouth of the creek. Inscribed in Latin, it stated that it was deposited in 1701 by Father Hennepin, a French explorer, often credited with discovering the Des Moines River. The tablet was eventually found to be a hoax, planted by people from the nearby community. However, Edgar Harlan, then curator of the state archives, went to the site where the tablet was found. His interest in the beauty of the area helped spark the state's interest in eventually purchasing the park.

Location - Lehigh is three miles southeast of the park and Fort Dodge is 10 miles north of the park

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More Information

Contact Information:
Dolliver Memorial State Park, 2757 Dolliver Park Ave. , Lehigh, IA , 50557, Phone: 515/359-2539, Fax: 515/359-2542
, Dolliver@dnr.state.ia.us

Additional Information:
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