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Elk Rock State Park

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General Information

Description - Elk Rock State Park is located on Lake Red Rock, one of Iowa's large impoundments. The area had been inhabited by Native Americans dating back more than five thousand years to the Archaic Culture. In 1842, the Sac and Fox Indians granted white settlers right to this land. The name "Elk Rock" has been attributed to the unusual rock formation which is located on the south side of the river in the park. Many towns accommodated the white settlers and traders including: Cordova, Dunreath, Fifield, Percy, Red Rock and Rouseau. Although these settlements no longer exist they were within the area now known as Lake Red Rock.

In 1960, the United States Army Corps of Engineers began construction on Red Rock dam which was completed in 1969. The Corps of Engineers leased land along the Red Rock reservoir to the Iowa Conservation Commission in 1969 for construction of North Elk Rock. In 1978, the state obtained a lease for property on the south shore of the reservoir. This land became known as South Elk Rock. Today Elk Rock State Park comprises the main Elk Rock Park area, which has both day and night facilities, and the bridge area that is a day use picnic area.

Lake Red Rock is a major stopping-off area for waterfowl and other migratory species in both spring and fall, including white pelicans and bald eagles. The reservoir area also serves as a habitat for other plants and animals species, including more than 200 species of birds, 54 species of trees, 62 species of wildflowers, 43 species of fish and 35 species of mammals.

Attractions - Picnicking/Shelters/Lodge

Elk Rock State Park has a picnic area located approximately 1 mile north of the main park entrance on Highway 14. This area has one open shelter.


Elk Rock provides a fine setting for camping. A modern shower building and trailer dumping station are available. The camping area contains 2 circles with 9 non-electrical sites. Electrical hookups are available at 12 additional sites. Camping permits are obtained by self registration at the entrance of the campground. Camping Fees can be paid at the site.

Equestrian Campground

The equestrian campground features 60 sites, 24 with electrical hookups. A modern shower building, horse stalls, hitching rails and riding arena are available.


An excellent system of multiple use trails radiates outward from the equestrian campground areas. There are 13 miles of multi-use trails at Elk Rock. Mountain bikes are allowed on the trails. Trails are occasionally closed due to wet conditions. Contact the park office for current trail status.

Lake Activities (swimming, boating, fishing)

Lake Red Rock and the Des Moines River provide great fishing opportunities. Elk Rock has two boat ramps, one located near the main park entrance and other is located by the park office. Bass, catfish, walleye and crappie are the most common fish caught in this area.

Roberts Creek and Cordova Park, just north of Elk Rock, are popular fishing, boating and picnic spots. They are administered by the Marion County Conservation Board.

Location - Knoxville is seven miles south on Highway 14. Pella is ten miles east on G-28

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More Information

Contact Information:
Elk Rock State Park, 811 146th Avenue , Knoxville, IA , 50138, Phone: 641/842-6008
, Elk_Rock@dnr.state.ia.us

Additional Information:
Iowa State Parks -
South Central Iowa Travel Region -


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