Description - 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.
- Indian Mounds
A series of 19 mounds overlook the Des Moines River in the northwest section of the park. These were built by an ancient group of Woodland Culture Indians in order to bury their dead. Such mounds are usually found on hilltops overlooking river valleys.
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. Three open picnic shelters are available and may be reserved for a fee through the park manager. The picnic shelter near the east entrance of the park is accessible to the mobility impaired.
A lodge may also be reserved through the park manager. The lodge is an excellent place for group events such as wedding receptions and family reunions.
Lacey-Keosauqua's beautiful, shaded campground features 113 campsites (45 with electrical hook-ups), modern rest rooms, shower facilities, and a trailer dump station. Camping permits are obtained by self-registration at the campground. Camping Fees can be paid at the site.
Lacey-Keosauqua State Park offers 6 family cabins. These are available for reservation through the park manager at 319/293-3502. Cabins provide all of the comforts of home while bringing visitors a great outdoor experience. All cabins include modern facilities. Cabin Rental Fees vary from park to park.
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 at the beach and lifeguards are on duty. Boats may be rented and a ramp provides easy access to the lake. 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.
Annual "Festivals" And "Special" Events
A Forest Crafts Festival is held at Lacey Keosauqua State Park the second weekend of October. The festival features woodcraft demonstrations and sales, forest and wildlife management demonstrations and buckskinners. Nearby Keosauqua has a parade, carnival and other related events.
Lacey Keosauqua State park is within convenient distance from several picturesque towns and villages on the Des Moines River. Keosauqua, the county seat of Van Buren County, is located just across the river from the park. Nearby historic settlements are Bentonsport and Bonaparte.