Description - Visitors are attracted to the rugged topography of Stone Park, which is typical of the Loess Hills of western Iowa. The park offers many scenic vistas of wooded valleys, dry prairie ridges, the Big Sioux River, and the neighboring states of South Dakota and Nebraska. The 220 mile-long Loess Hills Scenic Byway passes through the park.
Native Americans were the first humans to inhabit the area now known as Stone Park. Although little is known specifically about their activities in Stone Park, the area would certainly have been used during hunting activities, migration and possibly for encampments. The Dakota Sioux were the last Native American group to inhabit what is now northwest Iowa. They inhabited the area when Lewis and Clark ascended the Missouri River in 1804 and passed close to Stone Park.
In 1885, Daniel Hector Talbot began buying land that would later become Stone Park. Talbot was well known for the various animals he raised, including: elk, bear, bison, wolves, and monkeys. Thomas Jefferson Stone acquired the Talbot farm in 1895. Stone's son, Edgar, began developing the area into a park in 1905. Sioux City acquired the land from the Stone family in 1912 and continued to develop roads, picnic areas, and a zoo. In 1935, the city sold the property to the state of Iowa.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was located in the northwestern area of the park from 1935 to 1939. The CCC were responsible for constructing the majority of the park's facilities, including: entrance portals, staff residences, the Calumet shelter, and the rustic Stone lodge. The park was once the home for the Salvation Army, Boy Scout, and Girl Scout camps.
- Nature Center
A visit to Stone Park would not be complete without a visit to the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center. The center features a variety of interpretive displays, including a "walk-under" prairie, a 400-gallon aquarium of native fish, and natural history dioramas. A children's discovery area provides opportunity to handle furs, antlers, fossils, and other artifacts. Two miles of hiking trails exist around the nature center. The hours are: Tues. - Friday, 9a.m.-4p.m., Weekends, 1-4 p.m. Closed Mondays and Holidays. The center is managed by the Woodbury County Conservation Board. For more information call (712) 258-0838.
Stone State Park is a great place for a family picnic. Three open shelters are available and may be reserved for a fee. Picnic areas are located throughout the park and many offer beautiful views of the Loess Hills and surrounding area. Picnic areas contain tables and grills for use by the public.
A day-use lodge may be reserved for a fee from May 1 through September 30. Click on the picture to see a larger image of the lodge. The Stone lodge is used for picnics, receptions, and family reunions. The lodge contains a refrigerator, microwave, and modern restrooms. Contact the park ranger to make a reservation.
The campground has 30 camp sites (9 with electric hookup). Camping permits are obtained by self-registration at the campground.
Trails in the park are used by a variety of visitors and not all uses are compatible with one another. For the safety of all park visitors, and the protection of the park's resources; bicyclists, snowmobilers, and horseback riders are required to stay on trails designated for their use. Snowmobiling is also permitted on unplowed roadways unless marked otherwise. Trails may be closed temporarily by the park ranger if conditions are wet or otherwise unsafe. Call the park office for the latest trail conditions.
Stone State Park contains 6 miles of equestrian trails, 6 miles of mountain bike and snowmobile trails and 8 miles of hiking and cross-country skiing trails.
Visitors are attracted to the rugged topography of Stone Park, which is typical of the Loess Hills of western Iowa. The park offers many scenic vistas of wooded valleys, dry prairie ridges, the Big Sioux River, and the neighboring states of South Dakota and Nebraska. The 220 mile-long Loess Hills Scenic Byway passes through the park.