Description - The 85-acre Lake of Three Fires is nearly a mile long and a half-mile wide, with scenic inlets ideal for fishing and boating. Surrounding the lake are 691 acres of picturesque woodlands. Although summer is the most popular season, any nice spring or fall day will draw hundreds of picnickers, hikers, photographers and fishermen. There are eight miles of marked trails for hikers, horseback riders, and snowmobilers. Playgrounds are located in the picnic area and at the beach area. There are horseshoe pitching areas at the beach area near the lodge, the camp area and the picnic area.
The Pottawattomi tribe, a large group of Native Americans known as the "Fire Nation," once roamed the prairies of southern Iowa. According to legend, two other tribes joined the Pottawattomi to form a loose confederacy known as "Three Fires." It is believed the three tribes held a great council meeting to join forces for protection against invading tribes. Runners were sent to wandering Indian nations to tell of the great rendezvous. Smoke from three fires signaled the exact location. The fires were built atop the highest hills so smoke could be seen from any direction. One such point overlooked the valley now covered by the waters of Lake of Three Fires. Three fires were kept burning as long as the three tribes joined together. If any of the fires went out it meant the tribes had left the area to continue on their own. Lake of Three Fires State Park was dedicated in 1935.
A large picnic area with tables and grills is nestled under trees close to the lakeshore. Two open picnic shelters may be reserved for a fee through the park manager. One shelter has electricity, tables and running water. There is a playground nearby.
A newly renovated lodge near the beach can be rented for a fee on a reservation basis for day use only.
Two modern campgrounds located a short distance from the lake provide 140 campsites (30 with electrical hookups), restroom, shower facilities and a trailer dump station. Camping permits are obtained and fees paid at a self-registration depository at the campground.
There is also an equestrian campground that provides 22 camp sites, 8 with electrical hookups. In addition, there are 15 holding pens. Camping permits are obtained and fees paid at a self-registration depository at the equestrian campground.
Lake of Three Fires is a fine place for a family vacation at an economical cost! The modern cabins will comfortably accommodate four persons each. They are heated, cooled, and equipped with a refrigerator, microwave and cooktop stove. Renters must provide bedding, towels, cooking and eating utensils. Cabins may be reserved by contacting the park manager. Showers may be taken in the nearby camp areas. Cabin Rental Fees vary from park to park.
The park contains eight miles of marked trails for hikers, horseback riders and snowmobiles. Lake of Three Fires is one of southwest Iowa's most scenic parks and the trails provide great opportunities to experience its beauty year round.
Lake Activities (swimming, boating, fishing)
A sandy beach area provides swimming fun for everyone. There is a playground near the beach area plus a sand volley ball court.
There is a concrete boat ramp near the beach and one in the south camp area. All motor boats must operate at a no wake speed.
On the north border of the park is a 220 acre public hunting area and on the south border is a 160 acre public hunting area.
Shopping is available three miles south of the park in historic Bedford. Visit the Taylor County Historical Museum at the west edge of Bedford on Highway 2. A beautiful golf course is located on Highway 148 north of Bedford. Bedford is also known for its antique shops.