Description - The Volga River Recreation Area is located in one of the most scenic parts of the state. Northeast Iowa is often referred to as "Little Switzerland" because of its rugged topography, geologic features and substantial timber cover which are in sharp contrast to the majority of the state's rolling hills, farmland and scattered stands of timber. The heavily wooded, rugged landscape of the Volga River is an exciting setting for a variety of outdoor recreation pursuits.
The area provides excellent habitat for fish and wildlife. The Volga River, which meanders through the 5,500-acre area, holds smallmouth bass, rock bass, channel catfish and white suckers. Its banks harbor nesting wood ducks and shorebirds. Song birds, chickadees, finches, bluebirds, and woodpeckers (including the impressive pileated) are plentiful. Raptors include red-shouldered and red-tailed hawks and great horned owls. Wild turkeys are numerous and ruffed grouse and woodcock are occasionally seen. Red fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum, muskrat, mink and beaver use the area and both fox and gray squirrels are found in the timbered hills. The timber and croplands in northeast Iowa provide excellent habitat for white-tailed deer. Many deer trails in the Volga area confirm the abundance of this popular animal.
Scenic features include the Volga River and the old steel bridges that cross it, striking rock formations, prairie areas and natural woodlands with unusual stands of aspen and Canadian yew. Changes of season provide vivid contrasts in snowy winter, bright wild flowers and foliage in spring, shady woodlands in summer and vivid colors in autumn.
There are two main picnic areas in the park. One is located on the north end by the lake and the other is down by the primitive campground. The majority of Volga River is undeveloped, but there are a few parking lots where you can sit in your vehicle, enjoy the scenery and watch for wildlife while you eat lunch.
The rugged beauty of Volga River provides a picturesque setting for camping. There are 49 non-modern campsites at the "Albany" campground area (once the site of the town of Albany). A portion of the camping area is available for equestrian campers. This is a nonmodern campground. Water is available, but there are no showers or flush toilets. Camping permits are obtained by self-registration at the campground. Camping Fees can be paid at the site.
The Volga River Recreation Area has become a very popular center for a number of trail activities. Hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and equestrian trails wind through the area. Tails include Frog Hollow Trail, Lake View Trail, Ridge Trail, Albany Trail and the Lima Trail. The Lima Trail takes visitors past 20 foot high limestone bluffs and a 15 acre white pine plantation. The total trail system is 25 miles in length. A self-guided nature trail begins by the park office.
In the winter, some trails are maintained for snowmobiling. Snowmobilers are asked to remain on groomed trails. They should obtain a report on trail conditions from the ranger.
Lake and River Activities (swimming, boating, fishing)
In addition to the Volga River, beautiful Frog Hollow Lake provides abundant fishing opportunities. The river contains smallmouth bass, rock bass, channel catfish and white suckers. The lake offers bluegill, largemouth bass and channel catfish, among others.
Any size boat motor may be operated at "no wake" speeds. Canoeing on the river has also become popular.
For yet another alternative, try canoeing on Volga River itself. You can put in on the southwest end of the park and take out right next to the road on the east side of the area. You can spend the entire day on the river view steep bluffs and wooded hillsides but only have to drive or walk back to the put in point two miles back down the road.
The area is open to public hunting during regular hunting seasons. White-tailed deer and wild turkey are popular quarries.
The area lies just east of State Highway 150 and about five miles south of U.S. Highway 18. The Volga River Recreation Area is in Fayette County. Cedar Rapids is 70 miles south, Dubuque is 90 miles southeast, and Waterloo is 55 miles southwest of the area.