Things To Do
Linn County Conservation strives to provide opportunities and access for all residents to experience nature to improve their health and quality of life: Available to the public is 28 areas, over 100 miles of multi-use trail, 320 campsites, a regionally-significant observatory, a learning center, a modern shooting range, a historic schoolhouse, an arboretum, a watercraft rental facility and offers high-quality educational programming. There's plenty to see and do...and explore at your leisure!
Biking and Hiking
An extensive trail system is managed throughout the county providing numerous options. Whether it be the 68 mile Cedar Valley Nature Trail between Waterloo connecting Johnson County, or mountain biking at Wanatee Park. Maybe you just want to take a stroll in the outdoors and see what nature has to offer. Mountain Bike trail is currently closed at Wanatee Park for 2021 due to derecho damage.
Visit our Parks, Trails and Natural Areas page and we'll see you along the trail!
Boat ramps with access to the Wapsipinicon River include Pinicon Ridge Park, Matsell Bridge Natural Area, Troy Mills River Access, and Wakpicada Natural Area. Cedar River boat access is at Chain Lakes Natural Area, North Cedar Natural Area, and South Cedar Natural Area. A kayak launch is available at Buffalo Creek Park.
Modern campgrounds with electricity and water are located at Morgan Creek Park, Pinicon Ridge Park and Wanatee Park. Additional primitive (non-modern) camping areas include Wakpicada, Matsell Bridge Natural Area, and Matsell Bridge Natural Area equestrian campground. Wickiup Hill Learning Center also has a pack-in primitive campsite. Group camping areas are located at Pinicon Ridge Park and Morgan Creek park. Most all camping areas are first come-first served. Only Wanatee Park A-Loop, Group Camping, and Wickiup Hill Learning Center are reservable online. More details available at the Campground Update tab or by visiting the Parks, Trails, and Natural Areas tab.
Matsell Bridge Natural area provides over 10 miles of horseback riding opportunities along multi-use trails. A nearby equestrian campground featuring hitching posts and space situated with direct access to the trails in the area. Horses are not allowed on the designated trails for them during December firearms deer-hunting season. Wanatee Park offers a 4 mile-multi-use trail that winds through a variety of vegetation types ranging from open meadows to brushy creek bottoms to mature timber. Wakpicada Natural Area provides a trail for horses and primitive camping.
In addition to the boat ramp access areas listed above along the Wapsipinicon and Cedar Rivers, Pinicon Ridge Park provides plenty of opportunities along the river and back waters within the park.
Linn County Conservation makes available 4500 acres available for public hunting. Our areas are included in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Hunting Atlas.
Winter provides a unique perspective and highlights the changing beauty to the outdoors. The colder months of the year allow for hiking, snowshoeing, wildlife watching, photography, and much more.
The area next to Red Cedar Lodge at Wanatee Park and a hill by Woodpecker Lodge at Pinicon Ridge Park are popular for sledding during the winter months.
Linn County conservation makes available nearly 16 miles of cross-country ski trails. 4" of snow is required for grooming skate and classic tracks.