Pinicon Ridge Park
This 966-acre park along the Wapsipinicon River has long been admired for its scenic natural beauty. The hilly, heavily wooded area is divided by the river and home to many species of wildlife. Beginning as a rural picnic ground in the 1960’s, Pinicon Ridge Park has been developed into a modern recreation area - a regional destination for many outdoor enthusiasts.
There are two entrances to the park, one each on the north and south side of the Wapsipinicon River. Access to the south entrance is just off of Highway 13 on Horseshoe Falls Road. This side of the park is home to the lodges and shelters, Alexander Wildlife Exhibit, watercraft rentals & canoe trips, the landmark observation tower, hiking trails and the group camp complex.
The north entrance is accessed from Highway 13 by going west on Valley Farm Road, and turning south on Flying Squirrel Trail. You will find our main campgrounds and cabin complex on this side of the river, along with hiking trails and a hunting/dog exercise area.
Campgrounds are open from April 15 - October 15, ground conditions permitting. Pinicon Ridge Park offers campsites that range from primitive sites with no hook ups to modern sites with electricity and water. Campsites are equipped with a fire-pad and picnic table, with showers and restrooms nearby. Family campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. All campers must self-register and pay the required fee. A dumping station is available for use by campers who camped in the park. Camping discount booklets are also available from the park office and campground hosts.Firewood is available at the campground host site.
There are seven group campgrounds available by reservation at Pinicon Ridge Park. The group camps are designed for use by groups larger than 6 people and 3 camping units or more. Group campgrounds are located on the south side of the river.
Four camping cabins with varying amenities are available by reservation. All cabins have heat and air conditioning. Pintail Cabin has two bedrooms (sleeps up to 8 people); Bobwhite and Aspen cabins have a one room living area with restrooms (sleeps up to 6 people); and River Otter Cabin is a one room cabin with a pit vault restroom nearby (sleeps up to 6 people).
Lodges & Shelters
The park features Horseshoe Falls Lodge and Woodpecker Lodge. These are enclosed facilities and available all year long and can be reserved online. The park also has three reservable shelters, Eagle View, Flying Squirrel and Riverside. These shelters are open-air facilities and may be reserved from April 15 - October 15.
Activities & Attractions
The Pinicon Ridge Observation Tower is open to the public at no charge from early April through October, sunrise to sunset. At 1,028 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest points in Linn County and from the observation platform, one commands a wonderfully scenic view of the Wapsipinicon River valley and the adjoining countryside.
The Alexander Wildlife Area is a feature activity in Pinicon Ridge Park. The area is named after former Conservation Board member Dick Alexander, for his efforts in wildlife conservation and education. This 6.5 acre area was started in 1968 to further the county’s wildlife restocking efforts at that time. Species on display include mallard ducks, American elk, white-tailed deer and Canada geese. Entrance to the park and the wildlife pen is free.
The Watercraft Concession at Pinicon Ridge Park offers in-park rentals of kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats. A shuttle for a canoe-float down the Wapsipinicon River is also available.
The Watercraft Concession is open seven days a week from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. It may also be open on weekends prior to and after this period as weather and river conditions permit. Call watercraft concession at 319-438-1961 or 319-438-6616 with questions.
Flying Squirrel Trail
The trail-head for Flying Squirrel Trail is on Valley Farm Road, one mile west of Highway 13. This trail includes mixed pines and a splendid view of the river. It is 2.7 miles in length, has some hills, and takes about 2 hours to walk. This area is open to hunting during the appropriate seasons.
White Oak Trail
The trail-head is located near the river just past the boat ramp. The trail uses the group camp road for a short distance and connects the group campgrounds with the day use part of the park. The trail is approximately 1.8 miles long and takes approximately 2 hours to walk. The trail traverses heavily wooded hills and valleys.
Woodpecker Hill Trail
The trail-head is near the parking area located at the top of Woodpecker Hill. The trail is about 1.7 miles in length and takes about 45 minutes to walk. The trail, which has some hills, features a unique limestone outcropping located in the valley of the forest and a small water cascade known locally as "the Horseshoe Falls".
Wapsi-River Nature Trail
Beginning in the Plains Campground, this trail is 2 miles in length and takes about 1.5 hours to walk. This trail connects with the Central City Trail - providing a great access to the City of Central City. When the campground closes in the fall, this trail is expanded through Flying Squirrel Campground. Parking is available near the Watercraft Concession and extends across the mary Lundby Bridge.
This trail is open from December 1 until April 1, weather and ground conditions permitting (1" or more of snow cover required). It is .88 miles in length and follows the main road through the park. Snowmobiles must follow trail markers and stay on the trail at all times. Speed limit on the trail is 15 m.p.h.