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.

Pinicon Ridge Park Map (PDF)

Pinicon Ridge Park Brochure (PDF)

Pinicon Ridge Park and all its beauty (video)



Family Camping

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.  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.

  • All campers must self-register and pay the required Camping Fee (PDF).
  • Take a Virtual Tour of the campgrounds available at Pinicon Ridge Park.
  • Visit our Camping Webpage to learn more about Pinicon Ridge Park campgrounds and other Linn County Conservation camping opportunities.

Group Camping

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.

Book your group camping reservation online for Pinicon Ridge Park.

Camping Cabins

Four camping cabins with varying amenities are available by are online reservation system at  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).

Book your camping cabin reservation online for Pinicon Ridge Park.

Lodges & Shelters

The park features Horseshoe Falls Lodge and Woodpecker Lodge. These are enclosed facilities and available all year long. 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.

Book your lodge or shelter reservation online for Pinicon Ridge Park.

Activities & Attractions

Observation Tower

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.

Alexander Wildlife Area

Opened in 1968 after former Conservation Board member Dick Alexander for his efforts in wildlife conservation and education, this 6.5 acre area features American elk, a species once common in Iowa prior to the 20th century.

Watercraft Concession paddleboat at Pinicon Ridge Park

The Watercraft Concession at Pinicon Ridge Park offers in-park rentals of kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats during the summer months.  A shuttle for a canoe float down the Wapsipinicon River is also available. 

Visit our Watercraft Concession page to learn more about In-Park Rentals and Canoe Shuttles.


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 TrailPinicon Ridge Park 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.