Wanatee Park, a 998 acre park at 1600 Banner Drive, Marion, is located on the corner of Highway 13 and Highway 100. The park offers opportunities for picnicking, camping, winter activities, nature study and more. Wanatee Park is named after Adeline Wanatee (1910-1996), an artist and advocate for Native American and women's rights, and a 1993 Iowa Women's Hall of Fame honoree. A variety of wildlife and the proximity to the metropolitan area makes Wanatee Park a popular destination for outdoor recreation. The name of the park was changed to Wanatee Park in the fall of 2020.
Wanatee Park offers 69 campsites with a modern, state-of-the-art restroom and shower facility. Campgrounds are usually open April 15 to October 15, ground conditions permitting. The Wanatee Park Campground is divided into two camping areas: A Loop and B Loop. A Loop at Wanatee Park is the only family campground in the Linn County Park system that allows advanced reservations. There are two sanitary dumping stations nearby.
A Loop Sites are reservable 5 days to 1 year in advance. Make a reservation.
B Loop Sites are first come, first serve.
- All campers must self register and pay the required Camping Fee
- Take a Virtual Tour of the campground at Wanatee Park.
Wanatee Park Trail
A four mile trail winds through a variety of vegetation types ranging from open meadows to brushy creek bottoms to mature timber. Users have the opportunity to enjoy the solitude of a hike in the woods while viewing wildflowers and abundant wildlife. The trail is popular for hiking, horseback riding, nature study, running and cross country skiing. This trail is closed annually from October 1 to January 10, due in part to the anterless deer managed bow hunt annually designated in this area.
April 2022 - Some trails are closed in the upper Wanatee Park area. 1) Due to safety reasons on the trail surfaces and with heavy equipment in use, the multi-use trails have limited access until early summer due to a water quality project underway. The trails are closed for equestrian use. The heavy equipment is in use during intermittent times to restore and stabilize eroding tributaries of Wanatee Creek. 2) Some sections of the single-track (mountain bike) trails are still closed due to derecho damage with trail reconstruction and rerouting taking place soon. Trail closures are marked on site.
The trail system includes a mountain biking system, developed and managed by Linn Area Mountain Biking Association (LAMBA), and equestrian-friendly trails.
Lodges & Shelters
The park has two enclosed lodges and one open air shelter. Prairie Oak Lodge offers approximately 4,000 square feet of floor space. Red Cedar Lodge offers approximately 2,000 square feet of floor space. Meadowlark Shelter has nearby outdoor recreation opportunities including trails, playgrounds, picnic tables and grills.