Elk Rock State Park located in Knoxville, Iowa is located about an hour southeast of Des Moines, Iowa. It was the perfect little 1/2 day trip full of hiking, splashing, and tons of birds to see. We also packed a picnic to enjoy after our hike.
Name: Elk Rock State Park
Address: 811 146th Avenue Knoxville, Iowa 50138
Type: Places to visit, place to hike
Shelter: One open shelter
Water: Yes, lake
Other notes: Boating, fishing, and swimming. Located on Iowa’s largest lake, Red Rock Lake. Camping and if you own horses they offer an equestrian campground.
Official Website: https://www.iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Iowa-State-Parks/ParkDetails/ParkID/610155
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Elk Rock State Park is a wonderful place to hike and offers three different walking trails/equestrian trails. When we visited we did not realize what trail we had taken. We just headed towards the water because the kids wanted to splash and play.
When we finished we discovered we had taken the ‘yellow’ route above which is a 4.0-mile trail and is the trail that gets closest to the water of Red Rock Lake. Although the trail does not lead directly to the water, we created our own trail climbed over lots of sticks to get to the beach area.
This trail provided tons of shade and we saw a lot of different birds! There were also a lot of trees to climb on and over on our route.
At the time of this trip, Elk Rock State Park was closed for camping and playing on the playground due to COVID-19, but trails, boating, and fishing were still available. It was very quiet when we visited and perfect for following social distancing.
When we entered the park we drove all the way through where the camping area and equestrian campground are located. This is where we parked and accessed the trail. This is also where they offer areas for horses and a fun playground. The kids cannot wait to return to play on the playground.