Entering Lake Wapello State Park off Eagle Avenue you’re likely to see several deer as you drive along Campground Road. Lake Wapello State Park is on your left as well as a sturdy fishing pier with parking nearby. Campground Road will take you to a unique 1930’s stone and timber beach lodge. The lodge has a swimming beach, boat ramp, food, bait, boat rentals and restrooms available to the public. Further down the road are 14 well maintained family cabins. The cabins are said to sleep four comfortably and can be reserved online. Continue past the cabins and you will find a campground and boat ramp.
On the southeast side of the lake is Smith Knoll Shelter. The shelter is a charming old structure in varying states of decay. This area is popular for weddings and picnics.
There are approximately 7 miles of trail around the lake. You will undoubtedly see wild life while hiking. The trails take you through prairie, woodland and near wetland areas. Elevation gain is minimal which makes for a pleasant hike.
The campground is in decent shape and offers many shaded spots. Much of the campground is terraced into the side of a hill that overlooks the lake. Many camp sites are not level; however, you can find the slope of each site at the Online Reservation System. Larger RVs may find the turns in the campground little tight but manageable. Camp sites south of the parking lot are constructed of crushed stone. Sites north of the parking lot are grass and more suitable for tents.
The campground has excellent access to the water and offers good fishing along the shoreline. A modern paved boat ramp and dock can be located by following the campground road down to the water.
The restrooms and showers are in adequate condition and located in the center of the campground. The play-ground is also in a centralized location and can be seen from many campsites nearby.
Access to the dump station is excellent and campers will find it easy to pull through.
Lake Wapello State Park is a scenic and pleasant place to spend a weekend. The parks strong points are fishing, wildlife viewing, camping and the family cabins. This state park is off the beaten path which makes it a quiet refuge in southern Iowa.
LOOKING FORWARD TO CAMPING HERE NEXT WEEKEND. LOOKS SUPER. IT WILL BE OUR FIRST TIME THERE. AND, HOPE NOT THE LAST…IT’S A 3 DAY WEEKEND AHEAD.
Oh man, hope the weekend went well. We’ve had some beautiful camping days this summer. Lake Wapello always bring good memories for me.
Presently camping at Lake Wapello… changes make it unrecognizable compared to your pictures of only a few years ago. There are only 3 trees in the “middle” of the campground, so very little shade. The Smith Knoll shelter has been left to go wild and is overgrown with vines and weeds. The swings remain of the playset shown and two days before the 4th of July, the beach and lodge were deserted, with a lone bait vendor rolling up a window for sales on the lower level of the lodge. It’s kind of tragic, actually, and I don’t think I would have realized that without your pictures.
That is such a shame! I will try to get down there and take some before and after photos. – Thanks
Do you have any cabins available for rent for the 1st and 2nd of July and if so how much to rent one?
Iowa Parklands is not affiliated with the Iowa DNR. You can reserve cabins at https://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/ Enjoy your stay. 🙂