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Lacey-Keosauqua State Park

Keosauqua, IA 52565

Bordering the great "horseshoe bend" of the Des Moines River lies the quiet beauty of the flowers, shrubs and timber within Lacey Keosauqua State Park . . . one of the largest and most picturesque of Iowa's state parks and recreation areas. The park's 1,653 acres of hills, bluffs and valleys wind along the Des Moines River in Van Buren County.

During the middle of the last century, the great Mormon trek westward across Iowa occurred. Ely Ford, now the site of a beautiful picnic area, was a river crossing point. It is now a component of the Mormon Pioneer Trail.

Originally, named "Big Bend" Park, the name was changed to "Keosauqua" Park when it was dedicated in 1921 . . . thought to be a more "colorful" name. Later it was changed to Lacey-Keosauqua in honor of Major John Fletcher Lacey who fought in the Civil War, was a member of the Iowa House and a member of the United States Congress.

Download a comprehensive study of Lacey-Keosauqua State Park completed by the Iowa Geological Society of Iowa in 2004.

The historic stone structures within the park were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Depression Era. It was added to the National Register of HIstoric Places in 1990.

Recently, a bronze statue, the first in Iowa, was erected honoring the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was created by Franklin D. Roosevelt to put thousands of young men to work during the Depression of 1930 and early 1940. The CCC crews built over 24 projects at the park including the lake, trails, the park ranger home, the lodge and of course the 110 steps from the bath house to the lake.

The Stone Lodge, lake bath house and bridges are constructed from 325  million year old  gray limestone of the Pella Formation quarried within the park from ledges exposed along Wesley Creek.  Picnic shelters and park residence are built of brown dolomite of the St. Louis Formation taken from quarries west of the park along Chequest Creek.

Indian Mounds

A series of 19 mounds overlook the Des Moines River in the northwest section of the park. These were built by an ancient group of Woodland Culture Indians in order to bury their dead. Such mounds are usually found on hilltops overlooking river valleys.


The park's hiking trails wind among the valleys and cliffs along the Des Moines River. On the trails, it is often possible to see many types of wildlife including deer, raccoons, opossums, gray squirrels, red foxes, and numerous species of birdlife in Van Buren County. The variety of plants, trees and shrubs, many of them more than 200 years old, make hiking at Lacey an exciting and educational experience.


Camping facitilites include 65 campsites, 51 with electricity, modern restrooms, shower house, and dump station. There are also several picnic shelters/areas throughout the park are available to rent.  Pets allowed.

The campground will remain closed through May 15, 2019, due to resurfacing the roadway in the campground. After May 15th, there might be work being done to the campground roadway on Mondays - Thursdays through June 30, 2019. Traffic will be allowed to enter and leave the campground, but there could be delays

Cabins and Lodge

Lacey-Keosauqua State Park offers six family cabins. These are available for reservations through the park ranger. Cabins provide all of the comforts of home while bringing visitors a great outdoor experience. All cabins include modern facilities.

2019 Rates:  Cabins - $50 a night; Lodge - $70 a day; Shelters - $25 a day. The Beach House Lodge is available for $70 a day. ?Online Reservations or call 877-427-2757


Lacey-Keosauqua is a wonderful place for a family cook-out. It is one of the prettiest parks where you can get together and enjoy a meal in the outdoors. Two open picnic shelters are available and may be reserved for a fee through the park ranger.

Fishing, Boating & Swimming

The picturesque 30-acre lake is a favorite spot for swimmers during the summer. The beach is open during the summer however there is not a lifeguard on duty. There is no admission fee to use the beach. A boat ramp provides easy access to the lake. Boating is limited to electric motors only. The lake is popular with fisherman as is the scenic Des Moines River which runs the length of the park.