Iowa Boondocking?

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by Hult250r, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Hult250r

    Hult250r New Member

    Jul 3, 2011
    New to post to the site but have been lurking for awhile.
    I got my new to me Palomino Pinto earlier this year.
    Been to a few CG's but true boondocking is what Im looking forward to.
    Been a tent camper all 31 years of my life so the pup thing is a little new to me. Ive boondocked at ATV riding parks with it quite a few times already so I know the basics and what to expect.

    Im looking for good boondocking sites in Iowa. Mainly eastern Iowa so I dont have to travel too far.
    Im in the Quad Cities, right on the Iowa/Illinois border.

    I know of a couple primitive sites near Manchester Iowa (Fountain Springs) by the trout streams but there is still quite a bit of foot traffic through them.
    Im wondering of anyone knows of any decently secluded sites the Weimaraner and I can go hang out for the weekend?

  2. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane I'd rather be camping

    Jul 3, 2008
    Sorry to say, but unless you own a piece of secluded property, you are not likely to find anywhere in Iowa to boondock. All the state parks and forests that I know about will only let you use your camper in their campgrounds, not out in the wilder parts of the property.
  3. Hult250r

    Hult250r New Member

    Jul 3, 2011
    Is there any fairly "out of the way" CGs around?
    Or any with more secluded campsites?

    Ive been online looking but its hard to know what "Primitive" is at each CG without visiting it.
  4. lbcarr87

    lbcarr87 New Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    We have a county park, near by here, on the western side of Iowa, Little Sioux Park, Woodbury County, IA. It's primitive sites are not quite what I would call true boondocking but they are also not any where near the giant RV's and they are set in a heavily wooded section of the campgrounds. We stayed in these sites for years when we first got our pop up.
    We still had access to some of the amenities at the campground but battery power at the site, for some lights and the water pump, was all we needed. Then the DD became a teen and needed her blow dryer and the DW wanted AC so now we stay in mostly elecric sites, which is still better than not camping at all.
    Some of our best camping memories and stories are from staying in those more secluded sites. Due to overcrowding in the other areas I'm strongly considering going back to a more primitive site.
    You may want to look for county parks in your area. State parks tend to get more funding and amenities which result in higher traffic and larger crowds.
    Good luck
  5. Hult250r

    Hult250r New Member

    Jul 3, 2011
    Lbcarr87- that's exactly what I was looking for if I can't find a true boondocking site.
    Somewhere away from most people. Hopefully far enough away so that if Duncan the weimaraner decides to bark at a squirrel or at things that go bump in the night they won't be too unhappy lol.
  6. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

    Feb 9, 2011
    Good luck with your search.....if Iowa is anything like I remember Nebraska being when I was a kiddo, boondocking could be hard to come by as there isn't a whole lot of public land that isn't a state park, etc.

    I feel very fortunate to live out west where we have an abundance of National Forests and BLM land for boondocking. Unfortunately, it is often not quite as isolated and secluded as I would really like....but far more so than even a basic forest service CG. But most of the boondocking areas I've been here are pretty well traficked as boondocking (dispersed camping) is far more popular than one would think just looking at this forum. But at least my neighbors are about 1/4 mile away usually.

    Good luck and happy [CP]
  7. BillNH60

    BillNH60 a bad day camping is just better than working

    Jun 11, 2011
    Unfortunately boondocking in NE requires that you either own the land, know the owner, or take the PUP on your back up a mountain LOL. I don"t know anyone that strong, anyway there is no good flat ground up there for the PUP when you get there.
  8. Harvardroger

    Harvardroger If it feels good, do it! If it hurts, Stop!

    Sep 5, 2011
    Not really boon docking, but Nelson Dewy WI State Park is not too far from you. Tent camped there a few times. Usually not too busy. Great views of the Mississippi river. It is just outside Cassville, WI.
  9. Dback2k4

    Dback2k4 Active Member

    Jul 16, 2017
    I realize this is a very old thread, but I've been recently searching for boondocking in Iowa. With no federal public land, it's a difficult find. I found this link:
    from 2015 that seems to indicate the Iowa DNR allows some boondocking in wildlife management areas. From what I've seen, the State Parks and State Forests only allow camping in established campgrounds, same as most County Parks that I've looked into.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
  10. Djo

    Djo Member

    Feb 3, 2014
    Iowa has the least public land per capital of any state. None the less there are Wildlife Management Areas in just about every county and you can camp in them. These are open land with no picnic tables, outhouses, or fire pits.
    County by county details are available at

    Do note that these sites also provide the only public hunting areas in the state and with hunting seasons fast approaching might want to keep our head down.

  11. tdiller

    tdiller Active Member

    Aug 25, 2016
    Quad Cities is not that far from southern Illinois (Shawnee National Forest) or Missouri (Mark Twain National Forest). I'm on Northern Illinois and those are weekend trips for me.

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