Backbone State Park, IA

Backbone State Park was dedicated in 1920. It was Iowa's first state park and remains one of the most geographically unique. Backbone is named for the steep and narrow ridge of bedrock cut by a loop of the Maquoketa River and forming the highest point in northeast Iowa - the...
Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
Max reservation window: Thu Nov 27 2014   Later Dates

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Alerts and Important Information
Park staff generally try to have the water on and shower buildings open by mid April. Park staff generally start closing down shower buildings and turning off water around mid-October. If you are interested in camping this park and wish to know if the shower buildings are open and the water is on, please contact the park directly.
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Auditorium Day-use Lodge 200 Accessible
Electric Hookup - no Full Hookup - no
Pets Allowed - no Near Water - no
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 4
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 4
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 4
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 4
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 4
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 4
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 4
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 4
Pets Allowed - no
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Deluxe 9 Accessible
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Deluxe 9 Accessible
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Deluxe 9 Accessible
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Deluxe 9 Accessible
Pets Allowed - no
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 6 Accessible
Pets Allowed - no
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 6 Accessible
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 6 Accessible
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Backbone Cabins Family Cabins Modern 6 Accessible
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Backbone Shelters Shelters 50
Electric Hookup - no Full Hookup - no
Pets Allowed - no Near Water - no
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Backbone Shelters Shelters 75
Electric Hookup - no Full Hookup - no
Pets Allowed - no Near Water - no
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Backbone Shelters Shelters 50
Electric Hookup - no Full Hookup - no
Pets Allowed - no Near Water - no
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Backbone Shelters Shelters 75
Electric Hookup - no Full Hookup - no
Pets Allowed - no Near Water - no
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Backbone Shelters Shelters 75
Electric Hookup - no Full Hookup - no
Pets Allowed - no Near Water - no
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Beach Lodge Day-use Lodge 125 Accessible
Electric Hookup - no Full Hookup - no
Pets Allowed - no Near Water - no
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Six Pines Campground Standard Non-Electric 6 Back-In
Electric Hookup - no Full Hookup - no
Pets Allowed Near Water - no
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Six Pines Campground Tent Only 6 Back-In
Electric Hookup - no Full Hookup - no
Pets Allowed Near Water - no
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Footnotes: (applicable only where specifically marked above)
** Arrival dates earlier than the online-reservation-window may also be available at the campground.
*** Some sites may be available only from the campground on a first-come-first-served basis.
Photos
Photo: Backbone State Park Photo: Backbone State Park Photo: Backbone State Park Photo: Backbone State Park Photo: Backbone State Park Photo: Backbone State Park
Overview

Description

Backbone State Park was dedicated in 1920. It was Iowa's first state park and remains one of the most geographically unique. Backbone is named for the steep and narrow ridge of bedrock cut by a loop of the Maquoketa River and forming the highest point in northeast Iowa - the Devil's Backbone. If you enjoy bicycling, boating, camping, climbing, fishing, hiking, picknicking or if you want to take a walk back in time to the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps, this is the place for you.

Take some time to investigate the unique masonry work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), including dams on the Maquoketa River forming Backbone Lake, a cluster of rustic family cabins, beach building and boat house, an auditorium, bridges, roads, picnic shelters, restrooms and trails. In addition, take a nostalgic walk back in time by visiting the CCC Museum located just within the park's west gate. The museum is open on weekends, Memorial Day through Labor Day and by special arrangement through the park office.

Recreation:

Trails
While visiting, take advantage of the rugged and winding 21-mile multi-use trail system. During warmer weather, hike along twisted and windblown cedars and up rough, rocky staircases. In the winter, take advantage of the exclusive snowmobiling and /or cross-country skiing opportunities the trails offer.
If mountain biking is your pleasure, the designated trails of Barred Owl, Bluebird, East Lake and West Lake offer a robust trek through picturesque natural beauty.

Rock Climbing
Climbers and rappellers will find many challenges at Backbone with its cliffs of rugged dolomite limestone throughout the park. The most popular climbing spots are located near the popular Backbone Trail. Climbers must register at the park office.

Bicycling
The Northeast State Park Bike Route is a 130 mile route which connects Backbone State Park, Wapsipinicon State Park, and Pikes Peak State Park utilizing county highways.

Fishing
If trout fishing is your passion, you're in the right place. Backbone is well known for its exceptional trout fishing. Backbone's cold, clear, quick-flowing stream is fed by Richmond Springs, which pumps more than 2,000 gallons per minute and is located near the north end of the park. A variety of shady and universally accessible trails (portions paved) are available for enthusiastic anglers looking for their "secret spot." Only electric trolling motors are allowed on the lake.

Facilities:

Backbone is a great vacation destination with several overnight accommodation options, including several campsites, within two campgrounds, and many different modern cabins to reserve. A boathouse for renting boats and a swimming beach as well as a concession stand are all located near the southeast end of the lake.

Cabins
Modern two-bedroom and one-bedroom cabins are available and are equipped with heating and air conditioning.

Camping
There are two campgrounds. The South Lake Campground, which contains both electric and non-electric sites as well as two shower buildings, a playground and a dump station and the Six Pine Campground, near the west entrance of the park, contains non-electric sites and pit latrines.

Picknicking/Shelters/Lodge
Backbone is a beautiful place for a family picnic. Several open shelters and the auditorium may be reserved. Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Stone Lodge, overlooking the lake, may be rented for a number of events including family reunions, weddings and other large gatherings.

Nearby Attractions:

Backbone State Park is located three miles south of Strawberry Point in northwestern Delaware County. Dundee lies one mile to the south and Lamont 5 miles to the west.

Booking Window

Day-use Lodge

Sun Aug 31 2014 - Thu Aug 27 2015

Reservations must be made 4 Days(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 12 Month(s) in advance.

Family Cabins Deluxe

Sun Aug 31 2014 - Thu Aug 27 2015

Reservations must be made 4 Days(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 12 Month(s) in advance.

Family Cabins Modern

Sun Aug 31 2014 - Thu Aug 27 2015

Reservations must be made 4 Days(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 12 Month(s) in advance.

Shelters

Sun Aug 31 2014 - Thu Aug 27 2015

Reservations must be made 4 Days(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 12 Month(s) in advance.

Standard Electric

Fri Aug 29 2014 - Thu Nov 27 2014

Reservations must be made 2 Days(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 3 Month(s) in advance.

Standard Full Hook-Up

Fri Aug 29 2014 - Thu Nov 27 2014

Reservations must be made 2 Days(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 3 Month(s) in advance.

Standard Non-Electric

Fri Aug 29 2014 - Thu Nov 27 2014

Reservations must be made 2 Days(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 3 Month(s) in advance.

Tent Only

Fri Aug 29 2014 - Thu Nov 27 2014

Reservations must be made 2 Days(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 3 Month(s) in advance.

Youth Group Only

Fri Aug 29 2014 - Thu Nov 27 2014

Reservations must be made 2 Days(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 3 Month(s) in advance.

Season Dates
Beach Lodge: May 1 - October 15

Cabins A-D and 9-12: Open Year-Round



Season Schedule

Park Season Start End
Peak Thu May 01 2014 Tue Sep 30 2014
Off Peak Wed Oct 01 2014 Fri Oct 31 2014
Walk In Sat Nov 01 2014 Wed Dec 31 2014
Walk In Thu Jan 01 2015 Tue Mar 31 2015
Off Peak Wed Apr 01 2015 Thu Apr 30 2015
Peak Fri May 01 2015 Wed Sep 30 2015
Services and Amenities
Within Facility
  • Bait
  • Bird Watching
  • Boat Launch Ramp
  • Boat Rental
  • Cabins
  • Canoeing
  • Concession
  • Dump Station
  • Firewood Sales
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Modern Restroom
  • Mountain Biking
  • Museum
  • PARK LAKE
  • PICNIC AREA
  • Park Office
  • Parking
  • Playground
  • RESTROOMS
  • River
  • Rock Climbing
  • Showers
  • Snowmobiling
  • Swimming - Beach
  • Toilet, Pit/Vault
  • Trash Dumpster
  • Water Hydrants
  • Wildlife Viewing
Less Than 1 Mile
  • Hunting
Greater Than 1 Mile
  • Golf
  • Motel
  • Town
Within 10 Miles
  • CHURCH
Greater Than 10 Miles
  • Hospital
  • Medical Clinic
Local Attractions
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Fees and Cancellation Policies

Facility Rates*
Park Season Site Type Nightly/Daily Rates
Peak Season
May 01 2014 -
Sep 30 2014
Youth Group Only $15.00
Tent Only $9.00-$11.00
Standard Non-Electric $11.00
Standard Full Hook-Up $19.00
Standard Electric $16.00
Shelters $25.00
Family Cabins Modern $50.00-$85.00
($300.00-$510.00 Weekly**)
Family Cabins Deluxe $100.00
($600.00 Weekly**)
Day-use Lodge $25.00-$125.00
Off Peak Season
Oct 01 2014 -
Oct 31 2014
Youth Group Only $15.00
Tent Only $6.00
Standard Non-Electric $6.00
Standard Full Hook-Up $14.00
Standard Electric $11.00
Shelters $25.00
Family Cabins Modern $50.00-$85.00
($300.00-$510.00 Weekly**)
Family Cabins Deluxe $100.00
($600.00 Weekly**)
Day-use Lodge $25.00-$125.00
Walk In Season
Nov 01 2014 -
Dec 31 2014
Youth Group Only $15.00
Tent Only $6.00
Standard Non-Electric $6.00
Standard Full Hook-Up $14.00
Standard Electric $11.00
Shelters $25.00
Family Cabins Modern $50.00-$85.00
($300.00-$510.00 Weekly**)
Family Cabins Deluxe $100.00
($600.00 Weekly**)
Day-use Lodge $25.00-$125.00
Walk In Season
Jan 01 2015 -
Mar 31 2015
Youth Group Only $15.00
Tent Only $6.00
Standard Non-Electric $6.00
Standard Full Hook-Up $14.00
Standard Electric $11.00
Shelters $25.00
Family Cabins Modern $50.00-$85.00
($300.00-$510.00 Weekly**)
Family Cabins Deluxe $100.00
($600.00 Weekly**)
Day-use Lodge $25.00-$125.00
Off Peak Season
Apr 01 2015 -
Apr 30 2015
Youth Group Only $15.00
Tent Only $6.00
Standard Non-Electric $6.00
Standard Full Hook-Up $14.00
Standard Electric $11.00
Shelters $25.00
Family Cabins Modern $50.00-$85.00
($300.00-$510.00 Weekly**)
Family Cabins Deluxe $100.00
($600.00 Weekly**)
Day-use Lodge $25.00-$125.00
Peak Season
May 01 2015 -
Sep 30 2015
Youth Group Only $15.00
Tent Only $9.00-$11.00
Standard Non-Electric $11.00
Standard Full Hook-Up $19.00
Standard Electric $16.00
Shelters $25.00
Family Cabins Modern $50.00-$85.00
($300.00-$510.00 Weekly**)
Family Cabins Deluxe $100.00
($600.00 Weekly**)
Day-use Lodge $25.00-$125.00

*Displayed rates do not reflect discounts, attribute fees (electrical hook-ups / water hook-ups), taxes or incremental charges
**Weekly rates may not be available for all sites
Getting There
GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
42.61583, -91.55944
42°36'57"N, 91°33'34"W

To the South Gate Entrance South Lake Campground, Cabins, Beach, Office 1.3 miles north out of Dundee on W69.

To East Gate Entrance Backbone trail head and picnic area's 1.5 miles north on W69 from South Gate Entrance.

To the West Gate Entrance Six Pines Campground, CCC Museum and picnic areas take 187 North from Hwy 20 to C57, Take C57 5 miles East to park entrance.

North Gate Entrance Richmond Springs, Auditorium and picnic areas take Hwy 3 East from Strawberry Point. Go North on W68 to North Gate Approximately 2 miles.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Backbone State Park
1282 120th St
Strawberry Point  IA  52076

Phone Number:

Information:  (563) 924-2000
Walk-in cabin rental questions should be directed to the park concession operator Kelly Peterman at 563/933-2273.

Additional Information