Attention: Use of facility for political events or activities is prohibited.

COTTONWOOD RECREATION AREA, IA

Cottonwood Recreation Area is a day-use facility located in the tailwater area below Saylorville Dam. The 26,000-acre Saylorville Lake Project stretches over 50 miles up the Des Moines River Valley. The lake provides a wide variety of recreational activities, including boating, swimming, fishing...

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Overview

Cottonwood Recreation Area is a day-use facility located in the tailwater area below Saylorville Dam. The 26,000-acre Saylorville Lake Project stretches over 50 miles up the Des Moines River Valley. The lake provides a wide variety of recreational activities, including boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and hunting.

Natural Features:

Cottonwood covers a large open and flat lowland area bordering the east side of the Des Moines River.

Wildlife is abundant throughout the project. White-tailed deer, turkeys, pheasants, waterfowl, and other small game animals roam the lands around the lake.

Recreation:

Visitors come to Saylorville Lake for its great boating, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing and swimming opportunities. Anglers fish for walleye, wiper, largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and northern pike.

The paved Neal Smith Trail winds 24 miles from Des Moines to Big Creek State Park and connects the campgrounds on the east side of the lake. It is designated as a National Recreation Trail and is used for biking, hiking, jogging, walking and in-line skating.

Facilities:

The day-use area offers nine group picnic areas with water and electric hookups. Amenities include flush toilets, a volleyball court, playground and hiking trails.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Fishing Dock
  • Accessible Playground
  • Biking
  • Electric Hookups
  • Fish Cleaning Stations
  • Fishing
  • Grills
  • Hiking
  • Playground
  • Volleyball Courts
  • Wildlife Viewing
Less Than 1 Mile
  • Boat Ramp
Know Before You Go
  • No amplified sound system without a permit
  • If shelters are not reserved, they are available free of charge on a first come, first served basis
  • Playgrounds and restrooms near shelters are open to the public
  • Click here for more information
  • Click here for a virtual tour of the Saylorville Lake area.


Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

COTTONWOOD RECREATION AREA
7400 NW 37th Street
Ankeny  IA  50223

Phone Number:

Project Office: (515)276-4656