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Big Creek State Park is one of the most beautiful recreation areas in central Iowa. Whether you are boating, fishing, swimming, hunting or enjoying any of the many other outdoor activities this park and the adjacent federal and county parks provide, you are sure to enjoy your stay.

This state park is a wildlife refuge and hunting is not permitted. Hunting is allowed on the lake and in designated public hunting areas around the lake. The Charles Butch Olofson Shooting Range (515-795-2067) offering rifle, handgun, trap and skeet,and hunter safety classes is located 3 miles west of the park off of NW Madrid Drive.

Lake Activities
The Big Creek beach area provides 1,300 feet of swimming opportunity with a large playground, volleyball courts, open areas, and shelter and picnic sites. The beach concession and boat rental (515-984-6083) is one of the finest concessions in the state offering pontoons, fishing boats, sailboats, canoes, hydra bikes, paddleboats, kayaks and bicycle rental. The concession also offers food, bait, fishing tackle and license sales. Dry dock storage is also available near the beach.

Big Creek Lake provides excellent fishing year-round. The lake's clear waters are stocked with crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish and muskie. The lake is popular for a variety of boating activities. Any size motor may be operated at no wake speeds on the lake. Five modern boat ramps, three on the west side and two on the east, provide excellent access to the lake. Sailboat rigging zones and vehicle parking areas are at each modern boat ramp. An 88-berth dry dock area is at the northeast corner of the park. Arrangements for rental of dry-docking space may be made through the park office. A fishing pier is accessible to the mobility impaired. The lake is a wake speed lake.

Big Creek has a concessionaire that offers pontoon boats, kayaks, paddle boards, bicycles, and more. To contact the concessionaire call 515-984-6083 or email them at bigcreekmarina.com.

A 26 mile paved multi-use trail allows bicyclists and pedestrians to travel from the beach south through the Saylorville Lake area and Des Moines River Valley, ending in Des Moines. For winter fun, there is an 11 mile snowmobile trail circling the lake and several groomed cross-country ski trails in the Hampton picnic area.

The Central State Park Bike Route is a 91 mile route which connects Big Creek State Park, Ledges State Park and Springbrook State Park. It is relatively flat, with a few challenging hills as you make your way across the valleys of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers.
There is no camping at Big Creek State Park.

Thirteen open picnic shelters are located around the park are very popular for family gatherings, graduation parties, and birthday parties.
Nearby Attractions
Local Event/Attractions
The parks hosts a number of events throughout the summer: Disc Golf Tournaments (May/July), Best Dam Bike Ride (June), Special Person Fishing Days (June), Model Air Contest (May/August), Regional Big Creek Triathlon (August), Cy-Man Triathlon (September), Big Creek Fall Bike Ride (September), Super Plunge/Polar Plunge (November), and several fishing tournaments. All events provide competition, fun and entertainment.

Nearby Towns

Polk City is 2 miles south on NW Madrid Drive. Des Moines is 11 miles south. Ankeny is 8 miles southeast. Madrid is 7 miles north. Ames is 20 miles north.

Usually open in mid-April depending on weather and close mid-October; open 7 days a week; during full operation starting late May 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM Monday-Friday, weekends and holidays 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM; off-season hours posted at the building or by calling. Rentals include 30 pontoons, 6 sailboats, 16 fishing boats, 11 canoes, 16 paddle boats, 20 kayaks, 20 stand-up paddle boards, 4 electric boats and 8 bicycles. Information on rentals also available at www.bigcreekmarina.com For sale on site: bait (worms, minnows and leeches), snacks and drinks, and on some weekends grilled food.

Big Creek State Park camping trips are easy to plan with ReserveAmerica. Big Creek State Park campground reservations can be made online. Click one of the links below to see available campsites at Big Creek State Park or day pass availability.