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Lake Darling was dedicated in 1950 and named after J.N. "Ding" Darling, a champion of conservation and editorial cartoonist for the Des Moines Register. Through his efforts, the conservation movement was fostered in Iowa.

Lake Darling State Park is a great place for a family cookout. A number of scenic picnic areas overlook the lake. Two open picnic shelters are available for reservations.

The new day-use lodge is reservable and is a popular place for reunions, parties and weddings

Camping cabins are reserved for a two night minimum stay. The cabins sleep four and are equipped with a microwave, dorm-size refrigerator, twin bunk bed, futon and table with chairs. They are located only a short distance from the modern restroom and shower building in the campground.

Six newly constructed, year-round cabins are now available for reservation. These two bedroom cabins have queen sized beds, a table and chairs, and a futon. Each kitchen contains basic appliances, including a refrigerator, a microwave, a stove, and a toaster. All of the cabins have a restroom with a shower. Each cabin has a large deck with four Adirondack style chairs. Cabin users should bring their own bedding, towels, and any other camping supplies.

Lake Darling State Park has a large well equipped campground featuring full hook-up (sewer/water/electric), electric and non-electric sites with modern shower and restroom facilities. The campground has a playground as well as a conveniently located dump station.

Hikers find plenty of opportunity at Lake Darling State Park. Several trails are present and hikers will see a variety of plant, animal and bird species. A 13.6 mile trail encircles the entire lake. If you plan to walk the entire trail, please take water and sunscreen. The trail takes you through a variety of habitats, from wetland areas around the fringes of the lake, through successional woodlands and remnants of native prairie to a cemetery dating back to the 1800s. The trail is a combination of grass and crushed rock and is open to hikers, runners, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers

Lake Activities
The beach at Lake Darling is a fun spot for swimmers and sunbathers, young and old.

Lake Darling is a popular boating lake for both power and non-power boats. Any size motor may be operated at "no wake" speeds. Two boat ramps are located around the lake for convenient lake access. Anglers without boats may rent them from the boat house located between the two shelters.

Lake Darling is an angler's delight. Catfish and crappies are the most prevalent catch for most anglers. However, bullheads, bluegills, largemouth bass, and carp are also plentiful.

Nearby Towns
Brighton is three miles east of the park, Richland is five miles west, Washington is fourteen miles northeast on Highway 1, and Fairfield is seventeen miles southwest on Highway 34.
Concessions: Friends of Lake Darling Boat Rental
Memorial Day weekend thru Labor Day weekend; Friday thru Sundays, and holidays, 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Paddle boats, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, single kayaks, double kayaks. Can accommodate businesses or groups for special events.

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