Lake Darling State Park

Quick Facts

Lake Darling State Park

Iowa

(319) 694-2323

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Lake Darling State Park is 1,417 acres in size, including a beautiful 302-acre lake with almost 18 miles of shoreline. The park, with its beautiful wooded hills and valleys and lovely lake, offers something for outdoor recreation enthusiasts, young and old.

Reserve a camping cabin overlooking the lake for a cozy getaway. Hiking trails winding through the park lead visitors past a variety of plants, animals and birds. For the wildflower lover, a trail takes hikers through a re-established prairie. Tell your best ghost story as you move through heavily wooded timber to a cemetery dating back to the 1800s.

Soak up the sun and relax on the beach or take to the water for a swim. Bring a boat or rent one from park concession to enjoy sunlight sparkling off the lake as you leisurely drift along.

Lake Darling State Park was dedicated on September 17, 1950. J. N. "Ding" Darling, for whom the park was named, "set the gate," a ceremony in which an honored guest closes the valve on the spillway, completing the impoundment process. Ding Darling was the editorial cartoonist of the Des Moines Register and was a champion of conservation during the early part of this century. Through his efforts, the conservation movement was fostered in Iowa. In recognition of his contributions, Lake Darling State Park was named in his honor.

Map of Lake Darling (IA)

Latitude, Longitude: 41.190096, -91.894994

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Activities

  • Boating

    Lake Darling is a popular boating lake for both power and non-power boats. There are boat rental opportunities through park staff. Any size motor may be operated on Lake Darling at "no wake" speeds. Boat ramps are available.

  • Camping

    Lake Darling has a large and well equipped campground. A total of 118 campsites are present, 81 with electrical hookups. The campground has 2 modern rest room buildings, as well as a conveniently located trailer dumping station. Advance campsite reservations can be made online through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available for self-registration on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is playground equipment in the campground.

    Camping cabins may be reserved for a 2-night minimum stay. The cabins sleep four and are equipped with a bunk bed, futon, and table with chairs. They are located only a short distance from the modern rest room and shower building in the campground. The cabins can be reserved online through the park reservation system.

  • Fishing

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

  • Hiking

    Hikers will 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. One of the trails extends through a re-established prairie and another winds through heavily wooded timber to a cemetery dating back to the 1800s.

  • Picnicking

    Lake Darling State Park is a great place for a family cookout. A number of scenic picnic areas overlook the lake. An open picnic shelter is available for use and may be reserved online through the park reservation system.

    The newest addition to the Lake Darling landscape is the lodge. Completed in 2008, the lodge is quickly becoming a popular place for reunions, parties and weddings. Reservation for the lodge can be made online through the park reservation system.

  • RVing

    A total of 118 campsites are present, 81 with electrical hookups, as well as a conveniently located trailer dumping station.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming is allowed at a designated beach with a playground nearby. Fishing and boating are allowed on Lake Darling.

Seasonality/Weather

Iowa summers are known for heat and humidity, with daytime temperatures often near 90°F and sometimes exceeding 100°F. Spring ushers in the beginning of the severe weather season--thunderstorms and tornadoes are common during the spring and summer months. Average winters in the state have been known to drop well below freezing, even falling below 0°F.

Directions

Driving

Brighton is 3 miles east of the park, Richland is 5 miles west, Washington is 14 miles northeast on Highway 1, and Fairfield is 17 miles southwest on Highway 34.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(319) 694-2323

Campground reservations

(877) 427-2757

Links