Lake Macbride State Park

Quick Facts

Lake Macbride State Park

Iowa

(319) 624-2200

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The destination for outdoor enthusiasts! Lake Macbride is a great spot for fishing, picnicking, swimming, hiking, bird-watching, camping and boating. Bring the family for an afternoon in the sun or stay a few days to enjoy all Lake Macbride has to offer.

Walkers, joggers and bikers can take the five-mile limestone trail into Solon. Challenge yourself to a paddleboat or kayak ride and then renew your energy with a picnic. Lake Macbride offers swimming as well as refreshments at the beautiful beach area. The Macbride beach is a great place for young and old to cool off on a hot summer day.

In effort to establish the wooded valleys of Mill and Jordan Creeks as a state park was initiated by the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce and J.N. "Ding" Darling, a noted Iowa Conservationist. To raise funds to purchase additional land for the park, lots were sold in the area.

In June, 1937 the park opened to the public. The name for the park was selected from several hundred contest entries. Thomas Macbride had a distinguished 40-year career as professor of botany and president of the University of Iowa. He has been called the "father" of conservation in Iowa. In 1895 he addressed the members of the Iowa Academy of Science on the need to establish a statewide system of "country" or "rural" parks.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed a number of facilities at Lake Macbride in the 1930's including the beautiful stone shelter and beach building.

In 1955, the lake was enlarged. A portion of the park borders Coralville Lake, one of Iowa's largest artificial lakes, constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Map of Lake Macbride (IA)

Latitude, Longitude: 41.801389, -91.555019

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Activities

  • Boating

    There are seven boat ramps on Lake Macbride and one on Coralville Lake. Pontoons, motorboats, canoes and paddle boats are available for rent near the beach. A 10 horsepower motor limit is in effect on Lake Macbride from Memorial Day through Labor Day. At other times there is an unrestricted horsepower motor limit operated at a no-wake speed. Any size motor may be used on Coralville Lake. Pontoon docking spaces are available for rental, as are dry-storage spots for boats.

  • Camping

    Lake Macbride State Park has two campgrounds. The modern campground in the northern unit of the park has 38 sites with electrical hookups with 10 of those having full hook ups, a shower and restroom and a trailer dump station.

    The non-modern campground in the southern park unit has 60 campsites and a non-flush restroom. This campground is located in a beautiful shaded setting near the lake. Both campgrounds have a playground nearby. Advance campsite reservations can be booked through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

  • Fishing

    Lake Macbride is an angler's delight! Good catches of walleyes, channel catfish, crappies and bluegill await the angler in the 812-acre artificial lake. Walleyes, channel catfish and muskies are stocked annually. Lake Macbride may be the only lake in Iowa in which the prized Kentucky spotted bass can be caught. Good lake access is available for both shoreline (jetty and pier) and boat fishing.

  • Golfing

    The Lake Macbride golf course is located nearby.

  • Hiking

    Multi-use trails wind for miles around the lake. All park trails offer opportunities for the sights and sounds of Iowa at its best. Bird watchers will thrill to the sight of nearly every songbird native to the region. During the spring and fall, shorebirds, waterfowl and ospreys are frequent visitors. Six permanent Volkssport trails have been established for seasonal use within state parks and recreation areas.

  • Historic Sites

    An effort to establish the wooded valleys of Mill and Jordan Creeks as a state park was initiated by the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce and J.N. "Ding" Darling, a noted Iowa Conservationist. To raise funds to purchase additional land for the park, lots were sold in the area.

    In June, 1937 the park opened to the public. The name for the park was selected from several hundred contest entries. Thomas Macbride had a distinguished 40-year career as professor of botany and president of the University of Iowa. He has been called the "father" of conservation in Iowa. In 1895 he addressed the members of the Iowa Academy of Science on the need to establish a statewide system of "country" or "rural" parks.

    The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed a number of facilities at Lake Macbride in the 1930's including the beautiful stone shelter and beach building.

    In 1955, the lake was enlarged. A portion of the park borders Coralville Lake, one of Iowa's largest artificial lakes, constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Snow-mobiling is allowed in winter on designated trails.

  • Picnicking

    Lake Macbride State Park is a great place for a family picnic or get-together. Four open picnic shelters are available and may be reserved online through the park reservation system. Two day-use lodges are also available and great for family reunions. The lodges may also be reserved online through the park reservation system.

  • RVing

    The modern campground in the northern unit of the park has 38 sites with electrical hookups with 10 of those having full hook ups, and a trailer dump station.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming is restricted to the designated beach area only. Fishing and boating are also allowed.

  • Winter Sports

    During winter months, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are allowed on designated trails.

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

The park is located in two units. The northern unit lies at the end of Iowa Highway 382, 4 miles west of Solon. The southern unit is located off County Road F-28 (Fifth Street in Solon), 3 miles west of Solon.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(319) 624-2200

Campground reservations

(877) 427-2757

Links