Lake of Three Fires State Park

Quick Facts

Lake of Three Fires State Park

Iowa

(712) 523-2700

Map

Things To Do

Overview

The 85-acre Lake of Three Fires is nearly a mile long and a half-mile wide, with scenic inlets ideal for fishing and boating. Surrounding the lake are 691 acres of picturesque woodlands. Although summer is the most popular season, any nice spring or fall day will draw hundreds of picnickers, hikers, photographers and fishermen. There are eight miles of marked trails for hikers, horseback riders, and snowmobilers. Playgrounds are located in the picnic area and at the beach area. There are horseshoe pitching areas at the beach area near the lodge, the camp area and the picnic area.

The Pottawattomi tribe, a large group of Native Americans known as the "Fire Nation," once roamed the prairies of southern Iowa. According to legend, two other tribes joined the Pottawattomi to form a loose confederacy known as "Three Fires." It is believed the three tribes held a great council meeting to join forces for protection against invading tribes. Runners were sent to wandering Indian nations to tell of the great rendezvous. Smoke from three fires signaled the exact location. The fires were built atop the highest hills so smoke could be seen from any direction. One such point overlooked the valley now covered by the waters of Lake of Three Fires. Three fires were kept burning as long as the three tribes joined together. If any of the fires went out it meant the tribes had left the area to continue on their own. Lake of Three Fires State Park was dedicated in 1935.

Map of Lake of Three Fires (IA)

Latitude, Longitude: 40.714152, -94.692098

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Activities

  • Boating

    There is a concrete boat ramp near the beach and one in the south camp area. All motor boats must operate at a no wake speed.

  • Camping

    Two modern campgrounds located a short distance from the lake provide 140 campsites (30 with electrical hookups), restroom, shower facilities and a trailer dump station. Advance campsite reservations can be made through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    There is also an equestrian campground that provides 22 camp sites, 8 with electrical hookups. In addition, there are 15 holding pens.

    The park also has modern cabins that comfortably accommodate four persons each. They have heat/AC and are equipped with a refrigerator, microwave and cooktop stove. Renters must provide bedding, towels, cooking and eating utensils. The cabins are available year round for reservations. The cabins can be reserved online through the park reservation system.

  • Fishing

    Lake and jetty fishing. Fish species include bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass.

  • Hiking

    The park contains eight miles of marked trails for hikers, horseback riders and snowmobiles. Lake of Three Fires is one of southwest Iowa's most scenic parks and the trails provide great opportunities to experience the beauty year round.

  • Historic Sites

    The Pottawattomi tribe, a large group of Native Americans known as the "Fire Nation," once roamed the prairies of southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri. According to legend, two other tribes joined the Pottawattomi to form a loose confederacy known as "Three Fires." It is believed the three tribes held a great council meeting to join forces for protection against invading tribes. Runners were sent to wandering Indian nations to tell of the great rendezvous. Smoke from three fires signaled the exact location. The fires were built atop the highest hills so smoke could be seen from any direction. One such point overlooked the valley now covered by the waters of Lake of Three Fires. Three fires were kept burning as long as the three tribes joined together. If any of the fires went out it meant the tribes had left the area to continue on their own. Lake of Three Fires State Park was dedicated in 1935.

  • Horseback Riding

    There is also an equestrian campground that provides 22 camp sites, 8 with electrical hookups. In addition, there are 15 holding pens.

  • Hunting

    Public hunting area borders the park; contact park office for more information.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Snowmobiling is allowed on designated trails.

  • Picnicking

    A large picnic area with tables and grills is nestled under trees close to the lakeshore. Two open picnic shelters may be reserved online through the park reservation system. One shelter has electricity, tables and running water. There is a playground nearby.

    A renovated lodge near the beach can be rented for a fee. The lodge may reserved online through the park reservation system.A sandy beach area provides swimming fun for everyone. There is a playground near the beach area plus a sand volleyball court.

  • RVing

    Two modern campgrounds located a short distance from the lake provide 140 campsites (30 with electrical hookups), restroom, shower facilities and a trailer dump station. There is also an equestrian campground that provides 22 camp sites, 8 with electrical hookups. In addition, there are 15 holding pens.

  • Water Sports

    A sandy beach area provides swimming fun for everyone. There is a playground near the beach area plus a sand volleyball court. The park also offers fishing and boating.

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.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(712) 523-2700

Campground reservations

(877) 427-2757

Links