Wilson Island State Recreation Area

Quick Facts

Wilson Island State Recreation Area

Iowa

(712) 642-2069

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Wilson Island, named after former Governor George Wilson, came into existence as an island sandbar around 1900. Today, Wilson Island State Recreation Area encompasses 544 acres of dense cottonwood stands. Seclusion is one of the area's greatest assets and spacious shady campsites, hiking trails and picnic spots provide a welcome retreat.

Wildlife is abundant in the park and a visitor may see deer grazing in the park's fields or be awakened by a huge flock of snow geese flying low overhead in the fall. Bald eagles are often perched in the tall cottonwoods during the winter and mushroom hunters will find no better place in the spring.

On the way to Wilson Island, visitors will see the unique wave-like loess hills which overlook the great Missouri River flood plain. These rugged hills are found along the Missouri River Valley in Iowa and Missouri.

Early history tells us that Lewis and Clark traveled and camped on this reach of the Missouri River in 1804 - 1806 on their historic trip to and from the Pacific Coast.

Map of Wilson Island (IA)

Latitude, Longitude: 41.483888, -96.004477

READ MORE

Activities

  • Boating

    A half-mile trail along the shoreline of the Missouri River and boat ramp provide excellent access to the river.

  • Bicycling

    Approximately five miles of trails are used for hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

  • Camping

    Camping is very popular at Wilson Island with 135 well-shaded, spacious campsites. A modern camp area offers showers, flush toilets, 63 electric camp sites, and two large youth group camping areas. 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-served basis. Firewood may be purchased at the park office. A playground is located near the campground.

  • Fishing

    A half-mile trail along the shoreline of the Missouri River and boat ramp provide excellent access to the river. An Iowa or Nebraska fishing license is required for fishing the Missouri River and Wilson Island.

  • Hiking

    Approximately five miles of trails are used for hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

  • Historic Sites

    Wilson Island, named after former Governor George Wilson, came into existence as an island sandbar around 1900. Today, Wilson Island State Recreation Area encompasses 544 acres of dense cottonwood stands. Seclusion is one of the area's greatest assets and spacious shady campsites, hiking trails and picnic spots provide a welcome retreat.

    Wildlife is abundant in the park and a visitor may see deer grazing in the park's fields or be awakened by a huge flock of snow geese flying low overhead in the fall. Bald eagles are often perched in the tall cottonwoods during the winter and mushroom hunters will find no better place in the spring.

    On the way to Wilson Island, visitors will see the unique wave-like loess hills which overlook the great Missouri River flood plain. These rugged hills are found along the Missouri River Valley in Iowa and Missouri.

    Early history tells us that Lewis and Clark camped on this reach of the Missouri River in 1804 on their historic trip to and from the Pacific Coast.

  • Hunting

    The entire area, except for the campgrounds and other developed sites, is open for public hunting. Deer hunting and duck hunting in the backwater area are the primary sports.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Approximately five miles of trails are used for hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

  • Picnicking

    A picnic area with shelters is located along the shoreline of the Missouri river. Shelters may be reserved for a fee by contacting the park manager.

  • RVing

    The campground has 62 electric sites and 72 non-electric. Modern rest rooms and showers; dump station; playground.

  • Winter Sports

    Approximately five miles of trails are used for hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

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

Missouri Valley, Iowa is located 11 miles northeast of Wilson Island. The Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area is located 25 miles south of the park.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(712) 642-2069

Campground reservations

(877) 427-2757

Links