Middle River Park is an 80-acre recreational area just south of Winterset, Iowa. This scenic park is nestled in the dense forest along the Middle River. It’s a beautiful spot for a short hike or to host a gathering at the large picnic shelter. And it has river access too.
About Middle River Park
Middle River Park is home to abundant native trees, including Oak, Hickory, and Walnut. One of the great things about it is its proximity to Winterset. Around town, you’ll find a ton of fun things to do. And the Winterset City Park is a fun place to see just north of here.
Things to Do at Middle River Park
Walk the paved trail
A somewhat short, paved trail spans the park and is excellent for all ages and abilities. The flat path starts near the park’s entrance and winds through the trees and over the creek. It ends at the parking area near the picnic shelter.
Have a picnic (or a party) at the shelter
The picnic shelter is impressive, with two levels and a large deck! It would be perfect for hosting large gatherings in a scenic setting. The upper level accommodates 200 people, and the lower level has space for up to 100.
But even if you are just stopping by, the shelter deck is a fun place for a picnic. There are plenty of picnic tables and grills too. And there is a small playground near the lower level. For shelter information, see the Madison County Conservation website.
Float the Middle River Water Trail
The Middle River Water Trail runs right through the park! For a 7-9-mile float, start upriver at Pammel Park (Access #61 & #63) and take out at the park (Access #54). Or, start at the park and float downriver to the Holliwell Covered Bridge Access (#50). To learn more about the Middle River Water Trail, go here for a map, or download the trail brochure.
Find the Madison County Conservation park map here.
Things to Do Nearby
Tour the Winterset area! Visit the historic bridges, tour the museums, and shop at the town square. And don’t forget a stop at the local winery or cidery!
Winterset City Park is a one-of-a-kind 76-acre park on the north side of Middle River Park. There you’ll find a covered bridge, limestone tower, maze, and more!
Pammel State Park is a 12-minute drive from Middle River Park. Pammel is a 350-acre park where you can hike, paddle, fish, go camping or rent a yurt!
The Great Western Trail is a paved rail trail, about 20 minutes west of Winterset. This 16.5-mile route runs from rural Martensdale to the urban surroundings of Des Moines.
The Middle River Water Trail runs through the park, and you can start there or from access points upriver. Enjoy the limestone ridges, fun riffles, and history along this meandering river trail.
Criss Cove County Park is a 45-acre recreation area 9 miles south of the park. There, you’ll find a 9-acre fishing pond and a small campground with RV and tent sites.
Clanton Creek Recreation Area is an 1115-acre area 12 miles south of the park. It has over 10 miles of hiking trails, as well as public hunting and fishing. Also, it contains native remnants of prairie, wetlands, and savanna oak.
Visit Middle River Park Today!
The park is at 2278 Clark Tower Rd, Winterset, IA 50273. Summer hours are 7 am to dusk, and winter hours are 8 am to dusk. The park road is usually closed during the winter.