Cordova Park is an 1100-acre county park along the north shores of Lake Red Rock, Iowa’s largest lake. It’s the perfect getaway, with modern cabins, an observation tower, hiking, biking, and, of course, the lake!
A Brief History of Cordova Park
The tiny town of Cordova was once located right by Cordova Park. It existed from the late 1800s until the 1960s and became one of the “lost” towns submerged in Lake Red Rock. Only remnants of the historic town remained when Lake Red Rock was developed.
The 130,000-gallon Cordova water tower was built in 1972 to provide water to local residents. But when rural water became available in the mid-1980s, the water tower was abandoned. So, in 1998, it was converted into the observation tower visitors flock to today.
Things To Do at Cordova Park
Climb the Cordova Observation Tower
The 106’ tall observation tower has 170 steps, making it the tallest observation tower in a Midwest park. It also holds the record for the longest fiberglass staircase in the world!
Climbing the stairs on this former water tower is a bit of a workout. But it’s worth it for the adventure and, of course, the views. On clear days, you can see over 30 miles all the way to Des Moines! It also has excellent views of the lake and Des Moines River Valley, making it a popular place to see the fall colors.
The cost to climb the tower is $.50 per person. Take quarters along! It only takes quarters, and there’s no change machine on site.
Explore the nature trail
The Karr interpretive trail is a one-mile loop through native woodlands and along the shores of Lake Red Rock! Three trailheads are on the park’s west side, one near the observation tower and two near the pavilion.
Rent a cabin
The Cordova cabins are one of the park’s most popular features year-round. And for a good reason. The two and three-bedroom cabins are an excellent way to escape to nature – in comfort.
The cabins are near the lakeshore, and some have excellent lake views. They have all the modern amenities you want, like full kitchens, bathrooms, and satellite TV. You’ll also love the covered front porch, fire ring, and access to lake activities!
Have a picnic or host an event
Whether you have a small, simple gathering, or a big group event, Cordova Park is a great place to go!
The park has three picnic areas with open-air shelters and a huge, 6300 square foot pavilion with 30 picnic tables. The pavilion is reservable at MyCountyParks.com.
Whether you have a ski boat, fishing boat, kayak, or canoe, head to the Cordova boat ramp to access Lake Red Rock. It’s located on the park’s eastern half, off Highway G-28.
If you’re paddling, it’s best to stick to the shoreline of Lake Red Rock. Or, for a more sheltered paddling experience, head east down Hwy G-28 to Roberts Creek Lake.
Hike or bike the Volksweg Trail
The Volksweg Trail is a 17-mile paved trail that runs through the park. Hike or bike along the shores of Lake Red Rock and experience prairie, woodlands, and lake views! It even stretches to the town of Pella from Howell Station. See the trail map here.
Cordova Park Map
Seven modern cabins at Cordova Park are available to rent year-round! Nestled in a secluded area of the park, they offer a peaceful escape to nature with all the modern amenities you want.
All cabins have a full kitchen, bathroom, heat and a/c, furniture, satellite TV, and a covered porch. Guests provide their own cookware, dishes, bedding, towels, soap, and cleaning supplies.
To make reservations, go to MyCountyParks.com. Also, see the cabin brochure for floorplans and rental information. Rentals are by the week during peak season (Memorial weekend-Labor day weekend), and per night, for a two-night minimum, in the off-season.
- Views of Lake Red Rock
- 900 square feet
- Sleep up to 8 people
- 1200 square feet
- Sleep up to 12 people
- Jet tub
- Table game area
Things To Do Nearby
Roberts Creek Park is just east of Cordova Park, on the north side of Highway G-28. It offers excellent (full hookup) camping, disc golf, fishing, kayaking, and more!
Elk Rock State Park is six miles away, on the south shores of the lake (across the Mile-Long Bridge). Visitors love its large boat ramp and thirteen miles of multi-use trails! It also offers regular and equestrian camping.
The US Army Corps of Engineers has several outdoor recreation areas around Lake Red Rock where you can boat, swim, camp, fish, picnic, or hike! North Overlook Beach, Red Rock Marina, and the Red Rock Visitor’s Center are spots to check out.
The historic Dutch town of Pella is just minutes away! Head to town to shop, eat, and tour the museums. And if you’re there in May, attend the Pella Tulip Festival!
The town of Knoxville is a short distance away, and you can go to the Knoxville Speedway or have some fun at Slideways.
The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is 25 miles away. It’s an 8600-acre restored prairie project with outdoor activities, like a Prairie Learning Center, auto tour, and trails.
Visit Cordova Park Today!
Cordova Park is at 1378 Hwy G 28, Otley, IA 50214.