Lake Icaria is a beautiful 650-acre lake and a popular outdoor destination in Southwest Iowa. With its convenient central location, people from all over are drawn to the picturesque lake, and it’s not hard to see why. Surrounded by scenic parkland, the lake offers an array of outdoor recreational activities, making it an ideal place for a getaway.
So, if you’re searching for a delightful boating spot, a fishing haven, great hiking trails, or a lakeside picnic, Lake Icaria has it all! But that’s not where the fun ends – it also offers year-round campsites and cozy cabin rentals, ensuring visitors enjoy the park no matter the season.
Table of Contents
- Things to do at Lake Icaria
- Lake Icaria Campgrounds
- Lake Icaria Cabins & Cottages
- Things to do nearby
- Visit Lake Icaria today!
About Lake Icaria
Lake Icaria is a county park near the town of Corning in Southwest Iowa. It’s approximately 90 miles from Des Moines, 35 miles south of I-80, and 53 miles west of I-35, off Highway 148, offering a convenient escape to nature.
Initially constructed in the late 1970s to enhance the watershed, Lake Icaria is a stunning artificial lake.
The Iowa DNR and Adams County Conservation manage the lake and the parkland, protecting habitats and water quality. Their conservation efforts have made Lake Icaria a favorite outdoor destination in Iowa.
The park boasts a multitude of amenities that draw visitors year-round. Campgrounds, cabins, a marina, a beach, boat ramps, fishing jetties, a fishing pier, and several picnic shelters surround the 650-acre lake.
Know before you go.
- Admission to the park is free.
- The beach has a 300-foot designated swim area.
- Food trucks frequent the beach area during the summer months.
- Cabins and campgrounds fill quickly, especially on summer weekends. (Cabins are reservable & Timber Ridge Campground has reservable campsites.)
- Several picnic shelters are available (and reservable).
- The lake has a 1¼ mile ski zone & five boat ramps (no jet boats or jet skis).
- Boat rentals are available at the marina.
- The fishing is excellent! New riprap, docks, fishing jetties, and an accessible pier add to the appeal.
- The park has an 18-hole disc golf course.
- Several nature trails are around the lake.
- Hunting is allowed in designated hunting areas.
- This year-round park has ice fishing, hunting, hiking, and cabin rentals in the winter.
Things to do at Lake Icaria
Fishing is a top year-round activity at Lake Icaria! You can see why – with clear water, and lots of fishing amenities, it’s ideal for any angler. It has:
- Fishing jetties (with new riprap)
- Accessible fishing pier
- Over 100 fishing structures, including areas of rocky shoreline.
- Five boat ramps
- Boat docks
- No wake zones
- Two fish-cleaning stations
- Stocked with Wiper, Walleye, and Blue Catfish.
- Other popular species include Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Black Crappie, and Black Bullhead.
Whether you want to go skiing or fishing in the no-wake zones, Lake Icaria is an excellent spot for both! It’s ideal for a day on the lake with five boat ramps, a marina, and docks.
There’s a 1¼ mile ski zone* and several no-wake areas perfect for fishing or paddling. Plus, the marina provides for all your boating and fishing needs – and offers boat rentals!
Visit Bobbers Down Marina on the lake’s south side for boat rentals and supplies. Rentals include pontoons, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and paddle boats. See their Facebook page for more information.
*Only outboards and inboard-outboards are allowed (no jet skis or jet boats).
Visit the beach
Lake Icaria’s beach is a super popular spot in the summer! The 300-foot sandy beach has a roped swim area, perfect for cooling off on hot summer days.
Beachgoers enjoy sand volleyball, picnic shelters, tables, and grills. That’s not to mention the fun food trucks that frequent the beach area on summer weekends!
Several short nature trails traverse the woods and prairie and along the lakeshore at Lake Icaria. You can even hike to the beach from your campsite at Timber Ridge Campground!
Camp or stay in a cabin
Whether it’s just you or a group of your family and friends, your ideal campsite, cabin, or cottage awaits!
With so much to do at this fun Iowa lake, you’ll want to stay awhile. And the campgrounds, cabins, and cottages surrounding Lake Icaria make the perfect getaway.
Campgrounds have everything from full hookups to tent campsites. The cabins include sleepers and full-service options, and the cottages have all the modern amenities you need!
See the Campground and Cabins sections below for more details.
Have a picnic or host a gathering
When it comes to picnicking, Lake Icaria’s got you covered! Several picnic tables and grills are throughout the park. And many picnic shelters are available to provide the perfect lakeside gathering!
Many open-air picnic shelters are first-come, first serve. But four shelters are reservable at MyCountyParks.com (and otherwise available first-come, first-serve).
The 18-hole disc golf course at Lake Icaria is excellent for all and provides spectacular lake views as you play. It has a mix of shots with elevation changes.
Find the disc golf course between the beach area and the marina on the south side of the lake. The course is well-marked.
1200 acres of public hunting land provide various hunting opportunities at Lake Icaria. It’s a draw for those hunting dove, quail, pheasants, deer, small game, and waterfowl.
Iowa hunting regulations for public hunting areas restrict seasons and species. Find hunting regulations and license information on the Iowa DNR website. Find the map for public hunting at Lake Icaria here.
Visit local attractions
The town of Corning offers several other things to do, from the French Icarian Village and Johnny Carson’s Birthplace to the Corning Winery and Aquatic Center. There’s a little something for everyone!
Winter at Lake Icaria
The fun continues in winter at Lake Icaria! Visitors enjoy ice fishing, winter hiking, hunting, and staying at the year-round cabins and cottages. And camping is allowed all year long at the accessible campsites.
Lake Icaria Campgrounds
Lake Icaria’s campgrounds are a draw for campers from all around, from Des Moines to Omaha and St. Joseph.
Two campgrounds are at the lake: Lake View Campground and Timber Ridge Campground. Below we list the highlights of each campground.
Lake View Campground
- North of 183rd St (N28) off Kale Ave.
- Campsites are available first come, first serve only.
- Lakeviews from many of the campsites
- 24 full hookups, 43 electric only, and 20 non-electric tent sites.
- Modern restrooms/showers
- Dump station on-site
- Near fishing jetties and docks
- Cabins are available at this campground (see cabin section below)
Timber Ridge Campground
- North of 183rd St (N28) on Juniper Ave
- Campsites can be reserved online, otherwise available first come, first serve
- Access to nature trails and trail to the beach
- 39 full hookups, 23 electric & water, and four tent campsites.
- Modern restrooms/showers
- Dump station on-site
- Near the beach, marina, and disc golf course.
Lake Icaria Cabins & Cottages
Fourteen log cabins and two cottages at Lake Icaria provide a range of amenities and sleep six to ten people. Read on for details, and make reservations at MyCountyParks.com.
- Six full-service rustic cabins have small kitchenettes, sinks, bathrooms, and showers. These units are accessible and open year-round.
- Eight rustic sleeper cabins have refrigerators, microwaves, air conditioning, and heat.
- Each has bunk beds, a sofa, a table with benches, & a trash can, with picnic table(s), a grill, and a fire ring outdoors.
- Visitors must supply bedding, pillows, towels, cookware, etc.
- Pets are allowed for an extra charge.
- Lakeside location
- Sleep up to 10 people (three bedrooms, two on the main level, one in the loft)
- Full kitchen, restroom/showers (2), laundry, TVs, and indoor fireplace. Outdoor covered deck, picnic tables, fire pit, & grill.
- Private docks
- Linens and cookware are provided.
- Pets are allowed for an extra charge.
Things to do nearby
See local attractions! The French Icarian Village, Johnny Carson Birthplace, and Adams County House of History are a few local historic attractions in nearby Corning. Other things to do include the Corning Aquatic Center and the Corning American Theater.
Visit some area state parks in this corner of Iowa! There are four state parks within 30 minutes of Lake Icaria. Lake Anita State Park, Viking Lake State Park, Green Valley State Park, and Lake of Three Fires State Park have campgrounds, hiking trails, fishing, and more.
Visit Lake Icaria today!
Lake Icaria is just north of Corning, Iowa.
To get there from Des Moines, take I-80 westbound to Exit 75. Take White Pole Road and Highway 148 south to Lake Icaria. Drive time is approximately 1½ hours.
From Omaha, Nebraska, take I-80 East to I-29 South. From I-29, take Exit 35A toward Highway 34. Take Highway 34/275 east toward Glenwood, and follow Hwy 34 east to Corning. At Corning, go north on Highway 148 to Lake Icaria. Drive time is approximately 1½ hours.
From St. Joseph, Missouri, take I-229 North and merge onto US Highway 71 North. Just north of Maryville, turn right onto Highway 148 North and follow north to Lake Icaria. Drive time is approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.