Sharon Bluffs State Park is a 144-acre park in southern Iowa with camping, trails, and wildlife enclosures. This quiet, out-of-the-way park is east of Centerville near the Chariton River.* And it’s not far from Rathbun Lake and Lake Wapello State Park.
Sharon Bluffs State Park was once an Iowa State Park. But it’s now operated and managed by Appanoose County Conservation.
Things To Do at Sharon Bluffs State Park
A two-mile loop trail extends through the woods and river bluffs and among lots of native oak and hickory! It’s an excellent trail for spring wildflowers and beautiful fall colors! Plus, Appanoose Co. Conservation frequently hosts unique hikes through the woods.
Find a trail map at AllTrails.com.
The park’s stone shelter is nestled among mature trees, providing the ideal shady picnic spot. It has a fireplace and grill, and it’s at the end of the park road. Several other picnic tables are in the area nearby.
The small campground has six sites that are first-come, first-serve. They have electric hookups with a water spigot nearby and a dump station at the park entrance. No modern restrooms/showers (pit toilets near the picnic shelter).
See the wildlife
Wildlife enclosures near the park entrance are home to elk, deer, and birds. When we were there, we saw lots of elk, a Red-tailed hawk, and a Great Horned Owl.
Attend conservation program
Sharon Bluffs is great for memorable hikes, nature crafts, and other conservation programs! Find upcoming events and programming on the Appanoose County Conservation Facebook page.
Visit the nature center
The nature center is home to some native animals and offers activities and programming. It’s open during limited hours and by appointment.
*No boat river access at the park.
Things to do nearby
Centerville is 5 miles west of Sharon Bluffs and a great place to get camping supplies. While you’re there, ride a trolley, tour a coal mining museum, and grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant.
Lelah Bradley Park & Reserve is a 165-acre park in Centerville. It has a campground and 10 miles(!) of trails, plus scenic fishing and picnic spots!
Rathbun Lake is 30 minutes northeast of the park. Also called Iowa’s Ocean, the 11,000-acre lake has 155 miles of shoreline for adventures on and off the water. Honey Creek State Park and Honey Creek Resort are both on the lake’s north side, with hiking, boating, swimming, camping, and more!
Lake Wapello State Park is 30 minutes northwest of Sharon Bluffs. This scenic 1100+-acre park has a pristine 289-acre lake, complete with a beach, trails, boat rentals, campground & cabins, and more! (It’s one of our personal favorites!)
Visit Sharon Bluffs State Park Today!
Find the park at 25100 520th St, Centerville, IA 52544 (gravel roads).