The Yellow Banks Park campgrounds offer convenient access to Des Moines in the surroundings of a beautiful 552-acre park. From RV to backpacker campsites, there are several camping options available.
Whether you’re on a weekend escape or are staying a while, you’ll find plenty to do within the park. Go hiking, fishing, picnicking, paddling, and more! Another great thing is, when camping at Yellow Banks Park, you’re close to everything Des Moines has to offer.
Yellow Banks Park Campgrounds
No matter where you’re camping in the park, you’re guaranteed a great view. The main campgrounds are surrounded by mature trees, including large spruce trees. A primitive tent campground offers sweeping views of the river valley below. And the backpacker campsites provide a more immersive camping experience.
Campgrounds include 46 electric sites,13 primitive tent sites, and five backpacker sites. Three group campsites are also available.
Campground #1 is near the entrance to the park and has 27 electric campsites, with 20, 30, and 50 amp service. Twenty campsites are first-come, first-serve, with seven being reservable. All sites are gravel, back-in sites, and have fire rings.
A modern restroom/shower house is in the center of the campground, where you’ll also find the water hydrant. Kids enjoy the playground nestled between Campground #1 and #2. The dump station is just east of the campground.
Campground #2 is east of the entrance to the park and has 19 electric sites, with 20, 30, and 50 amp service. Seventeen campsites are first-come, first-serve, and two are reservable. Like Campground #1, all sites are gravel, back-in sites, and have fire rings.
A modern restroom/shower house at the center of the campground, with the water hydrant out front. The playground is across the street to the west. And the dump station is just west of the playground near Campground #1.
Primitive Tent Campground
A tent campground with eight grassy primitive sites is on a bluff overlooking the Des Moines River Valley, near Campground #1. The Native American Burial Mound Trail is right off this camp area! Parking and a pit latrine are nearby.
There are five other primitive tent sites throughout the park. Most of these are near the park road, in grassy areas with shade. See the park map for locations.
Yellow Banks offers a more primitive camping experience at its backpacker campground. The five-site backpacker camp area is accessed via a short ¾-mile trail on the park’s southeast side, near the pond. Fire pits and picnic tables are at each site. A pit latrine is at the parking area by the pond.
Two group campgrounds and one youth-only group camp area are available.
Bluff Overlook group camp area is a primitive tent area for up to 20 people. It’s situated among mature shade trees on a bluff overlooking the Des Moines River Valley. Sites are grassy and have a fire pit. The pit latrine is near the parking area. Find modern restrooms/showers and hydrants at Campgrounds #1 & #2. The area is reservable, otherwise, it’s available first-come, first-serve.
River View group camp area is also a primitive tent area for up to 20 people. It’s nestled among the trees near the Des Moines River and has a small shelter, picnic table, and fire pit. The pit latrine is near the parking area. Find modern restrooms/showers and hydrants at Campgrounds #1 & #2. River View is reservable, otherwise, it’s first-come, first-serve.
The Youth Group camp area is only for groups from formal organizations. Campers need to be under 17 years old with chaperones present. The group area is near the Des Moines River, with limited shade and a pit latrine on-site. Find modern restrooms/showers and water at Campgrounds #1 & #2.
Reservations and Check-In at Yellow Banks Park Campgrounds
You can reserve nine of the electric campsites and the three group camp areas.* Reserve sites up to one year in advance, but they have to be made at least five days before arrival. One-night stays are allowed throughout the week, but weekends require a two-night stay. Make reservations at the MyCountyParks website.
All non-reservable sites are first-come, first-serve.
*From April 1 – April 14 and October 16 – around November 30, the campgrounds are open (depending on the weather!)—but reservations are not accepted. Hike-in tent camping is allowed year-round.
If you don’t have a reservation, find your campsite first. Self-register at the kiosk near the park office within one hour of setting up camp. Fill out the information on the envelope, put your payment in the envelope, and place it in the green receptacle at the registration booth.
If you have a reservation, there’s no need to register at the kiosk.
Other Campground Information
- To learn more about camping and rates, see the Polk Co. Conservation Camping page.
- Firewood is for sale through the campground host at Campground #1.
- Campgrounds are closed from December 1 – March 31. From April 1 – April 14 and October 16 – around November 30 (depending on weather), the campgrounds are open, but reservations are not accepted. Hike-in campers are allowed year-round as long as they register at the kiosk.
Go Camping at Yellow Banks Park Today!
Yellow Banks Park is east of Des Moines, at 6801 SE 32nd Ave, Pleasant Hill, IA 50327.
For more information:
- Check out our article on Yellow Banks Park.
- See the Polk Co. Conservation Camping website.
- Learn about park rules and regulations.
- Make reservations for camping and other facilities here.
Looking for more places to camp in and around Des Moines? See our guide to local campgrounds and RV parks!