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Iowa State Parks

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USA Parks
Southwest Region
Ledges State Park
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Ledges State Park Ledges state park trail © Amit K Pandey
Ledges State Park Ledges Scenic Vista © Doug Schutjer
A typical fall day.
Ledges State Park Ledges fall colors © Doug Schutjer
Fall colors 2012
Ledges State Park Steps to the Top © Doug Schutjer
Steps through the fall colors to the top
Ledges State Park Ledges © Doug Schutjer
A beautiful park.
Ledges State Park Walking Bridge © Doug Schutjer
Sunday afternoon for a walk in the park.
Ledges State Park Family Groups © Doug Schutjer
A great fall day for socializing.
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1515 P Ave.
Madrid, Iowa   50156

Phone: 515-432-1852
Reservations: 515-432-1852
Email: park email button icon
History of the Area
The wildlife and plant communities are interwoven with the human history of Ledges. Humans have appreciated this unique area for thousands of years. Archeological evidence found within the park dates to around 4,000 years ago. At the time of European settlement, the Ledges area was inhabited by the Sauk, Fox (now the Mesqwakie) and Sioux. Native American mounds in the vicinity contain artifacts acting as silent reminders of the area's past inhabitants.

The beauty of the canyons and bluffs of Ledges very quickly became a major attraction to the growing local communities. Ledges was proposed as a state park as early as 1914. The first park custodian, Carl Fritz Henning, was appointed in 1921. In 1924, the Ledges officially became one of Iowa's first state parks.

Park facilities constructed of native timber and field stone by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's are still standing today. These examples of fine craftsmanship include an arch stone bridge, shelter in Oak Woods, stone trail steps and the stone shelter in lower Ledges.

Ledges has a long history of being flooded by the nearby Des Moines River. The major flood water levels have been recorded on a "flood pole" located in the lower area of the park.
Day-UseHiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
 Electric Sitesyes
Ledges offers 94 campsites; 40 with electrical hookups (2 of which are fully accessible), 42 non-electric and 12 hike-in. Modern rest rooms, showers, a trailer dump station and a playground are located in the campground. Starting February 13, 2006 advance campsite reservations can be booked through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available for self-registration on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Ledges State Park is located near Ames, Boone

Picnic areas are located throughout the park. The Oak Woods picnic shelter and nearby restroom, located in the eastern area of the park, are fully accessible. Two open picnic shelters may be reserved for a fee through the park manager.
Ledges, one of Iowa's most popular state parks, has attracted millions of visitors. Thirteen miles of hiking trails lead up and down steep slopes to scenic overlooks and provide access to spectacular views of Pea's Creek "canyon". While most of the trails include steep portions, a fully accessible interpretive trail around Lost Lake is located at the southern part of the park.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
April 14 remember when the zoo was open by Ray Fritz
park review stars; one to five the zoo was so neet to watch the difernt animals and birds it was ashame that they had to close such a great place to visit
August 5 Childhood Memories by Deb from Colorado
park review stars; one to five Being originally from Des Moines and now live in Colorado Springs, I remember as a child visiting the Ledges State Park and having the best time of my life there.
August 15 Surprising by Eric Robinson
park review stars; one to five Approaching this park, you will wonder why it is called Ledges because the land is so flat all around. Soon after you begin to walk into the wooded area, you will find that the ledges are recesses in the terrain. Ledges State Park is intimate, beautiful, and surprising.
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