Popular far northeast Iowa campground re-opening today

MCGREGOR — A popular far northeast Iowa campground is being re-opened today.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources renovated Pikes Peak State Park campground near McGregor. Northeast Parks supervisor Detra  Dettmann says the campground got a complete overhaul. “There’s new roadways in the campground, we’ve eliminated the non-electric sites, we’ve got more pull-through sites, and we’ve upgraded new dump station. We’ve got fewer sites, so they’re more quality sites instead of quantity,” Dettman says. 

They are now taking reservations for the campground. “This campground will now be 100 percent reservable. Before it was 75 percent, and then that other 25 percent was for walk up or first come first serve only,” she says. “And now we’ve got the capability for folks to reserve all those in advance or on site.”

We are in the heart of the summer camping season — but she says the Pikes Peak campground is more desired later in the year. “Our busiest time actually at this park is as we get into fall leaf season. And whole the park draws a lot of people just because of the wonderful views of the Mississippi River and beautiful trails, but the campground as well will be packed,” Dettman says.

She says the re-opening was delayed a bit because they were waiting for the grass to grow in.  Dettman says northeast Iowa has seen a lot of variability in the weather this summer. “For example, down in Backbone, which is about an hour south of Pikes Peak, they’ve had pretty good rains. And so they’ve been keeping up with the mowing pretty nonstop. And then at Pikes Peak, at one point I looked at the rainfall map and it just showed like a red spot right in Clayton County right over Pikes Peak where they had been really short,” Dettman says. “But then they got a couple of good doses which really helped jumpstart things. So we’re not quite where we need to be but it’s better than we weren’t early in the summer certainly.” 

Dettman says they hope to work out any problems with the new systems at Pikes Peak yet this summer as they prepare for the fall. “We’re really excited to have it open and this will be the first we can kind of test everything to make sure it’s working. So there may be glitches be patient if there are we’ll work through those as best we can,” she says.

You can make reservations online for Pikes Peak State Park starting at 9 a-m, with the same-day window closing at 11:59 p-m each day. Reservations will be accepted through the end of November, with the campground closing over the winter from December through February. Go to iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com to reserve your spot.