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Stretching 191 acres of rugged woodland, Fort Defiance State Park serves as a beautiful contrast against the gently rolled farmlands around it. With the availability of trails, picnics, and beautiful scenery, the Fort Defiance State Park is undeniably a great place to relax.
It has an abundance of vegetation which includes but not limited to plum, hawthorn, locust, and many oak species. In spring, slopes are sprinkled with trillium, violets, hepatica, and bloodroot. I was able to visit it with a group of fellow bloggers when we were exploring Estherville.
There is so much to rave about here but to start with? The park is FREE. If I am getting my facts from our tour correct, the charter was set up so that there would never be an entrance fee. This is rare in my travels, and more than worth the price you don’t have to pay for the chance to visit and enjoy the perfection of the imperfections of nature. Our group had a tour from one of the caretakers of the grounds and we hiked an incredible trail as we learned about the area.
The primary shelter, The Fort Defiance Lodge is built to resemble an old military outpost. It is a great place to host meetings, wedding receptions, and reunions. You could envision the Civilian Conservation Corps of FDR getting the place in shape for the visitors.
You can see the old bobsled run (no longer available for sledding) down to the wooden footbridges that cross the streams. The park has an online reservation system which makes it easy for anyone to reserve the Fort Defiance lodge at any time. The open shelter is given on a first-come-first-serve basis with no additional charges.
Famous for cross country skiing, during winter, the Fort Defiance state park has trails that you can take to move around the park, through the hill, and out to the woods which make up the park.
On three trails, equestrian use is permitted. They do post signs requesting that horses do NOT use the wooden footbridges as it simply isn’t safe too. We noticed that a few riders opted to ignore the warning signs and had actually caused a problem with the stability of one of the bridges.
Camping at Fort Defiance State Park
The Fort Defiance Park has a designated Camping area that embraces the authentic natural experience and puts away modernity as there are showers or flush toilets in the area. On eight sites there are electrical hookups.
Camping permits are made on the campground at the site through self-registration. There are fees for camping and those fees can also be paid on the site.
The beautiful park, which is located at 3642 17th street Estherville, IA 51334, has a fantastic environment and serene atmosphere that will help you embrace nature’s warmth. You may be out in nature, but civilization isn’t unreachable.
Less than a mile away, there is a Boat Launch ramp, Boat, Dock, Church, Fish Cleaning Station, Hospital, Ice, Retail, Snack, Bait and Tackle, Drinks. You might want to keep an eye on the special events like a Fright Hike in October (1/2 mile hike through the haunted woods of Fort Defiance) and a Defiance Trail Run in May (A challenging 5K).
Other Fun we found in Iowa:
- Historic Hotel Ottumwa: Make Your Reservations Now
- The Art Behind the American Gothic House and Center
- Learn at the Wapello County Historical Museum of Ottumwa Iowa
- The Top Destinations for Crazy Cat People to Visit
- Ottumwa Iowa: A Town to Keep Your Eyes On