Picnicking/Shelters Brushy Creek is a great place for picnics and large gatherings. Picnic areas are located around the park. They offer tables and fire grills. Two open shelters can be reserved online through the park reservation system. Equestrian Camping Equestrian users enjoy one of the most modern camp facilities in the Midwest. The northern equestrian campground has a modern shower and restroom, 125 campsites (50 electrical), horse wash area, ample shade, a substantial hitch rail at every site (users are required to tie animals to rails) and a 100' by 200' arena. Water hydrants with potable water are available, as are picnic tables, grills, and a playground. In the future another shower/toilet building will be constructed. The south campground has a modern shower and restroom with 62 electric, 22 non-electric sites, and 8 full water and sewer hookup sites with the same amenities as the northern campground. Advance campsite reservations can be reserved online through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Horses are not to be hitched or tied to trees, shrubs or park facilities in a manner that will cause injury or damage to the plant or facility. Animals may be hitched to trailers for short periods of time for grooming and saddling. Animals must be stabled inside a trailer, at a hitch rail or in stalls or corrals if provided. Portable stall/pens or electric fences are not allowed. Non-Equestrian Camping A non-equestrian campground has 47 sites including 39 electric sites, and 8 with full water and sewer hookups. This location makes the campground very inviting to those using the nearby boatramp and beach. This area is also available for picnicking. Non equestrian campers are also welcome to use any of the equestrian campgrounds. Half of these campsites can be reserved online through the park reservation system. The rest of the campsites are available on a first come/first serve basis.
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area is a 6000 acre park with around 45 miles of multi-use hiking trails near Fort Dodge, Iowa. The multi-use trails are shared with mountain bikers and horseback riders, although I only came across two other people during my time there. The trail around the lake is a 13 mile loop on a gravel surface. The other trails are a mixture of dirt and gravel. In addition to the lake, several trails pass by ponds, Brushy Creek, and the Des Moines River. There are also multiple camping areas. All the trails that I saw were well marked with signs at every intersection and trailhead. The Preserve Trail is highly recommended because it offers a great view of the Brushy Creek Valley. The only downsides for me were the occassional sounds of gunfire from the shooting range and having to be watchful for horse droppings on the trails. Overall a great park with many miles of woodland and prairie hiking trails!