Picnicking/Shelters/Lodge Palisades-Kepler State Park is a beautiful place for a family cookout. Picnickers can enjoy themselves, while at the same time, enjoying views of the beautiful Cedar River and the tree-lined bluffs along it. An open picnic shelter is available and may be reserved online through the park reservation system. The lodge at Palisades-Kepler is a beautiful stone structure built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It makes a fine setting for group events such as wedding receptions and family reunions. The lodge may reserved online through the park reservation system. Camping The campground at Palisades-Kepler is a fine place for a weekend outing or a two-week vacation. It has 44 campsites, 26 with electrical hookups. Modern shower and restroom facilities are available, as well as a trailer dump station. Advance campsite reservations can be booked through the park reservation system . Half of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Cabins Palisades-Kepler has four family cabins available for weekly rentals. The cabins, which can accommodate up to four persons, feature a shower, restroom, stovetop and refrigerator. Cabin users must provide their own bedding, towels and other camping items. The cabins can be reserved online through the park reservation system. The cabins are a great place for an economical family vacation. Trails Palisades-Kepler is a wonderful place to hike. On the six miles of trails, walkers can often see a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer and wild turkeys. Many species of trees, shrubs and flowers are also present along with innumerable species of songbirds. River Activities ( boating, fishing) The Cedar River offers some excellent fishing for a variety of species, including channel catfish, bass and bluegills. Anglers often try their luck by boat or along the shore above and below the old dam on the Cedar River. A modern boat-launching ramp provides convenient river access. Palisades-Kepler State Park lies along the beautiful Cedar River in Linn County. The 840-acre park has dramatic river bluffs, deep ravines, majestic hardwood trees, a large variety of wildflowers and an abundance of wildlife. Palisades-Kepler State Park is also important for its prehistoric past. A molar tooth of a mammoth was once found here and the exposed rocks along the Cedar River are laden with fossils of millions of years of history. The presence of Indian mounds reminds us that this was a favorite haunt of Native Americans hundreds of years ago.

hiking
3 months ago

The park offers some delightful views. The paths, while well-traveled and worn, do offer a challenge with good elevation changes (for Iowa), and some rockiness. Someone should be commended for maintaining the park. There was very little litter.

hiking
6 months ago

Quiet and very few other hikers. Some nice views and interesting side trails. I did the Cedar Cliff trail only, not the Cool Hollow.

hiking
6 months ago

This is a beautiful park. I'm sure it's great for fishing. The hiking was so-so. There's almost no place to park at the beginning of the trails. It's hard to follow some of the trails because they lose visibility because of weeds and plants. One trail goes back and forth across a creek bed. There's a pretty good elevation gain.

Loved the hike. We took our 18 mo old and 3 year old and everyone enjoyed it.

hiking
2 years ago

Great hiking; the park contains about four miles of trails total, with great views of the Cedar River from the Palisades above (hence the name). While not too difficult, it has a couple of inclines which get the blood pumping.

I've been all over this park, and more than once, having attended college in the area. Very enjoyable. Not too difficult, but some up and down hills near the river can make this park tiring on a hot day in summer.

hiking
3 years ago

There is a lot that can be done at this park. great river edge/bluff hiking. With proper permit and gear there are excellent rappelling areas and bouldering at the lower points near the old dam. The hike down through sleepy hollow is really cool (temperature wise) on a hot summer day. Plenty of nature to observe. Bald eagles love to fly through and the bluff area and if you are really lucky you will be able to look down on one from the gazebo located below the campground.
DO NOT be fooled by the water flow of the river. It looks inviting, but for some reason the shifting sand bars make this a very dangerous place to wade into the water. Ever couple of years there are fatalities here when the water looks so inviting.

hiking
3 years ago

I love this trail! I used to live in the area when I was younger and always came here. 20 years later and not much has changed. This trail is where I learned to rock climb when I was 8. There is not huge wall but there are quite a few smaller ones overlooking the lakes or beaches that you could practice or learn on as well. I recently went back here for hiking and some fishing, great place to spend a day but can get crowded depending on the time of year.

hiking
4 years ago

Very beautiful trail. One can see the Cedar River on the trail. Parts of it are steep and narrow. Some branches of the trail are not as busy as others. Better a hiking trail than a running one.

Very pretty trail, but much too busy to be a place that I feel comfortable trail running on or even fast hiking. Once you get past where the climbers are, the crowds definately thin, but you never feel truly alone and some parts of the trail are very technical and i don't feel comfortable taking my companion (Bandit the Mutt) on those parts. Definately need hiking poles to complete some of the hills if you are a newbie.