Picnicking/Shelters There are three shelters that may be reserved online through park reservation system. The Lower Picnic Shelter has a kitchenette. A long sweep of shady, grassy hillside extends down to the water's edge forming a beautiful picnic area where the Beach Point Shelter is located. The upper road also goes to the Upper Picnic Shelter and overlook with an excellent view of the lake. Camping The Viking Lake campground is one of the most popular in southwest Iowa. The spacious, shady campground is located on the lakeshore. There are 120 campsites (94 with electrical hookups, 22 full service, 9 buddy sites, and 26 non-electrical), modern rest rooms and showers and a trailer dump station. A playground is located in the campground. Advance campsite reservations can be made online through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Trails Hiking trails totaling six miles provide visitors an excellent look at the park's natural features. The Bur Oak Nature Trail and its accompanying booklet provide insight on many of the important shrubs, plants and trees found at Viking Lake. The one mile trail takes about one hour to walk. In winter, snowmobiles may be operated on designated trails. Lake Activities (swimming, boating, fishing) The 137-acre lake was constructed in 1957 and is 44 feet at its deepest point with many bays and projecting points on its four and one-half mile shoreline. Viking Lake is well stocked with crappies, bluegills, bass, bullheads and catfish. A sandy beach is located on the west shore with unsupervised swimming. A concrete boat ramp is nearby and a docking area is a short distance away in a well protected cove. Rental spaces are available on an annual reservation basis. Any size boat motors may be used on Viking Lake provided they are operated at "no wake" speeds. Viking Lake is one of the most popular state parks in southwest Iowa due to its accessibility and variety of recreational opportunities. A large portion of the 1,000-acre park has been left in its natural state and has an abundance of wild flowers, plants and wildlife. It is not uncommon to see beavers, turkeys, muskrats, ducks, shore birds and white-tailed deer. Many of the park's hills and valleys were once campsites of Native American tribes and artifacts were uncovered when the dam was being constructed. Nearby Towns Stanton is 4 miles from the park. Red Oak, the county seat, is 12 miles away. Villisca is 10 miles from the park and has a golf course.
This trail is well-demarcated, treed and easy. There is plenty of flora and fauna and subtle beauty abounds. There are places to rest. Part of the trail on the west side of the lake has numbered signs that makes me think there is a trail map, but I didn't find any at the campsite. Lovely place for a peaceful hike!