Situated on the Cedar River near Cedar Rapids, Palisades-Kepler State Park is a beautiful, 840-acre retreat. You’ll find abundant wildlife and lush forests, along with river bluffs and dramatic ravines. Beyond the natural wonders, the park has an interesting past as well, filled with the remains of a wooly mammoth and Indian Mounds from Native American tribes. Locals began camping in the area as early as the 1890s, and it became quite a popular destination for summer getaways in the early 1900s.
The campground provides both electric and non-electric sites with modern shower and restroom facilities. There are 44 campsites in total, with 26 offering electric. All campsites are available for reservation through the online reservation system. In addition to the campground, four family cabins are also available (three of the four are dog-friendly), each able to accommodate four travelers, with restrooms and a kitchen (though you must bring your own bedding, towels, dinnerware, and etc.). A 1930s lodge is additionally on site, though it is not available for stays — just events.
Amenities and activities at the campground include a boat launch, dump station, fishing, hiking, picnic areas and rock climbing. Within 10 miles, you can easily get into town to find shopping and golfing.
Fires are only permitted in the fire grills provided. Swimming is allowed in the river, but guests are cautioned to refrain from doing so, as there are dangerous currents. Another thing to consider is the general hilliness of the area, as some of the sites do experience slight sloping, which can be an inconvenience to some.
All camping sites are dog-friendly. Though this is a relatively safe area for your dog (few wildlife or terrain dangers to worry about), you’ll still want to keep a sharp eye on them, and never leave your dog unaccompanied at your campsite.