Fort Defiance State Park is mostly comprised of rugged woodland covered with lush vegetation on 191 acres of land in Estherville City, Emmet County, Iowa. To get to the main entrance of the park, just travel one mile west of the Estherville off the IA 9.
The park gets its name from the former Fort Defiance that was an actual fort built in 1862 that stood to protect a local gristmill and sawmill during the Dakota War of 1862. The fort was built at a time when about 40% of the male population of Emmet County had left to fight for the Union Army during the American Civil War. In 1930, the park was opened to the public after construction had been undertaken by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression.
Today, Fort Defiance State Park is a great place to relax and have a great day outside owing to the quiet environment covered with lush vegetation and several looping trails across the land. Some of the vegetation includes plants like Plum, Hawthorn, Bloodroot, Trillium, Hepatica, Violets and Locust. The main tree in the park is the Oak which is the state tree.
Fort Defiance State Park is popular for several activities including camping, hiking, snowmobiling, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. Some of the amenities at the park to facilitate these activities include a day-use rental lodge, trails, 16 non-modern campsites, and an open picnic shelter.
Like all other state parks in Iowa, you are allowed to bring your dog into the park at no cost. If you choose to bring your dog with you, you must adhere to Iowa state park rules including the following rules. First, your dog must always be on a leash no longer than six feet long or must be confined. Dogs are not allowed to wander around aimlessly at the park and the dogs must always be attended to by the owner. That said, dogs are allowed into camping tents and cabins/yurts areas, although there is a limit of only two dogs per designated cabin or yurt.