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Camping at Bob Shetler Recreation Area

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Overview of Bob Shetler Recreation Area

Bob Shetler Recreation Area is a popular camping and outdoor spot situated within Saylorville Lake Park, which is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This area offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy the Saylorville Lake, which is located on the Des Moines River in central Iowa, just north of the city of Des Moines. The recreation area provides various amenities suited for families, groups, and individuals looking to enjoy outdoor activities.

Camping Facilities and Reservations

The recreation area offers camping facilities where visitors can set up tents or park RVs. Sites are equipped with electrical hookups, and the park includes amenities such as:

  • Picnic tables
  • Fire rings
  • Drinking water
  • Flush toilets and showers

Campsites are available for both reservation and first-come, first-served basis. To guarantee a spot, particularly during peak season or holidays, it is advisable to make a reservation in advance. Reservations can usually be made online through the Recreation.gov website or by calling their reservation line.

Activities and Recreation

Visitors to the Bob Shetler Recreation Area can enjoy a variety of recreational activities such as:

  • Boating: With access to Saylorville Lake, boating enthusiasts can take to the water. There are boat ramps available for launching.
  • Fishing: The lake is known for various species, including bass, crappie, and catfish. Make sure you have an Iowa fishing license if you plan to fish.
  • Hiking: The area offers hiking trails for all skill levels, providing a chance to enjoy the scenic landscape.
  • Swimming: There are designated swimming areas for cooling off on hot summer days.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The park is a habitat for diverse wildlife, and bird watching is a popular activity.

Rules and Regulations

To preserve the natural beauty and ensure the safety of all visitors, several rules and regulations are enforced at Bob Shetler Recreation Area:

  • Quiet Hours: Typically from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Pets: Pets are usually allowed but must be kept on a leash and under control at all times.
  • Firewood: To prevent the spread of pests, bringing in outside firewood may be prohibited. Firewood is often available for purchase on-site.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol policies can vary, and it is important to check the current regulations regarding alcohol consumption within the park.
  • Speed Limit: In camping areas, the speed limit is normally 15 mph, to ensure the safety of all visitors.

Seasons and Weather

The camping season typically runs from early spring until late fall. Before planning a trip, check the specific operating dates as they can vary from year to year. Iowa's weather can be unpredictable, with hot summers and cold winters, so it's important to be prepared for a range of temperatures and conditions, especially if camping in shoulder seasons.


Bob Shetler Recreation Area usually has campsites and facilities that are ADA-accessible. Visitors with disabilities can expect accessible restrooms, showers, and campsites. Check the park's website or contact the park office for specific information about accessibility features.

Contact Information and Location

For current information and details about the Bob Shetler Recreation Area, it's always a good idea to contact the park directly or visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website for Saylorville Lake. Additionally, information can be obtained from:

  • Park Office: Usually provides brochures, maps, and staff to answer questions.
  • Park Rangers: On-site for assistance and enforcing rules and regulations.

The exact address and GPS coordinates can be found online, making it easy to locate and plan your visit.

Remember: Always check the latest information before traveling, as conditions, facilities, and policies may change.

Location of Bob Shetler Recreation Area
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