Ledges State Park Flooding and Renovation Update

MADRID, Iowa  --  Ledges State Park has had a challenging year, it’s dealt with severe weather and several renovation projects. One of those projects kept the campgrounds closed all year, but they are expected to open in a few months!

The campgrounds closed for renovations in January of this year and will open again, exactly one year later, in January 2019. They have made some big changes.

“Much of what we did as far as this renovation project was based on trends that we saw and feedback from visitors who used the park before the renovation project,” Ledges State Park Manager Andy Bartlett said.

They upgraded the electrical service, the water and sewer utilities, and new rock beds. Bartlett said the park won’t look entirely different than before, but they went from 40 to 69 electric sites. They added 15 full hook up sites with a water pump, electricity and a grill. Now the park is putting in the finishing touches like setting up signs and painting the indoor showers before the campground opens up again January 1st.

“Some bigger sites, some full hook up amenities that we didn’t have before, 50-amp electrical service. We’re still going to maintain some non-electric sites in our hike-in camping for those who like to tent camp and kind of get away from it all. So, we have a little bit of everything for everybody,” Bartlett said.

The campgrounds were not the only thing closed this year, the main road through Ledges has only been open for about a month. It closed again in early September because of flooding. Ledges said the path should be open again by November 1st.

Right now, Ledges is on the back end of round two of flooding this summer. It first flooded in June into mid-July which forced the re-route of RAGBRAI around Ledges instead of through the park. Ledges is close enough to Saylorville Lake that when the lake reaches a high capacity the water tends to pool in the lower parts in the park. The four-mile road through Ledges is a one-way road that is too narrow to open up to two-way traffic. There is not a good turn around spot for cars, so the park has to close the entire road when water floods the lower end of it. But even though the road is closed to vehicles, you can still get into the park.

“You could park at the top where the gate is closed off and simply walk the road down and access a good three fourths of the road, and see the beautiful fall colors and many of the trail heads that lead up and out from the canyon here and both sides of the valley actually have some really neat trails with some spectacular overlooks,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett said to not let the road closure discourage you from coming out because the beautiful fall colors will not last long.

“We’re probably at peak right now so if you’re planning on coming up here and visiting, this weekend coming up would be the weekend to come. Usually it can vary I’ve seen it as early as the last weekend in September, but things are holding on well this year and we’re probably going to hit our peak this weekend and then it will decline from there,” Bartlett said.