Dakins Lake & Praeri Rail Trail


For more information, please visit 
Dakins Lake Expansion
Dakins Lake is located on the north side of E-18.




Dakins Lake



Located on the north side of Zearing, Dakins Lake includes remnant and restored prairie, successional timber, trails, and 20 acres of open water in two lakes. The 103-acre park offers hiking, camping, fishing, picnicking, bird watching, geocaching, and a natural playscape.  Hunting and trapping are prohibited.

Location

70613 130th Street, Zearing, IA  50278

Features

  • Fishing on the twenty-acre lake stocked with large & small mouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, yellow perch and channel catfish. 
  • Picnicking throughout the park including one picnic shelter with a kitchenette available for reservation.
  • The main campground has 11 full hook-up sites ($24 a night) and 18 sites with electricity and water ($17 a night).  A shower house is available in the main campground.
  • The primitive campground has 10 camp sites with electrical hookups; water hydrants and portable toilet on site. ($15 a night). 
  • Supervised youth camping site:  The fee is $20.00 per night; reservations are required by calling 515-232-2516.
  • Pets must be kept on leashes in the camping and playground areas.
  • Hiking and off-road biking on the park's two miles of trails.
  • Small restored prairie and wooded areas.
  • Only electric trolling motors are allowed on Story County Conservation Lakes; gasoline-powered motors are prohibited. 
  • Snowmobiling is allowed during posted park hours on lake ice only. Operation must be in compliance with Iowa Code 321G.
  • Golf carts and off-road utility vehicles are allowed to operate on the roads at Dakins Lake during the hours of sunrise to sunset.  In compliance with Iowa Code 321I and vehicles must be equipped with adequate brakes, a slow moving vehicle sign, a bicycle safety flag, and carry no more than the number of passengers designated by the manufacturer.  Operators must have a valid driver’s license and follow all park rules. Vehicles cannot be operated in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner. Golf carts, ATVs, and off-road utility vehicles are allowed to operate on the lake ice at Dakins Lake during posted park hours.         

Operating Hours & Seasons

Park hours are 5:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. daily.

Closures

This area is open year round.  Campgrounds are closed November 1 - March 31.

  • The campground may be opened prior to April 1 or closed after October 31 pending favorable weather & ground conditions.
  • Water and modern restrooms/shower facilities may be closed to prevent freezing even though the campground may remain open.


Praeri Rail Trail



The Praeri Rail Trail is a 10.5-mile recreational corridor that runs from Roland through McCallsburg to Highway 65 west of Zearing.
 
The section of abandoned railway was acquired by the county in 1978, and development began in the spring of 1979. The spelling of the word "Praeri" is in recognition of the area's strong Norwegian heritage. Many native prairie remnants can be seen adjacent to the trail. Sections of the trail at Roland and McCallsburg have a limestone surface; the remainder of the trail is mowed grass and may be difficult for all but off-road (mountain) bikes.  Access to the trail is easiest from the Roland City Park at the northeast edge of town (North Park Street and National Street) and from McCallsburg.
   

Location

Runs between Roland and Zearing and parallels E-18.

            Roland – Trailhead at North Park and National Street.

            McCallsburgparallel to E-18/ Dubois Avenue/130th St., just east of the railroad tracks.

            Zearing.25 miles north of 135th Street on the east side of Highway 65 or .05 miles south of Main Street and Highway 65.

Features

Recreational opportunities along the trail include:
  • Summer trail uses such as hiking, biking, jogging, and horseback riding.
  • Winter recreation, including cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.(Snowmobiles are allowed on the trail when there is sufficient snow cover. All other motorized vehicles are prohibited.)
  • Viewing wildlife, picking wild strawberries, raspberries, plums, and mulberries, and enjoying nature.
  • Public hunting - Sections of the trail are open to public hunting and  trapping.  The miles of trail adjacent  to a city boundary are closed to these  activities.  Please get permission to hunt within 200 yards of any occupied buildings.

Operating Hours & Seasons

Trail hours are 5:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. daily.

Closures

This area is open year round.