When my wife and I started shopping for a new travel trailer last year, we scouted out areas close to home for easy camping on short weekends and kept coming back to Saylorville Lake. Having lived in Iowa most of my life and growing up around the Des Moines area, I have spent plenty of time over the years hanging out and driving around the Saylorville Lake area. Everyone we talked to that camped kept recommending Prairie Flower Campground located on Saylorville Lake.
Saylorville Lake is a 26,000-acre Corp of Engineers project in the Des Moines River Valley. Located about 25 minutes north of the Good Life RV – Des Moines location, Saylorville Lake provides plenty of activities that include Boating, Fishing, Kayaking, Hiking, and Hunting. Saylorville Lake also has a nice Marina on the North side of the lake and there is gas, groceries, and restaurants available a short drive away in either Des Moines, Ankeny, or Polk City.
One of the four campgrounds located around Saylorville Lake, Prairie Flower Campground is on the east side of the lake and the campground is broken up into the North and South ends. In total there are 153 family sites and 10 group loops. The North section of the campgrounds contains the 10 group loops and 18 of the family sites that are perfect if you have a group of people wanting to all camp together. The remainder of the family sites are in the South campground area which is broken up into four loops: Aster, Blazingstar, Coneflower, and Dogbane.
The sites are all electric only with 20, 30, and 50 amp plugs, but there is fresh water available not only at the well-kept dump site near the entrance, but also throughout the campgrounds via well spigots. All main roads through both the North and South campground areas are paved as are all of the group loops. The one family loop in the North campground, as well as the Aster loop of the South campground, have gravel sites, but are very level. All sites in Blazingstar and Coneflower area very level concrete pads and Dogbane is a mix of both gravel and concrete sites. The sites are all equipped with nice picnic tables and a fire ring with cooking grates.
Located throughout each of the loops are well maintained and modern bathhouses and extra parking for visitors. Have pets? Feel free to bring them, just make sure to keep them leashed up and pick up after them. How about kids? Bring them too! Aster and Coneflower Loops have very nice, modern play areas for them to enjoy.
Each of the loops at Prairie Flower has their own “personality”. For example, looking for a quiet area in the trees and off the regular flow of traffic? Then take a look at the Dogbane loop. Looking for great views of the lake, spectacular sunsets, and plenty of room to spread out? Then look no further than Coneflower Loop. Have a group of campers, RV’s, or tents that all want to be together? Then check out the Group Loops.
All in all, the Iowa Corp of Engineers has done a wonderful job with their campgrounds and Prairie Flower has to be at the top of the list. To date, in Iowa, this is by far our favorite place to camp. But if you want to camp there, make sure you reserve ahead of time or be ready to grab a last minute opening as this favorite camping spot for many fills up quick, especially the Blazingstar and Coneflower loops. Reservations open up six months prior so keep your eyes open.
Review by Eric M.
US Army Corp of Engineers: Saylorville