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part ofSaylorville Lake, US Army Corps of Engineers
Status: Open through Wed Sep 30 2015   Season Dates


Bob Shetler Picnic Area is a day-use facility located in the tailwater area below Saylorville Dam, and is a popular destination for shoreline fishermen.

The 26,000-acre Saylorville Lake Project stretches over 50 miles up the Des Moines River Valley. The lake provides a wide variety of recreational activities, including boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and hunting.

Natural Features:

Large shade trees dot the open grassy land around the picnic area, which offers pleasant views of the Des Moines River.

Wildlife is abundant throughout the project. White-tailed deer, turkeys, pheasants, waterfowl, and other small game animals roam the lands around the lake.


Visitors come to Saylorville Lake for its great boating, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing and swimming opportunities. Anglers fish for walleye, wiper, largemouth bass, catfish, crappie and northern pike.

The paved Neal Smith Trail winds 24 miles from Des Moines to Big Creek State Park and connects the campgrounds on the east side of the lake. It is designated as a National Recreation Trail and is used for biking, hiking, jogging, walking and in-line skating.


The day-use area offers two large group picnic areas with water and electric hookups. Amenities include flush toilets, a volleyball court, playground and hiking trails.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Flush Toilets
  • Accessible Picnic Shelters
  • Accessible Playground
  • Biking
  • Electric Hookups
  • Fishing
  • Grills
  • Hiking
  • Pay Phone
  • Volleyball Courts
  • Wildlife Viewing
Less Than 1 Mile
  • Boat Ramp
Know Before You Go
  • No amplified sound system without a permit
  • If shelters are not reserved, they are available free of charge on a first come, first served basis
  • Playgrounds and restrooms near shelters are open to the public
  • Click here for more information
  • Click here for a virtual tour of the Saylorville Lake area.

  • Don't Move Firewood: Protect your forests from tree-killing pests by buying your firewood locally and burning it on-site. Visit Dontmovefirewood.org for further information.

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
41.69583, -93.6825
41°41'45"N, 93°40'57"W

From I-35, take the Ankeny Exit #90 (Oralabor Road) and go west 4.8 miles; the road turns into HWY 415. Turn left (west) onto NW 37th Street and go 0.3 mile, then turn right onto NW Horseshoe Rd. Turn right and drive across the Saylorville Lake Dam to the campground.

From I-80, take Exit #135 (2nd Avenue/Highway 415) exit and go north 3.5 miles. Turn left (west) onto Oralabor Road (Highway 415) and go 2.6 miles. Turn left (west) onto NW 37th Street and go 0.3 mile, then turn right onto NW Horseshoe Rd. Turn right and drive across the Saylorville Lake Dam to the campground.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:


Discover and reserve camping, lodging, permits, tours and more at America's parks, forests, monuments and other public lands with Recreation.gov. Learn more about us, or about any of our agency partners below:
Bureau of Land Management Federal Highway Administration National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration Smithsonian Institution USDA Forest Service US Army Corps of Engineers US Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tennessee Valley Authority Bureau of Reclamation National Archives Records Administration