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part ofRathbun Lake, US Army Corps of Engineers
Status: Open through Tue Sep 29 2015   Season Dates


Buck Creek Campground is located on beautiful Rathbun Lake, just 9 miles northwest of Centerville, Iowa. Camping, boating, swimming, fishing, and picnicking are popular activities at this lakefront campground.

Natural Features:

Rathbun Lake is situated in the gently rolling hills of the Chariton River Valley in southeast Iowa. The campground consists of open grassy areas dotted with trees.

Bald eagles, white-tailed deer, Canada geese, wild turkey, and other wildlife can be found at Rathbun Lake.


The 11,000-acre lake provides a variety of fishing opportunities for any angler. Crappie, channel catfish, walleye, and largemouth bass are most common.

Although power boating is also popular, the prevailing winds on Rathbun Lake, also known as Iowa's Ocean, make it one of the best sailing lakes in Iowa.


This campground offers 42 sites with electric hookups. Amenities include flush and pit toilets, showers, drinking water, a dump station, boat ramp and playground. A marina and bait shop are located nearby.

Nearby Attractions:

The Rathbun Fish Hatchery is located near the main dam, and offers self-guided tours Monday through Friday year-round. Hundreds of thousands of catfish and walleye are produced here each year.

Southern Iowa's only Off Highway Vehicle Park is nearby. It is located on the south bank of the South Fork Chariton River and encompasses nearly 125 acres of an abandoned rock quarry.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Boat Ramp
  • Boating
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Electric Hookups
  • Flush Toilets
  • Host
  • Marina
  • Picnic Area
  • Picnic Shelters
  • Pit Toilets
  • Playground
  • Self Pay Station
  • Showers
  • Swimming
Know Before You Go
  • Please register for campsites during booth hours, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. and 3 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • Swimming beach is located within the park, but not in the campground loops
  • If late, you must contact this park within 24 hours after your original check-in time or you will be considered a "no show" resulting in the cancelation of your reservation.
  • For more information, visit the Rathbun Lake website

To slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer to our county, we are asking Rathbun Lake visitors to:
  • Purchase firewood from a local source.
  • If you must bring your own firewood, don't leave any firewood behind at your campsite.
  • Click here for more information:http://www.dontmovefirewood.org/the-problem/state-state-information/iowa.html
    • 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):
    40.86278, -92.86778
    40°51'46"N, 92°52'4"W

    From Centerville, IA, travel 5 miles north on HWY 5 to HWY J-29, then 4 miles northwest to HWY J5T. Travel 2 miles north and follow signs to campground.

    Contact Information:

    Mailing Address:

    20112 HWY J5T
    CENTERVILLE  IA  52544-8308

    Phone Number:

    Information:  (641)724-3206
    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