South Tailwater Picnic Shelter

Lake Red Rock

South Tailwater Picnic Shelter is located on the Des Moines River on the south end of Red Rock Dam adjacent from the visitor center on Lake Red Rock, Iowa's largest lake. It is just 10 minutes from Pella, known for its Dutch heritage, and 15 minutes from Knoxville, the Sprint car capital of the world. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, biking and viewing wildlife.  

For more information regarding the Army Corps of Engineers and the Lake Red Rock Project, click here: Lake Red Rock Website  

South Tailwater Picnic Shelter is a conventional open shelter that offers 20 amp electrical service, picnic tables, an outdoor grill, and nearby flush toilets. 

If your event is open to the public, greater than 100 people, involves live or amplified music, or if alcohol will be available to attendees, you may need an event permit. Click the link below to apply for an event permit: Special Event Permit 

If shelter is not reserved, it is available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Shelter occupancy is permitted until dusk.

Need to Know

Natural Features

South Tailwater is situated on the south bank of the Des Moines River, offering scenic views. Wildlife is abundant around the lake. A wide variety of waterfowl, including the American White Pelican, migrates through the area in spring and fall. Bald eagles can be observed from November through March. White-tailed deer, turkeys and other small animals are commonly viewed around the lake.

Nearby Attractions

Lake Red Rock is just 10 minutes from Pella, known for its Dutch heritage, and 15 minutes from Knoxville, the Sprint car capital of the world. Des Moines, Iowa's capital, is an hour away, with numerous shopping and dining opportunities, museums and the Blank Park Zoo.


Lake Red Rock offers excellent boating, water skiing and swimming opportunities. Miles of water trails for kayakers and canoeists are designated along the shoreline. Anglers will find crappie, walleye, largemouth and striped bass, channel and flathead catfish, northern pike and bluegill. Several miles of trails for hiking and biking are in the area. The 15 mile paved Volksweg Trail stretches west from Pella to the Des Moines River and to the Cordova Recreation Area.

Changes & Cancellations

A $10.00 service fee will apply if you change or cancel your reservation. The $10.00 service fee will be deducted from the refund amount. Cancel or change reservations through or by calling 1-877-444-6677. Late cancellations are subject to additional fees.

Contact Information


1106 Highway T15 Knoxville IA 50138

Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 641-828-7522

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

1006 Hwy T15 Knoxville, Iowa 50138 From Pella, Iowa, take County Highway T-15 southwest for 4 miles, then follow signs to South Tailwater Recreation Area.

Available Campsites

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