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.
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.
Bob Shetler Campground and Picnic Shelters at Saylorville Lake will be closed throughout the 2024 recreation season to facilitate upgrades and repairs to water and sewer line systems. The fishing areas near the outlet at Bob Shetler will remain available for use during the 2024 closure.
Special Event Permits are required for inflatable bounce houses and water features. Special Event Permits may be required for events that may impact nearby shelters, are open to the public, wedding events, company picnics etc. Please contact the Saylorville Lake Administration Office at 515-276-4656 to inquire.
Shelters may be reserved up to 4 days in advance. If shelters are not reserved, they are available free of charge on a first come, first served basis
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.
STOP THE SPREAD OF INVASIVE SPECIES. Remove plants, seeds, animals, and mud from boots, gear, pets, and vehicles. Clean your gear before entering and leaving the recreation site. Stay on designated roads and trails, and follow local guidelines for firewood. CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY boats and any other recreational equipment that contacts water. Dispose of unwanted bait, worms, fish parts, or other organisms into the trash and not into the environment. For more information visit https://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/rec.
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.
SAYLORVILLE LAKE ADMINISTRATION OFFICE 5600 NW 78TH AVE JOHNSTON IA 50131
For campground inquiries, please call: 515-276-4656
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.