Note, 641-777-4451


Saylorville Lake Corps of Engineers (COE) Parks:

Cherry Glen   (closest to Marriott Courtyard Hotel mass starts; see maps).

5600 NW 78th Ave Johnston, IA 50131  (515) 964-8792

125 sites, 50/30/20 amp.

7.5 miles from Marriott; 14 minutes driving time

MTR camping coordinators Fred & Eve Schindler have registered for site 70 at Cherry Glen. Campsites are available now at the website. Choose the first available date that is blue, then reserve through Labor Day. You will be able to cancel any days you do not plan to attend for a refund by following the registration guidelines. 


Prairie Flower  10504 NW Lake Dr.  Polk City, IA 50226 515 984-6925

154 sites, 30/50 amp.

9.4 miles from Marriott;  20 minutes driving time

1.7 miles to Cherry Glen via bike trail


Acorn Valley 9615 NW Beaver Dr. Johnston, IA 50131 (515) 276-0429

89 sites, 30/20/15 amp.

 12.2 miles from Marriott; 24 minutes driving time


Bob Shetler COE is closed for the 2024 season for renovations.


Ledges State Park (N. of Madrid near Boone)

1515 P Ave Madrid, IA 50156.  (515) 432-1852

95 sites, 30 amp, some have full hookups. $30

36.4 miles from Marriott; 40 minutes driving.


Iowa State Fairground 3000 E Grand Ave Des Moines, IA 50317  (515) 262-3111

1800 sites, $30 + per night 30/50 electric

10.2 miles from Marriott; 16 minutes driving


 $20 primitive-$25 elec-$40 FHU, Some county parks are reservable now;

Nearly all will be reservable on the website only after Jan 2, 2024.


Jester CO Park  11407 NW Jester Park Dr Granger, IA 50109  (515) 323-5338

146 sites, options include 30/20/50 amp, H2O, pull-thru

15.7 miles from Marriott; 25 minutes driving time.


Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt 8000 NE 126th Ave Maxwell IA 50161 (515)967-2596

20 sites. Some have 30/20/15amp.


Yellow Banks Co Park 6801 SE 32nd Ave Pleasant Hill, IA 50327 (515) 266-1563  60+ sites, 30/50amp.

16.9 miles from Marriott; 19 minutes driving


Thomas Mitchel Co Park 10509 NE 46th Ave Mitchellville, IA 50169 (515)967-4889

23 sites

14.6 mi. from Marriott, 22 minutes driving



Hickory Grove Park 67464 250th St. Colo, IA 50056 (515) 232-2516

100 sites

42 mi from Marriott, 49 minutes driving



Swede Point County Park 1601 322nd Ln Madrid, IA 50156  (515) 353-4237

24 elec/ sites, grass or gravel, 30 amp $18

First Come first serve only, so you would need to arrive mid-week before Labor Day and leave a small tent or other possessions on your campsite when you are not there. This campground is connected to the High Trestle Trail

28.2 mi from Marriott, 35 minutes driving



Adventureland Campground

2600 Adventureland Drive,  Altoona, IA 50009 (515) 265-7321

310 sites $60 and up, including pull-thru & FHU

  8 mi from Marriott, 12 minutes driving


Prairie Meadows Race Track&Casino (Adjacent to Adventureland) (515) 967-1000 $40-$58.

Griff’s Valley View RV Park and Campground   Sold Out

6429 NE 46th St. Altoona, IA (515) 967-5474

142 sites, including pull-thru and FHU. $40.

4.8 mi from Marriott, 8 minutes driving

Griff’s is on the Chichaqua Trail, 7 miles, via trail, from the base hotel

MAP OF SAYLORVILLE LAKE’S Corps of Engineers parks with

Official MTR Hotel (Courtyard by Marriott), and

High Trestle Trail Oasis (at top of this map):

(Note that all maps differ in scale)

For more information on all listed campgrounds, including maps,



There are a number of CAMPGROUNDS within 20 mi of Ankeny or the High Trestle Trail. However, Iowans love to camp on Labor Day Weekend, so reserve early!  To learn more about any of the campgrounds above, we recommend If you need full hookups, you may want to contact the state park or some of the private campgrounds, since the Corps of Engineers (COE) parks and many county parks offer dump stations but no sewer connections. Iowa State Fairgrounds have 1800 Full Hook-up sites. They are not beautiful, but they are only 10 miles from the Ankeny Courtyard Hotel. Fairground campsites are unlikely to sell out except during the State Fair, Aug 8-18.

If electric hookup is all you really need for a few days, we recommend the Saylorville Lake Corps of Engineers Parks. These sites are wooded; many have lake views, there are modern restroom facilities and electric connections, and the cost is $22 to $26 dollars per night - or $11 to $13 dollars per night for federal Access Pass holders! I believe Cherry Glen is the closest campground to the MTR Official Hotels: about 7.5 miles, one of which is on a bike trail.  Cherry Glen will be our first choice for the Sunday evening Camper’s Potluck dinner.

What’s the catch?  The COE campsites can only be reserved within a 6-month window of your first night’s reservation. So if you decide to arrive on August 29th (Thursday), the first day you can reserve your site is February 29, 2024. You will be able to reserve up to 2 weeks of camping from that date forward. Strongly Recommended for these COE parks : Reserve for the date you want at the earliest possible moment, which will be 9:00 a.m. Central Time on the date 6 months before you plan to arrive. You can view your future campsite at today and become familiar with the registration process on that site. Normally, this process is simple and pleasant, but Labor Day Weekend sites will always sell out, often in the first hour.  You can call the COE campground phone numbers for any info about the parks that you don’t see on their website, but rangers there cannot register a site for you. USE THE WEBSITE TO REGISTER.

FYI: We plan to reserve a pavilion at Cherry Glen Campground for a Campers’ Potluck Dinner from 5:30pm to 7pm on Sunday, September 1st, but will have to follow the process described above to reserve it 6 months in advance. More details will be available about the Campers’ Potluck when the site is reserved. Plan to stay through Sunday night 😊