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Big Hollow Recreation Area
Vital Stats:       

Big Hollow

  • 798 total acres
  • 178 acre lake with beach, fishing jetties and boat ramp
    • Download a topographic map of the lake with GPS locations of fish structures (PDF)
  • 25, 50, 100, and 300 meter shooting ranges (requires certification)
  • Observatory run by SE Iowa Astronomy Club
  • 3-D archery course run by Flint River Bowhunters Association
  • Model Airplane field run by Burlington Model Airplane Club
  • Campground 
  • Primitive Cabin                       
  • Numerous small ponds
  • Extensive trail system, some trails equestrian accessible

10 miles north of Burlington on Hwy 61, then 3 miles west on Pleasant Grove Rd., then 1/2 mile south on 152nd Ave.

Take me there!
Interactive GIS Map

CanoeingBig Hollow is Des Moines County's premiere outdoor recreation destination. It is home to a 30+ site RV campground next to a 178-acre lake with a swimming beach and public boat ramp that provides boating access to the lake. Only a few years ago, the area that is now the lake was forest and trails; today, most of the trees still stand, their canopies rising above the water, making the lake a fish Campingand wildlife haven like no other around. The lake features excellent bluegill, crappie, channel cat, and bass fishing opportunity either by boat or from the shore. And the alcohol-free beach is a great family attraction Beachduring the summer months. For anglers looking for a quieter setting, Big Hollow Recreation Area offers numerous other small ponds within its borders, all of which offer great fishing opportunities throughout the year.

Big Hollow is open to public hunting and features quality deer, turkey, upland and small game hunting opportunity. The open lands are actively managed for upland game and the diversity of forest types on the property offer a variety of habitats for various woodland species. The extensive trail system throughout the area gives hunters access to parts far from main roads.

The area offers year round recreational opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast including ice fishing and cross country skiing in the winter and hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing all year round. Plans for a 20-mile recreation trail, the Flint River Trail, linking the city of Burlington to Big Hollow, are underway. The trail project has been a cooperative effort between the City of Burlington and Des Moines County. The trail, anticipated to be complete by 2013, will greatly contribute to Big Hollow's existing popularity among outdoor enthusiasts.

Youth shootingBig Hollow Recreation Area is home to a 25, 50, 100, and 300 meter outdoor shooting range. Each of the ranges have a ten person covered firing line with wood and concrete benches. Membership is required to use the range.
What are you doing this weekend?

Planned development: Big Hollow is still undergoing development. Plans for the area include the construction of a beachside bathhouse & concession stand, full hookup RV campsites & bathhouse, and 4 large furnished rental cabins featuring wireless internet, indoor plumbing, & electricity. The continued development of Big Hollow will only progress as funding allows. Since most of the funding for the project must come from grants and private donations, YOU can help make the planned developments a reality.

Find out how to donate.

Fishing Tournaments:
If you are planning a fishing event at Big Hollow, you must apply for a permit with the DNR. We also require that groups contact the DMCC Adminstration Office at (319) 753-8260 so that scheduling conflicts may be avoided.

 Big Hollow Lake
Des Moines County Conservation
Main Office
13700 Washington Rd.
West Burlington, IA 52655

Ph: (319) 753-8260

Big Hollow Maintenance Shops
18829 Ranger Lane
Sperry, Iowa 52650

Ph: (319) 985-2502
Park physical address
18853 152nd Ave.
Sperry, IA 52650

  1. Park hours are 6 am - 10:30 pm
  2. Camping permitted in designated areas only 
  3. No motor vehicles allowed on trails
  4. Pets must be on leash
  5. Horseback riding is permitted on designated trails only when conditions are such that no damage will be done to the trail surface
  6. Fires in grills and fire rings only
  7. Do not pick, cut, or destroy vegetation
  8. Public hunting is permitted following all state laws governing public lands 
  9. Permit required to use the Big Hollow Shooting Range
  10. All boats must operate at no wake on the lake. There are no motor size restrictions
  11. Report all accidents to a park ranger or County Conservation office (319) 753-8260

  1. No alcohol on beach or in parking lot
  2. No littering
  3. No pets on beach
  4. No fires
  5. No swimming beyond buoys
  6. No glass containers
  7. No lifeguard on duty
  8. Beach Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.


Des Moines County Conservation: 319-753-8260

Des Moines County Sheriff Department: 319-753-8366