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Saylorville Lake
Description: . Saylorville Lake is a 6000 acre reservoir surrounded by 20,000 acres of land. This 26,000 acre project provides outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities on a variety of habitat types including lakes, mudflats, wetlands, grasslands, and a diversity of forests. Parks including campgrounds, picnic areas, boat ramps, and beaches provide access during the recreation season from April through October. During winter months, viewing areas include dam overlooks, the Saylorville Lake Visitor Center, Cherry Glen Boat Ramp, Bob Shelter Recreation Area and the Neal Smith Multi-purpose Trail.

Wildlife to Watch: Saylorville Lake has been listed as a globally significant birding area by the American Bird Conservancy. Large concentrations of water birds are attracted to the 6,000 acre reservoir during spring and fall migrations. Waterfowl and shorebird viewing is often best on the mudflats near Jester Park. Thousands of American White Pelicans stage on the flats beginning in August and peaking around Labor Day. Red Feather Prairie is a good place to find grassland species. Riparian species can be found downstream of the dam or at the Polk City Refuge. Woodland species may be seen in and around parks embedded in the oak ridges lining the reservoir. During the winter months, visitors enjoy watching Bald Eagles on the lake ice or along the Des Moines River below the dam. Other winter viewing includes coyote and deer on the lake ice and in wooded areas, and songbirds at the visitor center feeders. Saylorville is particularly known in birding circles for attracting rare stragglers or visitors to Iowa.

Special Tips: Birding lists are available at the Saylorville Lake Visitor Center or Administration Office.

Ownership: US Army Corps of Engineers 
Size: 26,000 Acres 
Closest Town: Polk City, IA

RestroomsParkingTent CampingFishingHikingPicnic tablesBoat LaunchSwimming

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Photo by Jonathan Wuebker, US Army Corps of Engineers
Please use Map Link below.

Driving Directions:
From I35/80 go north on Highway 141. From 141 exit on Polk City Dr/Highway 415 to Saylorville Lake.

Map Link

Saylorville Lake : Wildlife Viewing Area