Union County Conservation



The Lakes of Union County


Union County's High Lakes offer an array of outdoor recreational opportunities unmatched in south central Iowa.  Five lakes and 2500 acres of publicly owned woodland and prairie...all conveniently located within a 20 mile radius.  Come and Enjoy!!!

Green Valley State Park
Including Water skiing, Fishing, and Swimming.
The trophy bass lake also provides great opportunities for channel catfish, crappie and bluegill.  Over 14 miles of hiking trails, open water for power boating and skiiing, a sand beach with buoyed swimming area and a huge modern campground with 145 campsites as well as four-season cabins make this area a special attraction.  The 360-acre lake and 990-acre state park are located two miles northwest of Creston, Iowa.  For more information contact Green Valley State Park Ranger at 641-782-5131 or visit the following link:  Green Valley State Park.
Thayer Lake
One of the oldest man-made lakes in Iowa!
Primitive Camping
...is welcome anywhere around this 10-acre spring-fed lake and 47-acre nature area.  This small park offers a secluded, almost cathedral-like setting amid stately centenarian oak and shagbark history.  Pitch your tent or bring your camper.

Electric camping is available to accomodate 8 camping units.  Fee: $10.00 per night.
Fishing...Built by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in 1870 as a water supply for steam locomotives along their newly completed main line.  Thayer Lake's water level fluctuates little in dry or wet years because it is spring-fed.  Since the lake's watershed is small and has never contained much tilled land, sedimentation during its nearly 130-year history has been minimal.  Though fishing boats are allowed, most regulars do just as well angling from the shoreline.
Summit Lake
Summit Lake offers prize catches of channel catfish along with crappie, largemouth bass, and bluegill.  A concrete boat ramp just off the Summit Lake Bridge on State Highway 25, offers easy all-weather access for fishermen.  Mitchell Marsh, a large wetland area at the upper end of the lake, provides excellent waterflow habitat and in-season hunting.
Twelve Mile Lake
Located four miles east of Creston, just off U.S. Highway34, Twelve Mile Lake is surrounded by 1,000 acres of upland game habitat.  Prairie woodlands above the lake are open to in-season hunting of whitetail deer, wild turkey, pheasant, and other upland species.  Fishing... Channel catfish, walleye, crappie, bluegill, and bass offer angling opportunities year round.  Shoreline access is available through three boat ramps.  Boaters may operate at no-wake speeds only.  Shallow shoreline areas offer excellent duck and goose hunting.
Three Mile Watershed Project... Taking the Initiative on Clean Water
Three Mile lake Reservoir was completed in 1995, with three primary objectives:  good drinking water, flood control, and recreation.  The Three Mile Watershed Pollution Prevention Project was initiated in 1991, long before lake construction began.  Its purpose was to help reduce the potential  for sediment, chemicals, fertilizers, and manure entering the lake.  The project, one the first in the nation to take this preventive approach to water protection, offers technical help to farmers and information to producers and public.  Started by local individuals and organizations, Three Mile Watershed Project has become a multi-agency effort, one of 74 projects that are part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Water Quality Initiative.  This project was funded in part with Water Protection funds through the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship - Division of Soil Conservation.  These funds were used to assist farmers in the installation of many of the practices in place around the lake.
Fishing.. Acres of underwater structures make for some of the best fish habitat in Iowa.  Bring your own boat, use one of the 10 fishing jetties, or explore nearly miles of shoreline for your own "best" spot.  For those with special needs, there is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier.  Primary species include musky, walleye, large and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish.
Boating.. The lower portion of the lake is open to sailing, power boating and water skiing (sorry, no inboards or jet skis).  "No-Wake" boating is permitted on remainder of the lake.

Wildlife.. Hundreds of acres of cover and food plots create a habitat teeming with songbirds, waterfowl and upland game.  Whitetail deer and wild turkey abound along with cottontail, squirrel, pheasant, and quail.
Waterfowl.. The lake has quickly become a mecca for migrating ducks and geese.  Waterflow hunting is permitted, except for Canada Goose.  Three Mile Lake and the surrounding wildlife area is designated as a Canada Goose Refuge.

Cabins.. All-weather rental cabins at the modern campground provide a genuine year round attraction.  The 14 x 18-foot log frame units are equipped with self-contained heating and air conditioning units, electricity, basic furnishings and sleeping accommodations for up to six people.  Accessible showers, sinks and flush toilets are available nearby at a heated year round comfort station.  The concession cabin holds 10 people with a hydrant and a pit latrine.  
     Accomodations:  All cabins are furnished with: 2 sets of bunk beds, a fold-out couch, table and chairs, dorm sized fridge, and a microwave.  Outside there is: a picnic table, charcoal grill, a fire ring for each cabin, and 2 water hydrants are shared by the cabins.  You will need to bring:  sleeping gear (sleeping bag, sheets, blankets, pillow, etc.)  cooking supplies and equipment, eating utensils, etc.  There is no plumbing in the cabins.
     Cabin Fees:  Sunday through Thursday year round:  $55.00 per night.  Fridays and Saturdays year round: $65.00 per night
     Lakeshore Cabin Fees:  Sunday through Thursday year round:  $70.00 per night.  Fridays and Saturdays year round:  $80.00 per night
Reservations for cabins can be made by logging on to www.mycountyparks.com. If you have any questions please call the Union County Conservation Board at (641) 347-5100.  Reservations can be made for one night except Friday and Saturday.

Camping.. The two campgrounds over looking the lake have 80 sites to accommodate recreational vehicles, trailers and tent campers.  Each site has electrical hookups.  Water is available along with picnic sites, a fish cleaning station and dump station.  Showers, sinks and flush toilets are available nearby at the year round comfort station.  Campsites are available on a first come - first served basis.  Reservations are NOT accepted.
     Camping Fees:  Electric Hook-up sites (80 of them) are $17.00 per night.  Tent camping (in designated area) is $10.00 per night.  

Lodge.. Over looking the lake is the newest addition to Three-Mile Lake Park, Three-Mile Lake Lodge, a 36' x 84', a log structure which is available for rent by the public year round.  This multi-purpose building has quickly become a popular spot for many different types of activities.  The lodge has been host to wedding ceremonies and receptions, several local school proms, reunions, anniversaries, birthdays, and banquets.  Inside of the building, the upstairs level boasts an impressive 1800 square feet, with a dance floor in the middle of it.  There is also a full kichen and large restroom facilities.  The lower level has the same main room, with a warming kitchen and slightly smaller restroom facilities.  The walls are finished with wood siding, giving a rustic appearance with many modern conveniences

For more information or to make reservations for the Lodge or the Cabins, please call the Union County Conservation office at 641-347-5100.

Doug Jones
Union County Conservation


Joe Mayhew - Park Ranger
Mike Hilger - Park Ranger

Union County Conservation
Telephone 641-347-5100
Fax 641-347-5102

Union County Conservation Office
1577 Creamery Road
Afton, IA  50830
(Frequently Asked Questions)