Home » 2000 Cross Country Road Trip

Wilson Island State Park, IA

Tuesday, August 1, 2000 - 10:00am by Lolo
240 miles and 4.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


We were now into the long, monotonous driving days home across the plains. As I was scanning the campground guides for a nice place to stop, I couldn't help but notice how close we were to Nebraska, a state we had not yet laid claim to on our RV map. After some mental struggle, I did something that I am ashamed of today--I had Herb get off I29, cross the Missouri River into Nebraska, and drive down the west side of the river before crossing back into Iowa, just so that we could put Nebraska on our map--the infamous "Nebraska dip" as we call it today. I was not proud of what I had done, but I just want it noted that since that time, we have spent several wonderful days at Lake McConaughy in Nebraska, truly earning our claim to having visited the state.

We spent that night at a very nice state park along the banks of the Missouri River in Western Iowa, called Wilson State Park. After spending so much time out west, everything here seemed so lush and green--more like back home. I guess our trip was coming near an end.

The next morning before we left, I went for a very nice run through the De Soto National Wildlife Refuge which was adjacent to the state park. During my run, I noticed that there were tornado sirens positioned throughout the park, poised to squeal at the first signs of any tornadic activity. I guess that's a genuine concern in this area of the country. Thankfully, they were quiet now, but it reinforced the weather phobia I have every time we cross the plains.


Wilson Island State Park is located in western Iowa on the banks of the Missouri River. The park is popular for boating, fishing, and hunting. A half-mile trail along the shoreline of the Missouri River and a boat ramp provide easy access to the river. There are an additional five miles of trails that are good for hiking and mountain biking.

There is a campground with 140 well-shaded, spacious campsites.

Just to the north of the state park is the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, which has additional hiking trails and is also good for fishing, hunting, and observing wildlife, such as deer, snow geese and bald eagles.

According to historians, Lewis and Clark camped along this part of the Missouri River on their historic trip to the Pacific Coast back in 1804.

Wilson Island State Park location map in "high definition"

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