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Fort Defiance State Park

Named after a mid-19th century fort once located in the nearby town of Estherville, Iowa, Fort Defiance State Park is a 221-acre recreation park surrounded by woodlands, farmlands and hiking trails. Understandably, its rugged scenery makes it a popular choice for nature lovers looking to escape the city and enjoy some time away in the great outdoors.

While Fort Defiance State Park offers a very basic non-modern campground with no restroom facilities, there are some campsites that offer electrical hookups for RVs. Nestled among the oak trees, wildflowers and open prairies you can enjoy hiking, bird watching and countryside picnics.

In the winter months, half of the park’s six miles of multi-use trails are groomed for cross-country skiing. Please note that reservations are not available at Fort Defiance State Park.


Transportation

Driving

The entrance to Fort Defiance State Park can be found on 360th Avenue, off Highway 9 in Estherville, Iowa. Once inside the park, there are no obvious driving restrictions – just keep an eye out for any low-hanging branches if you’re traveling in a large rig or RV.

Parking is available for day visitors inside the park but if you’re staying overnight, you can also park in the campground. Once you’ve set up camp, you can get around by foot or by bike along the various trails.


Camping Accomodations

30'

Max RV length

30'

Max trailer length
  • Electrical hookup
  • Water hookup
  • Generator use
  • Food storage
  • Sewer hookup
  • Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in Fort Defiance State Park

2021 Keystone RV Hideout easy/haul
2021 Keystone RV Hideout easy/haul
2021 Travel trailer21 ft
Cunningham, KY
Sleeps 3
$95 /night
Happily Ever Housers' Fully Renovated RV with Style
Happily Ever Housers' Fully Renovated RV with Style
2022 Travel trailer33 ft
Paducah, KY
5 (4) Sleeps 6
$125 /night
THE SERENE RETREAT
THE SERENE RETREAT
2021 Travel trailer32 ft
Jackson, MO
5 (1) Sleeps 9
$125 /night
McCoy's Family Friendly Camper Rental
McCoy's Family Friendly Camper Rental
2021 Travel trailer33 ft
Benton, KY
Sleeps 10
$115 /night
2019 Forest River Salem
2019 Forest River Salem
2019 Travel trailer38 ft
Calvert city, KY
5 (1) Sleeps 10
$120 /night
Family Friendly 2022 Forest River Sabre!
Family Friendly 2022 Forest River Sabre!
2022 Fifth-wheel43 ft
Fredericktown, MO
Sleeps 8
$175 /night
BRAND NEW! 2023 Dutchmen Coleman Light 32ft
BRAND NEW! 2023 Dutchmen Coleman Light 32ft
2023 Travel trailer32 ft
Cape Girardeau, MO
5 (1) Sleeps 8
$135 /night
2022 Prime time RV Avenger 24BHS
2022 Prime time RV Avenger 24BHS
2022 Travel trailer28 ft
Hardin, KY
5 (4) Sleeps 8
$125 /night

Campsites in Fort Defiance State Park

Reservations Camping
First-Come-First-Served Camping
Non-Modern Campground

Fort Defiance State Park has a basic campground without any showers or flush toilets so it is not ideal for tent campers. Some sites offer electrical hookups for RVs. Please note that you will require a camping permit from the park office to stay here. Reservations are not accepted for Fort Defiance State Park.

Facilities within the park include picnic areas, a day-use lodge, nature trails, and multi-purpose trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. The campground is pet-friendly.


Lakes Nearby Fort Defiance State Park


Seasonal Actvities in Fort Defiance State Park

In-Season
Hiking

There are six miles of multi-purpose trails in Fort Defiance State Park. Leading through the woods, hilltops and prairies, these trails are popular for hikers and bird watchers in the summer months. In the winter months, two miles of these same trails are groomed for cross-country skiing and there are a further 0.59 miles of non-groomed trails.

Horse Riding

Fort Defiance State Park also has equestrian trails available. Day visitors and campers can horse ride on five miles of the park’s six miles of trails, including Prairie Loop, Flume, Ridge and South Prairie Loop, and the West Prairie Loop and Spring Creek.

Picnics

Picnicking is a popular pastime in Fort Defiance State Park, especially on a sunny day. Both day visitors and campers can make use of the scenic picnic areas and shelters available within the park. A day-use lodge is available for groups and events. A free open picnic shelter is available on a first come, first served basis.

Off-Season
Winter Sports

Various sections of the six miles of hiking trails in Fort Defiance State Park are open to winter sports during the off season. There are two miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing and less than a mile of non-groomed trails available.

Winter Hikes

The six miles of hiking trails at Fort Defiance State Park are perfect for winter hikes and snowshoeing in the off season. Take note that two miles of these trails are groomed for cross-country skiing only.

Winter Picnics

The picnic areas at Fort Defiance State Park can be enjoyed all year round. An open shelter is available on a first come, first served basis and is free of charge. Pack a picnic to enjoy in the park’s picnic areas and enjoy the winter views from the scenic overlooks.


Seasonal Temps in Fort Defiance State Park

Looking forward to your next adventure at Fort Defiance State Park? Don't forget to plan ahead! Weather can be unpredictable, but we've got you covered. On average, air temperatures during this time of year range from a high around 70°F (21°C) to a low around 47°F (9°C). Of course, these are just historical averages, so be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way. For the most up-to-date weather information, be sure to check out our Weather Bar located at the top of this page.

More Area Places To Stay

Not into camping or RVing? Here are some other options for you to stay near Fort Defiance State Park:
State park information provided in part by our friends at Outdoorsy.
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