Hickory Grove Park

67464 250th Street, Colo IA 50056

Hickory Grove Park is the largest and most popular of Story County Conservation's parks. This 445-acre multiple-use recreational area southwest of Colo contains a 98-acre lake. 


  • Camping
  • 100-acre lake; newly restored and stocked with largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, black crappie, and walleye
  • Sand beach (no lifeguards on duty -- swimming is at your own risk)
    • An alcohol-free area exists on and around the beach from the north boat ramp (not including the ramp area) to and including the Supervised Youth Camping Area. No alcohol of any kind or size may be possessed or consumed.
  • Two enclosed lodges (Oriole Ridge or Snow Bunting) available by online reservation
    • fireplaces, electrical outlets, outside grills, and water nearby
  • Five open picnic shelters (first-come, first-served)
  • Hiking trails -- complete loop around lake is about 3 miles
  • Picnic sites with tables and grills
  • Public hunting is allowed only in the two game management areas on the south side of the park. No target practice is allowed. Only non-toxic ammunition is allowed.
  • Archery Range (no fee; first-come, first-served; no firearms; must bring own targets)
  • Winter activities including ice fishing, cross-county skiing, and snowmobiling


The history of a park starts well before it is ever called a park. The land now called Hickory Grove Park began as a home to many people. At different times to Baxoje (bah-kho-dzhe), or Ioway nation, and the Meskwaki and Sauk nations all lived here and cared for this land. 

In 1960, six families sold land near an area known as the "Big Grove" to SCC, and in 1968 Hickory Grove Park opened, becoming Story County's largest park. Initially it took two years for the lake to fill completely! In its early years, the beach would see over 2,000 swimmers a day on the weekend. The ranger residence also served as the administrative offices and hub for all of SCC's staff. 

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