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Lake Red Rock (Des Moines River)

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Title: Lake Red Rock (Des Moines River)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: National Recreation Trail, Oregon-California Trails Association, Wild Oak Trail, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Arizona Trail
Collection: Landforms of Marion County, Iowa, Reservoirs in Iowa
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Lake Red Rock (Des Moines River)

Lake Red Rock
Location Marion County, Iowa
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Des Moines River
Primary outflows Des Moines River
Catchment area 12,000 sq mi (31,080 km2)
Basin countries United States
Max. length 11 mi (18 km)
Surface area 15,520 acres (62.81 km2)
max: 70,000 acres (283.28 km2)
Surface elevation 742 ft (226 m)
USGS topographical map of Lake Red Rock, showing Red Rock Dam, and left-center, the mouth of White Breast Creek
Red Rock Dam and Lake Red Rock (Army Corps of Engineers)

Originally the city of Red Rock, Lake Red Rock, also referred to as Red Rock Reservoir is a reservoir formed by Red Rock Dam on the Des Moines River, about 55 miles southeast of the city of Des Moines, Iowa. The dam was completed in 1969 as a flood control project by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, creating the largest lake in Iowa. The lake is essentially confined to Marion County. The damface is a few miles west and south of Pella, and similarly, a few miles northeast of Knoxville.

Tremendous recreational development dominates the lakeshore, with camping, boating and fishing being the three biggest items, but trails are present also. The state maintains Elk Rock State Park on both sides of the lake while Roberts Creek and Cordova Parks are managed by the Marion County Conservation Board.

The Army Corps of Engineers maintains several campgrounds as well: White Breast Recreation Area, Ivans Recreation Area, Wallashuck Recreation Area, Howell Station Recreation Area, and the North Overlook Recreation Area. There is also a "water trail", where one can float down the Des Moines River from the southeast corner of Polk County to the lake and down to Red Rock Dam. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 4 provides boating safety education and free vessel safety checks to boaters in the area.

A major landmark is what is locally called the "Mile Long Bridge", carrying Iowa Highway 14 at its upstream end.


  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Lake Red Rock
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Corps Lake Gateway – Lake Red Rock
  • Red Rock Dam
  • EPA statistics
  • Water Quality Studies — Red Rock and Saylorville Reservoirs PDF (4.01 MiB)
  • USGS data
  • Elk Creek State Park (Iowa DNR)
  • Roberts Creek Park
  • White Breast campground
  • Red Rock Lake Association
  • Des Moines River Water Trail
  • Visit USA (commercial site)
  • Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (USGS, birdwatching site)
  • Red Rock Yacht Club
  • Hypsograph
  • Army Corps Map
  • Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 4
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