Okamanpeedan Lake is a lake in the northeast corner of the U.S. state of Iowa, about one mile (1.6km) west of Pella. The lake has an area of 2,300 acres (970ha), and it lies at an elevation of 1,083 feet (330m). Okamanpeedan Lake was formed by the damming of a small creek, which itself had been impounded by a glacial lobe during the Wisconsin glaciation. Okamanpeedan means “tumbling waters” in the Fox language. This name may have referred to how quickly waterfalls eroded the shoreline or to the way water tumbled over rapids along the river.
In any case, the waterfall/rapids were apparently named for the same reason as Niagara Falls: because someone thought they resembled a waterfall. Okamanpeedan’s major geographic features are called Pecansill Point, Sand Bar, East Bluff, North Bluff, Little Island, and West Island. These names reflect their relative locations on the north, south, east, and west sides of the lake. Okamanpeedan also has two smaller lakes, Left Bay and Right Bay, which are located off of Sand Bar Road on the eastern side of the lake. They each have an area of approximately 100 acres (40ha).
There are several parks around Okamanpeedan including; Woodstock Beach, Camping World, Silver Sands, and Riverside. A paved trail runs all the way around the perimeter of the lake with many access points. It is mostly flat land with some hills that average no more than 200 feet (61m) in height. Most of the shore is public land, but there are private parcels too. Okamanpeedan has become very popular among tourists due to its proximity to Interstate 35 and Highway 71. Okamanpeedan averages about 500,000 visitors per year. About 75% of these visitors come from outside the state of Iowa.
There is even a campground within the park that has sites specifically reserved for overnight use by out-of-state visitors. Okamanpeedan State Park is open seven days per week from May through September. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights there is live music at the Sandbar Restaurant. Visitors can enter the park into a lottery system to win prizes if they guess the weight of a cow being fed at pasture inside the park.
Okamanpeedan offers many different opportunities for outdoors enthusiasts such as:
- cross-country skiing
- ice skating