Lewis & Clark State Park

Cottonwood Tree Trunk with Roof

~ Last updated on Apr 7, 2022 ~

Large Cottonwood Tree with Roof
The doggos very curious about the large cottonwood tree trunk with the roof

If you find yourself on the border between Iowa and Nebraska looking for a great place to stop and stretch your legs, I recommend visiting the Lewis & Clark State Park on Onawa, IA. It is located almost directly between Sioux City and Omaha.

The park is named for Meriwether Lewis, Secretary to President Thomas Jefferson, and Captain William Clark, United States Army. They were were commissioned by the President in 1804 to head an expedition into the northwest to explore the vast territory purchased from France. With twenty-six men and supplies, their expedition headed up the Missouri River from St. Louis by keelboat. On August 9-10, 1804, they spent time at the site where the state park is now.

Cottonwood Tree Trunk with Roof
Cottonwood Tree Trunk with Roof

While walking the doggos, we found what is now my favorite feature of the park. A large leftover tree trunk with a roof added on top. It was very noticeable from far away and the closer I got to it, the more gnarly and cool it looked. 

The uniqueness of this has always stuck in my memory. As I enjoy learning about trees of significance I reached out to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and they had this to say:

Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Iowa Department of Natural Resources

The cottonwood tree that was there matched the description of a tree that Lewis and Clark touched while in the area during the expedition. When it fell down, staff decided to keep what remained of the trunk and add the roof to it.

This park has lots of open space for activities, trails, boating, and camping. The next time I am in the area I will be sure to spend time here again for sure.

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