Diamond Lake Park and Fox Forest
Diamond Lake Park has been the pride of Montezuma since 1953. The 632-acre park can be easily accessed from U.S. Highway 63, or from County Road F-57 (Diamond Trail). The Poweshiek County Conservation Board manages the multi-use recreational area, and has worked to preserve the area’s wildlife and natural habitat, as well as continued expansion of the park for public use. The shoreline that stretches around the 98-acre lake offers both electric and primitive campsites, well-groomed hiking trails that wind throughout the timbers and rolling prairies, as well as two paved trails that extend to the east and northwest of the park. The east trail, which is the newest trail, offers beautiful views of the lake and lends direct access to the edge of the Montezuma city limit.
For over four decades, the on-going release of thousands of fish has earned Diamond Lake the title of one of the top fishing destinations in the state of Iowa. The lake is teaming with catfish, bass, bluegill, bullhead, crappie, grass carp and northern pike. Fishing is permitted along the shoreline, or from electric motorized boats. While summer is the peak of the camping and fishing season, hunting opportunities, winter fishing derbies, and undisturbed landscapes and pines brushed with fresh snow make this a year-round area attraction.
The Foster Center, which was completed in 1997, flanks the south entrance of the park. The center is headquarters of the county conservation board, and also serves as a meeting place for gun safety courses, fishing clinics and nature workshops. The deck construction on the backside of the center offers a scenic lookout surrounded by native vegetation, wildflowers and a shimmering view of the waters below.
A new extended camping area will open in 2013. The added campground area features 50 electrical sites, and a 7-acre pond which are east of the main lake. Added modern facilities and rental cabins overlooking the park are also part of a long-term comprehensive improvement plan. While shoreline camping is also availble, the new campground offers the best view of the park.
As one of the largest natural resource areas in Poweshiek County, Fox Forest Wildlife Area boasts 531-acres of oak-hickory timber, native and reconstructed prairies, wetlands, and several miles of hiking trails. The parking area and trail heads begin 1/2 mile west of Montezuma off County Road F-57 (Diamond Trail), just past Montezuma Country Club and across from Diamond Lake Park.
During the summer months, the forest floor is bursting with lush plant-life that stands under the shade of towering trees, and nearby flowing creek beds. Many of the hiking trails at the front of the forest are groomed and easy to navigate on foot. Deeper into the forest, the trails wind through ravines and wetlands. These have become popular equestrian trails for many horse riding enthusiasts, so hikers should watch their step!
The protected area is home to wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and other native species, including many types of birds. Varieties of daisies, cone flowers and tall prairie grass become part of the landscape and natural habitat to these creatures. It is easy to imagine peoples of the Fox Indian tribe here, who once held dominion over this land and it’s inhabitants. Fox Forest is managed by the Poweshiek County Conservation Board, and is part of a network of nearby wildlife areas including Fleming Woods Preserve and neighboring Bryan Woods. In addition, the Poweshiek County Sportsmen Association manages an indoor gun and trap range within the wildlife area. Nearby Barclay Timber, Deep River Timber, Lincoln Wildlife Area, Cecil Rivers Timber, and Millgrove Access Wildlife Area are also managed by the Poweshiek County Conservation Board. MAP WEBSITE
Bonham Memorial Park
Bonham Memorial Park is a popular walking trail within the city limits. The park is a shaded corridor of woods atop the old Central Iowa Railroad right of way. The trail begins just off Clark Street on the south side of town, and runs for nearly a mile before ending at the Barnes City Highway. South Diamond Housing Development lies adjacent to path, giving more in the community better access to a growing network of recreational trails. MAP
Lake Ponderosa is a private residential lake along Diamond Trail, just three miles west of Montezuma. The 440-acres of wooded landscape and seven miles of shoreline offer a beautiful setting for the 700 households that call Lake Ponderosa home. For over 45 years the lake has offered a variety of water sporting activities, including fishing and boating. The lake association sponsors the area’s Fourth of July fireworks display, as well as fishing derbies, ice cream socials, and the annual tour of homes. Residents are very much a part of the Montezuma community, whether they live at the lake year-round, or just come for the summer. MAP WEBSITE
Lake Silverado is also a private residential lake by developer John G. Ahrens. It is located 3 miles west of Montezuma, and accessible from 480th Avenue. The lake features 30-acres of lakefront living, offering great fishing and peaceful surroundings for homeowners and their guests. MAP
Lake Cimarron, located northeast of Lake Ponderosa, is the third residential development in our growing chain of lakes. Cimarron is currently under construction, with anticipated progress and water beginning to dam by 2012. 80 lots will be available for development once the project is complete.
Fleming Woods State Preserve
Dedicated as a state preserve in 1983, Fleming Woods is characterized by several forested ravines that are typical of the rolling landscape of the Southern Iowa Drift Plain landform region. Located southwest of Montezuma, the preserve is a natural area left undisturbed by human intervention. To date, a listing of over 175 trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and mosses have been catalogued here. Yellow violets and wild geraniums are prevelant from April through June. Visitors are encouraged to carefully walk through the preserve and observe their surroundings throughout the 38-acre woodland. MAP WEBSITE