Shimek State Forest is located in Lee and Van Buren Counties in southeast Iowa near the town of Farmington. The forest headquarters is located about 1 mile northeast of Farmington on county road J56. Recreational opportunities abound in the forest.
Advance campsite reservations can be booked for Lick Creek through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available for self registration on a first come first-serve basis. See maps for campground and trail locations.
The Farmington Unit contains Bitternut Lake campground with 8 sites, available on a first come first-serve policy, and a boat ramp. The Farmington Unit also has Black Oak Lake with a handicapped accessible picnic area, fishing dock, parking area, and restrooms. There is walk-in fishing access at White Oak Lake, also on the Farmington Unit. The unit has 18.9 miles of hiking trails.
The Donnellson Unit contains the White Oak campground with 11 sites, available on a first come first-serve policy. A boat ramp and a hike-in campsite is located at Shagbark Lake. The hike-in campsite is .5 mi from the boat ramp parking lot and .6 mi from the access road, which is south of the lake. The Donnellson Unit has a nature trail, 2 picnic areas, and 6.2 miles of hiking trails.
The four lakes in the Farmington and Donnellson Units are stocked with bass, channel catfish and panfish.
The Lick Creek Unit contains two equestrian campgrounds, one with 12 sites and the other with 25 sites. There are 25 miles of equestrian trails on the Lick Creek Unit, including one graveled all-weather trail.
Equestrian facilities include hitching rails, pit toilets, fire rings, picnic tables, gravel parking pads, a water hydrant, and shade for horses. There are two in the lower campground and one in the upper campground, as well as open air stalls for overnight stabling in both campgrounds. A day-use area, next to the upper equestrian campground, is provided for those not camping.
The Keosauqua Unit has 7.7 miles of hiking trails.
The entire forest is open to hunting (except camping areas) and hiking.
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