Battle of Athens Historic Site is a place of peace and serenity. Its historic buildings, tree-studded landscape, and mile of Des Moines River frontage make the site a perfect place to hike, picnic or camp. But today’s peace belies the site’s history as the place where the most northern battle fought west of the Mississippi occurred, when about 500 Union soldiers repelled nearly four times their number of pro-Southern State Guardsmen. The site includes interpretation and tours of the battlefield as well as a number of historic buildings, including one that was pierced by a cannonball during the battle.
Battle of Athens State Historic Site offers basic and electric campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Launch your boat on the park’s lake. There are no fees for the boat ramp, and avid fishermen and boaters can enjoy the lake during park hours.
For a quiet picnic lunch or a group gathering, you can choose from three picnic areas:
The picnic area located in the historic area of the site offers a picnic shelter. See information below.
The second picnic area is located in the day-use area. Trees are plentiful and add a natural feel for your eating enjoyment. Picnic tables and small grills are available alongside the playground. The picnic sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The third picnicking location is next to the lake. There are a few picnic tables and grills available for enjoying your own meal or the fish you just caught. This area is also available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Vault toilets are available in all picnic areas.
The shelter is available for daily use and can be reserved. It accommodates up to 125 people and includes modern restrooms (available during the on-season), a large grill and a kitchen.
Anglers have been successful in recent years fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, redear sunfish and channel catfish.
A playground sits alongside some picnic sites in the day-use area.