Union County

Creston and Union County are located in the beautiful rolling hillsides of southwest Iowa, 75 miles
southwest of Des Moines and 100 miles southeast of Omaha. It is the perfect place to spend your next vacation or holiday. Our many “High Lakes” offer an array of outdoor recreational opportunities unmatched in SW Iowa. Over 2,100 acres of water, including five lakes and over 6,000 acres of publicly owned parks, woodlands, prairie and wetlands. All conveniently located within a 25 mile radius. Here you can also experience our railroad history or that of the Mormons who passed through on their way to Utah. Our expanding trails are becoming more and more popular. Please come enjoy and experience Union County.


Afton Splash Pad

Afton City Park

Creston: Arts Gallery

116 West Adams, Creston
641-782-2000, ext. 3

Creston’s Restored Depot

116 West Adams, Creston
641-782-2000, ext. 3

Creston Swimming Pool

McKinley Park

Frank Phillip’s Information Center

west on Hwy. 34, Creston, IA

Happy Valley Church

Lorimor, IA

High Lakes Shooting Range

North of Afton

McKinley Park Disc Golf Course

McKinley Park, Creston

Mount Pisgah Mormon

National Monument

1704 Mount Pisgah Rd, Thayer

Park to Park Trail

McKinley Park to Green Valley State Park

Rainbow Disc Golf Course

500 block of S. Vine & S. Birch
Creston, IA

Union County Historical Village

just off Hwy. 34 West in McKinley Park
Creston, 641-782-8159


For information on any of the lakes please
call the Union County Conservation Office
641-347-5100 or Union County Tourism –

12-Mile Lake

3-Mile Lake

Afton Lake

Green Valley State Park

Summit Lake

Thayer Lake


Adams Street Country Lodge

1412 170th St., Creston

Green Valley State Park Cabins

Green Valley State Park

Holiday Motel

800 S Walnut, Hwy 34 East, Creston

Moonlite Motel

704 New York Ave, Hwy 34 West, Creston

Super 8 of Creston

804 W. Taylor, Hwy. 34 West, Creston

Supertel Inn and Conference Center

800 Laurel Street, Hwy. 34 West, Creston

Sylvanus Lodges


Three-Mile Lake Cabins

Three-Mile Lake

Three Lakes Lodge

801 N. Pierce, Afton

Timberview B&B

2011 Ringgold-Union St., Shannon City


12 Mile Lake

4 miles east of Creston

Afton City Park

on the square, Afton

Arispe Roadside Park

Hwy 169

Cedar Park

1937 190th Street, Creston

Country Court Mobile Home & RV Court

1804 Virginia Lane, Creston

Garfield Park

west of Afton

Green Valley State Park


Groesbeck Wildlife Area

NE of Afton

Lorimor City Park

west edge of Lorimor

McKinley Park & McKinley Park Camp Ground

Creston – 641-782-2000 ext. 2
west side of Creston

Mount Pisgah Park

1704 Mount Pisgah Road, Thayer

Rainbow Park

500 block of S. Vine & S. Birch, Creston

Talmage Hill Nature Park

4 miles east of Afton

Thayer Lake

one mile west of Thayer

Three-Mile Lake


Creston/Union County Visitor’s Center

The Creston/Union County Visitor Center is located on Highway 34 West next to the Union County Freedom Rock. The Center has information and scrapbooks about the Phillips family and infor-mation on Creston, Union County and other spots around the area and State of Iowa. It is open daily from mid-May until early October.

Period gas pumps, the Phillips 66 trademark shield and Phillips’ traditional col-ors of green and orange have been used to retain the historic value of the building.

Frank Phillips, who found-ed the Phillips Petroleum Company in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and headed it for many years was not a native of Creston. He grew up in near-by Taylor County and began a career in bar-bering in Creston when he was just fourteen years old. He opened his first barber shop in 1895.
In 1917 he founded along with his brother the Phillips Petroleum Corporation. In 1931 one of Iowa’s first Phillips 66 gas stations was built and opened on the corner of South Cherry Street and Highway 34 in Creston. In 1994 the old filling station was donated to Union County. After hours of volunteer labor, the station was moved to it’s current location and was renovated. It opened in 1996.

The Visitor Center was dedicated to Frank Phillips, a Union County farm boy and entrepreneur, whose dreams and hard work led him many miles form his beloved boyhood home, but whose heart never left Union County.

McKinley Park

McKinley Park, is a picturesque park located in the northwest area of Creston. The Park has an all purpose court, picnic and camping areas including Creston McKinley Campers Camp Ground with 38 electrical hook-ups and water. There are eight shelter houses, a band shell, 18 hole disc golf course and playground area. The Creston Farmers’ Market on Mondays during the summer is there as well in the afternoon.

Also at the Park is a Leisure Pool featuring a wading pool, heated swimming pool, diving boards and a large water slide. McKinley Park is the beginning point of the paved trail that runs through west Creston to the campground area at Green Valley State Park.

For more information or to reserve a shelter house please call 641-782-2000 ext. 208.

High Lakes Outdoor Alliance Shooting Range

The High Lakes Outdoor Alliance Shooting Range is the newest addition to the Three Lake Recreation Area in Union County. The range was recently constructed and is managed by the High Lakes Outdoor Alliance, an all volunteer, non-profit group.

The Range consist of 5 separate ATA certified trap shooting stations, 50 yards, a pistol range, rifle range with targets at 100, 200, 300, 400, 600 and 800 yards. There is a clubhouse at the facility as well.

The High Lakes Outdoor Alliance hosts numerous shooting events along with local, collegiate, FFA and 4H Trap Shooting teams.

For more information on the Range or questions on how to obtain a membership please call the Union County Conservation Board at 641-347-5100.

Enjoy the Outdoors in Union County

Union County is one of southwest Iowa’s wildlife and outdoor recreation “must go places”. Located along and near Highway 34, with easy access to Interstate 35 and Interstate 80 the lakes and beautiful landscape are easily accessible to the avid outdoorsman and those who enjoy the outdoors and the beauty which Southwest Iowa offers.

Whether its deer or turkey, waterfowl or pheasants, walleye, Muskie or the lowly catfish, opportunities for hunting and fishing are plentiful in and around Union County. Union County’s High Lakes offer an array of outdoor recreational opportunities unmatched in southern Iowa. Five lakes including award winning 3-Mile Lake and Green Valley State Park along with 2,500 acres of publicly owned woodland and prairie….all conveniently located within a 20-mile radius of each other.

The lakes offer opportunities for water-skiing, boating, camping, hiking and picnicking and some great ice fishing during the winter months for the entire family.

The duck and goose hunting is excellent. Turkeys were stocked in the area in the late 70’s and have expanded to the point where just about every patch of woods has turkeys now.

The region has become a favorite for deer hunters as well.

Thousands of acres of CRP and cropland furnish an excellent habitat for wildlife. Or, if you prefer, you can hunt along the banks of Three Mile and Twelve-Mile Lakes, where hundreds of acres of cover and food plots have been created to draw wildlife.

Opened in 2013, the High Lakes Shooting Range, is another spot for the outdoor enthusiast.

Three great golf courses can also be found in Union County along with an expanding hiking and biking trail which now runs from McKinley Park in Creston north to Green Valley State Park. This Park to Park Trail is paved over five miles and once at Green Valley State Park you can enjoy another 3 plus miles of paved trails along with 6 miles of grass trails around Green Valley Lake. These latter trails are suitable for hiking and mountain bikes.

For more information on hunting, fishing or other activities in the area please call Union County Conservation at 641-347-5100. Call Creston/Union County Tourism for a free travel guide at 641-782- 7022 or visit our website at www.unioncountyiowatourism.com.

Enjoy a Hometown Fourth of July in Creston

Looking for a fun hometown Fourth of July Celebration? Look no further than Creston. One of the highlights of the event is the annu-al 4th of July Parade held on July 4th in Uptown Creston. Creston is known for their parades and the July 4th Parade is one of the best and big-gest usually lasting at least 45 minutes. Before and or after the parade many people enjoy shopping the Flea Market.

McKinley Park is the center of many other Fourth of July events on the big day. The Union County Historical Village holds their annual Pioneer Days Celebration and food and several other activities are taking place.

Another highlight of the 4th of July Celebration in Creston each year is the annual fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. in McKinley Park. on the 4th. While fireworks are a staple of many Independence Day celebrations, Creston’s are well above standard. Visitors from around the area, SW Iowa and northern Missouri come again and again to enjoy the show.

For a complete listing of events and activities please visit www.crestoniowachamber.com.
If you are looking for a place to spend the 4th of July, remember Creston. You won’t be disappointed.

Union County Historical Village and Museum A Glimpse of the Past

The Union County Historical Village and Museum is located in Creston just off Highway 34 West in beautiful McKinley Park. Here you can find buildings reminiscent of a prospering rural town in Iowa around the 1890’s. You can see the fully fur-nished last operating rural school in Union County. Other original buildings brought to the complex include an 1855 log cabin, a barn originally built in 1896, a house built before 1900 and the Spaulding Methodist Church, built in 1878 where weddings still take place today. A depot, originally from Lucas and later used at Brooks, along with a signal tower from the Creston rail yards and a caboose, emphasize the importance of the railroad heritage to the area.
Replicas in the village include a general store, harness shop, barbershop, blacksmith shop, fire sta-tion, machine shed, print shop and gristmill. A muse-um adjoins the village and contains hundreds of arti-facts and Union County memorabilia.

The Village is open from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m.on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day or by appointment and is free to the public. Tours can also be scheduled during the year. For more infor-mation please call Dick at 641-782-4000 or Sharon at 641-782-2870.

Experience Hot Air Balloon Days in Creston

Creston and Southwest Iowa’s rolling hills and blue skies are a perfect setting for nearly 40 hot air balloons participating in the Hot Air Balloon Days the third weekend in September – 14, 15 and 16, 2018. Now in its 41st year, the event is the second largest of its kind in the state of Iowa.

In addition to the balloon races during the weekend there is also the annual Hot Air Balloon Days Parade with high school marching bands from across the area, along with balloonists and many others on Saturday morning starting at 10:30 a.m. in Uptown Creston. The Creston City Center is the site of various activities for spectators of all ages as well. A Flea Market and Craft Fair is a must see as well as a stroll through town to visit the local merchants open for your shopping pleasure during the day.

On Saturday afternoon you can continue to enjoy your day at the airport and participate in or enjoy the pedal pull and Pet Show. In addition to these activities for the children, there is a Show & Shine Car Show taking place as well. The very popular NightGlow begins at dusk. 20150919_195420_resized

The event wraps up on Sunday morning with the last balloon race, weather permitting. Mark your calendar and make your plans early to attend. For more information please call the Creston Chamber of Commerce at 641-782-7022 or visit their website at www.crestoniowachamber.com. Up, Up and Away.


Afton – Gateway to Three Mile Lake

Afton, located at the intersection of Highways 169 and 34, is the southern Gateway to Three Mile Lake
in Union County.

It is a community that meets you and greets you on the square. Every Tuesday evening from June through mid-August, the community gathers in the City Park, located in downtown Afton, to enjoy Lawn Chair nights and a Farmers Market complete with music and food. The Lion’s Club holds a Pre-Fourth of July celebration in the park the Sunday before the Fourth. A Community Church Service, food, entertainment and games are some of the activities on the day’s agenda. The new splash pad on the square is a fun stop for locals as well as visito


Afton has been host to the Union County Fair held in July for as long as anyone can remember. A parade, rodeo and demolition derby headline the fair. While at the fair, visit the industry booths, tour the animal barns, 4-H booths and enjoy the great cooking and homemade ice cream.
Be sure to add Afton to your travel agenda. It is a great place to visit. Please call 641-347-5224 for further details or visit their website at www.aftoniowa.com

Make Uptown Creston a Must Stop

Uptown Creston offers locals, visitors and guests a wide variety of shopping experiences. Here you can find unique shops for clothing, furniture, art supplies and collectibles along with several great local restaurants to mention a few of the selections that await you.

Create Creston, 104 North Maple, is one of the newest stores in Uptown Creston. It offers a wide range of art supplies along with a wonderful selection of local and regional handmade items for sale. Tee shirts are also made on premise and various types of art classes are offered for all ages and abilities. Artist can also work in the studio area by reservation. Stop by or give them a call at 641-782-8932.

Maple Street Memories scrapbook store is located in the Old Post Office in Uptown Creston. Rehabilitation of the build is ongoing. Maple Street Memories has become well known to crafters around the state and nation for their full line of scrapbook supplies, including over 3000 kinds of papers. They offer specialty die cuts and papers that can be customized to a customer’s projects.

You can visit Maple Street Memories in person at 222 North Maple Street in Uptown Creston, or at www.maplestreetmemories.com or on Facebook. You can also visit their ebay stores at http://stores.ebay/better-letter-stamp and http://stores.ebay/gotta-notion.

In addition to these great stores, there are numerous other locally owned stores and boutiques in Uptown Creston.

Experience Creston’s Historic Railroad Depot

Creston began as a railroad town in 1869. It was located at the high point on the Burlington Line between the two great rivers, the Missouri and Mississippi.

In 1960 Creston was cut from the division title and the historic 1899 Rail Depot was closed and sold to the city of Creston for $1.00. Orginally the building was condemned and scheduled for demolition, but citizens of Creston saved the historic landmark. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and in 1978 the Creston City offices located to the restored Depot.

Today, besides Creston City offices you can find the Union County Congregate Meal Site located in the building as well as Creston: Arts, the Gallery. Also, the restored Depot now houses a Presidential Doll Collection, given to the city by a long-time resident, which depict all first ladies in their inaugural gowns through Mrs. Clinton. In the Memorial Room on the first floor, designed as a waiting area from long ago, the Creston Model Railroaders have built a working replica of Creston during its railroad hey-day.

Many train lovers visit the Depot to enjoy the atmosphere and the over fifty plus trains that still pass or stop in Creston on a daily basis. For more information please call 641-782-7022 or visit our website at www.crestoniowachamber.com

Visit The Historic Mormon Trail and Mount Pisgah Mormon National Monument

Mt. Pisgah located four miles south and one mile west of Lorimor, just off Highway 169, was the first white settlement in Union County. This site was founded by Mormon Scout, Parley Pratt and served as a way station on the original Mormon Trail from 1846 until 1852.

Between 1846 and 1852 more than 2,000 people made their homes at this site while thousands of others simply passed through on their way west. Even those headed west to the gold fields in California stopped at Mt. Pisgah for supplies and rest.

Today you can tour a cabin that was built as a reproduction of the type built as shelter by those early travelers. You can pause at the monument erected in mem-ory of the residents who did not survive their journey. Three hun-dred Mormons were buried here in just the first few months. You can trace wagon tracks across the prairie grass trail that eventually became a main thoroughfare to the west. You may picnic in the park near the site.

Tours are available. For more information or to schedule a tour please call Bob Brown at 641-763-2504, or email at bbrown1704@yahoo.com.