General Description: Garrison rock consists primarily of a tolling terrain of high quality oak/hickory timber and open ridge tops. Most open areas were farmed, grazed or hayed prior to WCCB’s ownership. Haying continues on one parcel, with prairie and savanna restoration occurring on several other open areas. The interspersion of quality timber and open fields make this ideal habitat for turkeys and deer. Garrison Rock is actually a large sandstone outcrop overlooking the Des Moines River valley and is very important historically as a Native American gathering site and one of the first sites European settlers occupied in Wapello County. A Pioneer Cemetery occupies a bluff top overlooking the Des Moines River. Both Native Americans and early settlers used Horse Thief Cave for shelter, which collapsed over 50 years ago. During the early 1900’s, Garrison Rock was a must see site for all the local townsfolk. Horse drawn buggies and sleighs would carry Ottumwa residents out to the area to picnic, hike and explore. Currently, Wapello County Conservation Board is investigating the areas potential as a possible State Preserve.
Location: About 1.5 miles southeast of Ottumwa on Cliffland Road; Agency Twn.
Acres = 302
Site Amenities: Parking/walk-in area.
Recreation Activities: Public hunting, Wildlife viewing and photography, Hiking and picnicking.