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Garrison Rock Resource Management Unit

Rolling terrain consisting primarily of high quality oak/hickory timber and open ridge tops.
Printable Park Map

Much of the open areas were farmed, grazed or hayed prior to WCCB’s ownership. Prairie restoration is underway on the balance of the open ground making it ideal turkey and deer habitat. Garrison Rock is actually a large sand stone out crop overlooking the Des Moines River valley. This area is very important historically being a Native American gathering site and one of the first places 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 of the local townsfolk. Horse drawn buggies and sleighs would carry Ottumwa residents out to the area to picnic, hike and explore Horse Thief Cave. Garrison Rock is a high quality oak/hickory forest resource with excellent plant and animal diversity.


About 2 miles southeast of Ottumwa on Cliffland Road. The parking lot is located in the northeast corner of section 4, Keokuk Township



Site Amenities


Recreational Activities

  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Photography
  • Hunting
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking


Natural Area




6951 Cliffland Rd
Ottumwa, IA 52501

Map · Garrison Rock Resource Management Unit