Macbride Nature Recreation Area | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa
Open Today
  • 9:00 am – 6:00 pmMNRA Hours
Macbride Nature Recreation Area is now open! Due to continued cleanup efforts, however, all campsites will remain closed until further notice.
NOTICE: Beginning November 8, 2021, flushable restrooms and water will be unavailable while maintenance takes place on the park’s water system. Maintenance will last approximately three weeks. Portable restrooms will be available during this time.

Cleanup efforts are ongoing by UI MNRA Land Management, UI Landscaping, Certified ISA Arborists, and UI Institutional Roads. Cleanup includes:

  • Repair of roads due to uprooted trees. 
  • Removal of fallen trees which pose a risk to users and structures.
  • Repair of walking/cross country ski trails due to uprooted and fallen trees.
  • Identify and mitigate damage to trees which can be saved, including those of historic nature. 

Select Recreational Services-approved programming may take place during this time.

Iowa Raptor Project staff are regularly caring for all birds of prey.

Macbride Nature Recreation Area (MNRA) is a 485-acre peninsula that has been leased by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the University of Iowa since 1969. UI Recreational Services has managed the property since 1984.  There are ten kilometers of hiking and cross-country skiing trails. MNRA is home to the Environmental Education Programs: School of the Wild, Wildlife Camps, and Iowa Raptor Project. MNRA is located 15 miles north of Iowa City at 3895 Raptor Ridge Road, near Solon, Iowa.

Directions to MNRA

Park Hours:
November 1 - March 31   9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
April 1 - October 31   6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Road is not maintained after closing hours.

Please visit our Facebook page for closure notices and most recent information.


MNRA Rules and Regulations

Shelter and Facility Reservations

Due to continued cleanup efforts, all campsites will remain closed until further notice.

How to make a reservation online:

We do not accept onsite payment and registration for shelters. You must receive your reservation confirmation before you can occupy a site. Registrations are accepted up to one hour prior to MNRA closing time, and must be made online or at the University of Iowa Field House. Occupying a campsite at any time without registering will be considered trespassing and handled as such. 

We do NOT accept reservations over the phone.

Click here to make an online reservation. You must have an online account to make a reservation. If you do not have an account, here's what you need to know:

  • If you are a staff, faculty, or student, you already have an account - just use your Hawk ID and password. 
  • If you have already created an account as a member of Rec Services or for other programs (swim lessons, fitness classes, etc), you may use the that same account to make a reservation. 
  • If you do not have an account, you can either create an account here or stop by the Field House membership desk. You may also register in-person at the Field House.


  1. Log in to your account. 
  2. Click "Online Registration" on the homepage of
  3. Scroll down until you find which site you would like to reserve, and click on the site.
  4. Click “Register” on the date you wish to reserve. Sites that are listed with “0 Spots” are already reserved.
  5. Sign and accept waiver to continue registration.
  6. Complete the questions about your visit with us. 
  7. If you are making a reservation for more than one day, click "Continue Shopping" (you'll have to add each day individually) or if you're done, select "Check Out".
  8. Enter payment information and you are done!


All cancelations must be done 48 hours in advance. 

  • No alcohol.
  • All pets must be on a leash.
  • Leave all shelters ready for the next user - anything you carry in, you must carry out.  Do not leave trash behind.
  • Tables and other shelter-related items are restricted to the shelter area.
  • Free fire wood is often available at the main restrooms for MNRA-registered participants only.
  • All non-registered visitors must be out of the park by closing time.
  • All cancelations must be done 48 hours in advance. 

For questions on shelter reservations, please contact Mike Valentine.

      Shelters and Facilities Prices

      Shelters and Facilities Price
      Falcon Shelter  $30
      Hawk Shelter $20
      Archery Pavilion Shelter $35
      Social Center $75

      UI Department of Public Safety

      As a University-managed area, the Macbride Nature Recreation Area is serviced by the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety.  If you experience issues while visiting the MNRA (locked inside the park, car issues, etc.), please contact UI Police at the non-emergency line: 319-335-5022.

      Note: If there is an emergency, call 9-1-1.


      Contact Us

      Tamra Elliott
      Land Manager
      Mike Valentine
      Assistant Director of Facility Operations

      Code of Conduct

      Patrons are expected to respect the rights of others and follow all University policies and codes as well as Recreational Services rules and procedures. Disruptive behavior, as determined by Recreational Services staff, is not tolerated. Appropriate attire should be worn according to specific activity areas. Failure to adhere to this Code or University policies may result in a patron being removed from a facility/program, termination of their membership and/or expulsion from Recreational Services facilities. Refunds will not be provided.

      Area Hours

      • From April 1 - October 31, the area is open from 6 am - 9 pm.
      • From November 1 - March 31, the area is open from 9 am - 6 pm.
      • Those in the area outside of those times are trespassing, unless registered to camp.
      • Roads are not maintained outside of park hours. 

      Prohibited Acts

      • Drugs and alcohol are prohibited pursuant to the University’s Drug Free Environment policy.
      • Use of fireworks is strictly forbidden.
      • Cutting any tree, dead or alive, at any time, except by University personnel is prohibited.
      • No fires shall be built, except in a fire ring at designated campsites and shelters, and all fires shall be extinguished when the site is vacated.
      • Hunting and trapping are prohibited.
      • Construction of debris structures (“shelter building”) is prohibited outside of flood plains and pine plantations. Any structure built must be deconstructed same day.
      • The erection of blinds and tree stands is prohibited.
      • Metal detecting is not permitted due to archaeologically sensitive areas within MNRA.
      • Tobacco products are prohibited pursuant to the University’s Tobacco Free Campus policy.

      Vehicle Restrictions

      • The maximum speed limit of all vehicles in MNRA is fifteen miles per hour (15 MPH).
      • All driving is confined to designated roadways.
      • All motor vehicles must park in designated parking areas. No parking on grass or roadways.
      • In pursuance with the University’s Bicycle Regulations, bikes are not allowed on grass or trails.
      • Operation of off highway vehicle (OHV), snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle and the like is prohibited.
      • Unless the vehicle owner is camping in a designated area, vehicles must be removed prior to closing time.


      • It is prohibited to place any garbage, refuse or litter from any household, business, or outside source on any area or into any refuse container for the purpose of disposal.
      • All trash produced in the area must be carried out and not littered or burned. 


      • Dogs must be on a leash not greater than six (6) feet long.
      • Dogs must be under the control of the owner at all times.
      • Animals may not be hitched or tied to any tree or post, except at designated hitching posts.
      • Feces must be picked up and carried out of MNRA. Disposal is not permitted in restrooms.
      • Horses are not allowed on the premises.

      Flora and Fauna

      • Collection or removal of any variety of native plants and their seed is prohibited.
      • Collection of nuts, fruits, mushrooms for personal use is allowed provided damage is not caused to plants and area.
      • Collection of nuts, fruits, mushrooms or other edible plants for commercial purposes is prohibited.
      • The introduction of vegetative materials (seeds, nuts, roots, yard waste, plants, etc.) in any form or the release of wildlife on the premises is prohibited.

      Cultural and Natural Features

      • Collection, possession, destruction, defacement or removal of all or any part of a cultural or natural features, artifacts or human made objects found on the premises is prohibited.


      • Geo-caching is allowed at MNRA with the approval of the Land Manager or authorized representative. Unregistered geo-caches will be removed. Digging soil or other forms of disturbance to conceal a geo-cache is prohibited.

      Firearms and Weapons

      • In pursuance with the University’s Firearms and Other Weapons on Campus policy, firearms and other weapons are prohibited on the premises with the exception of bow and arrows for recreational and competition use at the archery range and course.

      Noise Producing Devices

      • The operation and/or use of a radio, stereo, television, musical instrument, or any noise making device or tool in such a manner as to create excessive noise and/or disturb other persons is prohibited.

      Flagging, Signs, Gates and Barricades

      • Recreational Services may from time-to-time close or regulate the use of areas or parts of areas. Entry in restricted areas is prohibited.
      • Posting, fastening or affixing any notice, sign, or flagging without written permission is prohibited.

      Cameras, Video Cameras and Game Cameras

      • Camera and video devices of any kind must be attended to in person at all times.
      • Any camera or video device found unattended in any area will be removed.

      Special Use Permits

      Special use permits are required for the following events or activities:

      • Any event or activity for commercial or fundraising purposes.
      • Events or activities that are promoted in any public media format as being open to the general public.
      • Events or activities that require closing or restricting access for public use areas.
      • Any event or activity that may interfere with traffic flow.
      • Any event or activities that require the uses of an area that would not typically be allowed by University or Recreational Services Rules and Regulations.
      • Recreational Services staff are authorized to take action to terminate any activity or event listed above for which a special use permit was not obtained prior to the time and date scheduled for the event or activity.

      Camping and Facility Reservations

      • Violation of state laws or University of Iowa and MNRA rules or regulations by any member of a camping party is cause for revocation of camping privileges and the entire camping party may be required to leave the area.
      • Campsites and facilities must be reserved online prior to occupation and campsite reservations must be completed at least one hour before MNRA closing.
      • Must be 18 years of age or older to register for camping.
      • Campsites and shelters may not be occupied without registration.
      • Tables and all camping related items are restricted to campsite pad. 
      • One tent per individual campsite. One additional tent may be used for children under eighteen years old.
      • No more than three tents at the multi-tent camp sites. Up to two additional tents may be used for children under eighteen years old.
      • Fires are allowed in fire rings at designated campsites and shelters only. Fires should not be left unattended and should be extinguished when the site is vacated.
      • The collection of firewood in the parks is prohibited; firewood is often available near the main restrooms.
      • All non-registered visitors must be out of the park by closing time.
      • Quiet hours are 10:00 p.m. to sunrise.
      • No alcohol is allowed in campgrounds or anywhere in MNRA.
      • Pets must be on a leash not greater than six (6) feet long. Pets must be under the control of the owner at all times.
      • No ropes, cables, chains or lines can be affixed to trees, this includes hammocks.
      • No dishwashing at hydrants or in restrooms.
      • Camping equipment on an unregistered campsite may be impounded, removed and/or disposed of by the University of Iowa.
      • Camping check-in time no earlier than 12:00 pm (noon), check-out time no later than 11:00 am.
      • Individuals are not allowed to occupy any camp area for more than seven (7) days out of any fourteen (14) day period.
      • No refunds will be issued due to inclement weather or violation of the Rules and Regulations.


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      • 9:00 am – 6:00 pmMNRA Hours