Carlson Park Project

Carlson Park is our newest park and a 110-acre gift to the Decorah Parks System from the Rick and David Carlson Families. Public access to the park is located on Pleasant Avenue heading south towards the Fish Hatchery, and adjacent to St. Benedict Cemetery.   The Park-Rec. Dept. is continuing to develop small projects from it's master plan for this new park.

The most recent projects within the park include the binzebo, which can be seen off Highway 9, and the Gateway Trail entrance, welcoming walkers and bikers to enjoy the trail. Stay updated with this current park project by following Carlson Park Trails- Decorah on Facebook.

Plans are underway to create a gateway trail entrance into the park near the binzebo for bikers and walkers.

The Decorah Parks & Recreation Board hired Jeffery L. Bruce and Company to gather public input and create a potential master plan of amenities for Carlson Park that could serve as a guide for current and future planning. Click to view the completed Master Plan.

Dunning's Spring parking lot

Dunning's Spring and Ice Cave Access

Dunning's Spring Park and Ice Cave are accessible from either end of Ice Cave Road, although the best parking is on the West end. Visitors should park in the gravel lot on the south side of the road. If the parking lot is full visitors may park along Ice Cave Road. Please be respectful of private property around the park.

**New signage is coming in the spring of 2024**

  • Dunning's Spring Waterfall: 200 yard walk from gravel parking lot. Head north on paved drive across the road from the parking lot. Please note there is not parking at the waterfall.
  • Ice Cave: 1/2 mile walk from the grave parking lot. Head east on Ice Cave Road. This road is closed to vehicles and thru traffic with the exception of handicap parking. Ice Cave is open to the public with no fee for admission. Click here for more information about Ice Cave.
  • Trail Access: Pillars have been installed and trail access has been improved to reduce trail erosion.

Mary Christopher Park

Thanks to a generous donation, renovations continue to take place at Mary Christopher Park. During the summer of 2024, crews will be adding on to the existing playground creating a toddler-friendly atmosphere.

The newest additions to the park that were completed in 2022, include an updated shelter, restroom facility and Veterans Memorial.


Center of the Impact Crater- Van Peenan Park

Decorah is home to the Decorah Impact Crater that came 465 million years ago. The center of the crater is located in Van Peenan Park, which is identified with a 3x3 foot Medallion.

Miller Trail

Our goal for Miller Trail is to provide a better, wider, safer trail that will connect the Minowa Heights neighborhood to Pleasant Avenue and Carlson Park. This improvement replaces Decorah's first paved trail.

picture of pillaras at entrance to re-established trail connecting Dug Road to Phelps Park

Prairie Restoration at Carlson Park

More information coming soon!


picture of new playground equipment at Vennehjem

Off-Road Trail Signange Improvements

Improvements are being made on Decorah Parks & Recreation's off-road trail system.

This includes improving safety and wayfindings through;

  • The installation of trail identification signs and trail loop signage
  • The installations of new kiosks at trailheads
  • Printing new trail maps

Invasive Species

The Decorah Parks and Recreation team continues to identify and remove invasive species within our parks. Garlic Mustard and Buckthorn are two priority species our team works to properly control and manage.

Pink and black flagging-ribbon have been tied to trees within the park system to note locations of these invasive species, and to identify proper removal techniques of invasives according to site ecology, proper removal practices and long-term surveillance to ensure successful vegetation management. For further information on invasive species removal, or to become a volunteer for invasive species control and to learn more about our long-term efforts for woodland management in the Decorah Park System please contact us at 563.382.4158.