your paddlesports destination

Lake Odessa in Iowa

Trip Overview

Lake Odessa is on the East bank of the Mississippi River, North of Burlington, Iowa. Several Lake homes dot the West shore with a small campground located about mid lake. the main lake is not the main attraction for paddlers though, it's the portion of the Mark Twain Wildlife refuge across the lake. Small canals connect several ponds and are abundant with waterfowl, otters, and other wildlife. The canals are too shallow for motor craft, and extend for miles. A paddler that I met told me he had spent several days in the backwaters and never saw it all. I had an opportunity to sit in my canoe and watch an otter swimming around me playfully for about twenty minutes or so. If relaxation is a primary function of your trip, you'll love this one.


Small campground with a couple of primitive sites, and some sites with electric and water hookups. Latrine but no showers. Camping fees are about $7.00/night.


I believe it's state highway 99 from Burlington. Check your roadmap, it's about ten minutes south of Wapello.


Mark Twain Wildlife Refuge. (regional office located in Quincy Il.)

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip