How beautiful Red Haw State Park is when it blooms

NOTE: Red Haw State Park is open again after damage from the March 5th, 2022 tornado. There was extensive damage to the park and especially the campgrounds, however, the park has reopened and the red bud trees are blooming again this spring!

Location: 24550 Highway 34, Chariton, Iowa 50049

YouTube video
A short video of the blooming red bud trees at Red Haw State Park in Chariton, Iowa.

Is it Red Haw or Red Bud?

It’s both. Rad Haw is a reference to the Hawthorne trees that once covered the area. Red Bud is a reference to the current red bud trees that surround the lake and blossom into a sea of pink every spring. To clarify – the pink blossoms you see every spring are from the red bud trees, not from red haw trees. However, if you look carefully, there are still a few remaining hawthorn trees in the area, which are typically white blossoms each spring.

Quick facts about Red Haw State Park

  • Originally call Red Haw Hill State Park
  • The lake dates back to the Great Depression, when the community of Chariton ran out of water. For a while, they had water shipped in by rail. The community then created a dam to stop the flow of Little White Breast Creek, which created the lake.
  • There’s a four-mile multiple purpose trail that outlines the lake.
  • The 70-acre lake is known for its large bluegill.

Panoramic photo of the lake with the reflections. When I last visited Red Haw, I arrived about an hour before sunrise and the lake was calm enough to capture these reflections. Once the sun comes up, then the winds picked up enough that the reflections faded.

This is the entrance road to the park which is outlined with blooming red bud trees.
An aerial view of the lake at Red Haw State Park with its numerous red bud trees. They have two docks available for boats.

They also have numerous piers for fishing.

Imagine yourself sitting here and enjoying the views.

During early mornings, you’ll probably see kayakers, canoes, and fishermen.

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