Other Activities

Viewing and touring the mill is just one of many activities available at Motor Mill Historic Site. Kayaking, camping, horseback riding, hiking, exploring, wildlife watching – there is something for everyone!

Motor Mill Canoe RampCamping

Five primitive campsites are available at $15.00 per night. You can now reserve your favorite campsite online. Any unreserved sites are on a first come first serve basis.


Canoeing & Kayaking

A popular boat ramp is located at Motor Mill near the campground. The Turkey River offers a great paddling experience with Motor Mill located about  5.5 miles downstream from Elkader. From Motor Mill one can continue paddling to the town of Garber, which is another 11.5 miles. You will have opportunities for viewing wildlife and good fishing as you travel along the Turkey River.


Geocachers have discovered Motor Mill as one stop in a series of caches. A container with a sign-in notebook and simple trinkets inside was hidden at Motor. The coordinates of the container are posted on a geocache website and searchers bearing GPS (Global Positioning System) units often come to test their skill.


Motor Mill Historic Site has over 4 miles of trails throughout this 155 acre park.  With trails on both the north and south sides of the river, one can hike through forests, prairies, and savanna to find breathtaking views from the blufftops and abundant wildlife. The south trail system also provides equestrian use and limited hunting by permit during the hunting season.

Exploring Beyond Motor Mill

Retz Memorial Woods is a Clayton County Conservation Board area located on the northeast boundary of Motor Mill Historic Site.
The area features a diverse complex of oak, sugar maple and basswood forest within the context of the highly dissected landscape typical of northeast Iowa’s Paleozoic Plateau. Picturesque limestone cliffs and chimneys tower over a deep ravine filled with massive limestone blocks.
Retz Memorial Forest was purchased by The Nature Conservancy in 1965 from the Kopp family. This 49-acre preserve was named in memory of Lyle Retz, who played a major part in the acquisition of the site. The forest was designated as a biological and geological State Preserve In 1980. The Clayton County Conservation Board acquired the preserve in 2017.

You can help preserve and protect this special place!