By: James Estey
While Lamoni might seem to be lacking things to do, all it takes is a quick look outside to see a plethora of outdoor locations to spend free time at. There are two state parks in close proximity, Slip Bluff Park and Nine Eagles Park. Both having camping locations as well as day spots for a picnic. Trails crisscross the parks, offering 6 miles of hiking. However, the dominant feature of both parks is their respective lakes. Nine Eagles includes a swimming beach and pavilion for a day by the water, as well as a fishing jetty and man-made outcroppings for the avid angler. Slip Bluff park does not have a swimming beach, making it slightly less desirable, but it does still include multiple pavilions with lake view overlooks, as well as fishing locations dotted around the lake and smaller ponds surrounding the lake that offer decent angling experiences as well.
Besides the nearby state parks, Lamoni does have its own locations right in or nearby its city limits. Both Big G and Founders have residents fishing in them and gives a close fishing location for any campus residents that don’t have the means or the time to go to any of the other nearby lakes. Founders in the past has also been used as an ice-skating rink in the wintertime as well. Lamoni also has a 4.7-mile bike trail that runs from Kum-&-Go to Liberty Hall, bypassing the university, as well as having a one-mile loop that goes around the campus as well. The bike trail also goes by the next waterways well discover, being Home Lake and its little brother, Home Pond. With access to these waters being easy, it’s a popular fishing spot for Lamoni residents and just a general hang out spot as well. There are 2 fishing outcrops built into the shore, as well as picnic tables and soft grass on the south shore of the lake. Home Pond does not have any nice spots to sit and watch the water at, but if get through the trees right off the bike trail, you’ll find a quiet little pond just out of the way that offers decent fishing as well as wildlife watching. Last, but not least, is Lake Lashane. Another popular fishing and boating spot just outside Lamoni (frequented by your dear writer) along with a mountain bike trail that runs some miles along the lake. For the fisherman readers, this is the best public body of water I’ve found near Lamoni, frequently pulling 3-4 lbs. bass from the shore, with the largest being an 8 lbs. fish.
To finish off this list of outdoor activities will be the golf course and the disc golf course. The golf course is right next to the Lamoni campus, which can be seen from the football field. It provides 9 holes, playing over 3,118 yards. Frequented by GU students and locals, it’s a popular getaway for the avid or causal golf enjoyer. On the other hand, is the disc golf course. A well maintained 18-hole course that is frequented by GU students as well as in and out of towners. There is also an annual tournament hosted by Graceland in the spring. The course is notoriously difficult for having long pars as well as plenty of blind drives.