With its rich heritage, Colfax has much to explore in outdoor recreation, history, and culture. If you’re looking for a fun Saturday afternoon getaway from Des Moines, passing by on Interstate 80 during a cross-country road trip, or planning a longer vacation stay, make sure you pin our charming town on the map.
Quarry Springs Park
Quarry Springs Park is a 480-acre outdoor recreational park with pristine sparkling lakes just north of Downtown Colfax and right off of Interstate 80. The park currently offers primitive camping, but will soon host a number of RV spaces for short and extended stay camping. Quarry Springs is a great place for big bass fishing and picnicking, a tranquil spot to canoe or kayak and watch wild ospreys at their nesting sites. Kayak rental available during the summer months.
South Skunk River
The word “skunk” usually brings to mind Pepé Le Pew and unfortunate mammal encounters. What most people don’t know is that the word “skunk” is a poor translation of the Native American word “Checaqua,” meaning “strong or obnoxious smell,” most likely referring to the smell of wild garlic (a tasty Iowa plant).
The Skunk River offers opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and fishing.
Mineral Springs Park is a historic park at the northern entrance of Downtown Colfax. Mineral Springs Park was once the location of Colfax’s train depot. The park was started in the late 1800s by the owners of the Mason House Hotel, which was across Walnut Street (the current location of Georgioz Restaurant), as a private park to beautify the view of the hotel guests. As time passed, the park came under the stewardship of the City of Colfax. The park once featured a wooden mineral water fountain house, a band stand, and a spraying
fountain. In 1933, the wooden fountain house was replaced by a brick bungalow craftsman style gazebo fountain house built by local volunteers and unskilled labor from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). While the fountain house gazebo no longer produces mineral water, this iconic building still greets people today as they enter Colfax.
Mineral Springs Park is also the home of the Colfax Veterans Memorial.
The Colfax Historical Society and Museum is a museum that showcases artifacts from Colfax’s history. Highlights include Colfax mineral water bottling and hotel advertising, souvenirs, and memorabilia; a large Close-to-Nature canvas tent house once manufactured in Colfax; an old fashioned car, and fiberglass buffalo! The museum also features a reception hall for event rental.
Women’s Club Park
Woman’s Club Park is a historic park in the southeastern portion of Historic Downtown Colfax. This park features a playground, shelter house for picnics, and a terraced amphitheater and stage which is occasionally used for local concerts and other entertainments.
In the late 1800s local philanthropic and prominent women, such as Dr. Alice Turner, created The Woman’s Club and other women’s organizations to provide stimulating activities for local women to participate in. In 1928, a large house was purchased by the club to act as a clubhouse and auditorium, but after a fire in the early 1930’s the house was torn down and the land donated to the City in 1936. Members from the Woman’s Club and the City Park Board worked with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to terrace the grounds for a natural amphitheater, build a stage, a round lookout folly, and a park shelter. The terraced grounds, lookout, and stage exist today.
James ‘Bullets’ Lewis Park
Lewis Park, on the eastern edge of town, has a large playground, tennis courts, and sand volleyball pit. The park is adjacent to Colfax-Mingo Jr. Sr. High School and The Colfax Public Pool. Plans are in the works to develop a Pickleball court on the Tennis Courts. Disc Golf course to return soon after the completion of the Colfax-Mingo Athletic Complex.