At 798 acres, Big Hollow is Des Moines County’s largest park, offering year-round recreational opportunities. Featured is an extensive trail system that progresses through woods, prairies, and around ponds. RV and primitive camping, cross-country skiing, and hunting are all permitted in this diverse park. A three-season off-grid cabin is available for rent. Visitors can try their luck fishing in the stocked, no-wake, 178-acre lake, target practice on the shooting range (must be certified), swim at the beach or stargaze at the observatory.
Also located in Big Hollow Recreation Area is the Witte Observatory which houses a 12 inch aperture refractor manufactured in 1937 by Alvan Clark & Sons. Depending on the eyepiece used, it can magnify celestial objects up to nearly 400 times. Witte Observatory is open for public viewing, weather permitting, every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month from April through December.