South Bear School is located at a wooded rural property just southwest of Decorah, Iowa, in the Driftless region. The school grounds sit in a grassy valley where beautiful meandering Dry Run creek flows, tucked in between limestone bluffs. Much of our property is mowed on the house-side of the creek, but across Dry Run to the North you can explore about 12 acres of forest. To our Northwest you can find county land where you can ramble through some lovely mowed trails up to the old oak. Feel free to wander these county-owned trails but please keep your tents and fires on our property. A few cook-fire rings are scattered around the place, feel open to use them, but keep your fuel limited to paper and wood based products.
The campus consists of a few buildings, including the historic Aase Haugen Home, the chicken coop, and the caretaker's cottage. The cottage and the Aase Haugen building are now residences, while the chicken coop has become the pottery studio. There are several other outbuildings, like the tractor garage, little chicken coop, greenhouse, and a few mobile animal shelters. Much of the property provides natural habitat to many species of plants and animals. Please be respectful to both the natural wildlife, its habitat, and to the structures and land that we occupy. The Schwarz family are full-time residents of the property, and appreciate their privacy. Please respect the property owners by following our camp rules.
How to get here:
The address is 2248 South Bear Road, Decorah IA. Google maps seems to lead people here pretty reliably, but here are some step by step directions. From Decorah, take Hwy 9 West for about 3 miles and turn Left on Dry Run Road. Take the first left turn at the bottom of the hill, and our place is at the very end of the lane. Please follow the parking signage and park on the right side of the circle drive in the angle parking.
Please feel free to explore the creek and the woods up until the property markers, which will be yellow/orange flags tied to the trees. You may also explore the County land which is just to our Northwest, but we ask that you please do not walk through the cornfields or onto our other neighbors’ property. If you have any questions about exploring feel free to ask one of the camp helpers or the property owner. Here are some images of our property edges (red) and the section of county forest and prairie (blue).