Lily Lake

lilies in bloom at lily lake
Lily Lake in Middle Amana, Iowa

Photo courtesy of Amana Colonies Convention and Visitors Bureau

Quick Facts
South of 220th Trail between Amana and Middle Amana, IA
Ice harvest; Recreational
National Historic Landmark

Lily Lake was formed around 1880 when a break in the Mill Race levee flooded a low area. It’s named for the thousands of yellow American lotus lilies which bloom across the 170-acre lake in the summertime, for which it has become famous. The Lake played several important roles in communal Amana. It served as a source of ice for both Amana and Middle Amana, which was then stored in village ice houses. It also provided recreational opportunities for the colonists including fishing and ice-skating. During the communal period, lilies from the lake were sold to tourists, thus providing the colonists with a source for additional income.


One of Amana's most beautiful sights, it has become an inspiration for artists and photographers. A year-round haven for wildlife, the Lily Lake is a resting spot to migrating birds. Herons, bald eagles, muskrats and other animals occupy this ecological niche in a part-marsh, part-lake habitat. The Lily Lake is surrounded by a 3.1 mile recreational trail, the Kolonieweg (colony path), which connects the villages of Amana and Middle Amana.

Last updated: December 13, 2017