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MADISON COUNTY, Iowa — Most of us camp in a tent, RV or a cabin, but another option is becoming popular around the country.

You’ll find two yurt cabins in Madison County’s Pammel Park near Winterset. Camper Jessica Gibbons says, “It’s definitely a whole new experience in a yurt.”

A yurt is a circular structure. It’s a cross between a cabin and a tent. The two in Pammel Park rent for $55 a night each, with a two night minimum on weekends and holidays. Each yurt sleeps eight people and offers electricity, heat/a.c. and a full kitchen, but no running water. Madison County Conservation Director Jim Liechty says, “It has all the conveniences of a regular cabin, other than an interior bathroom.”

You’ll find yurts in two Iowa parks for now. McIntosh Park near Clear Lake also offers the option. But, the structures are popular in other parts of the country. Liechty says, “They’re very prevalent in the Rocky Mountain west, more in remote locations along hiking trails, snowmobile trails.”

The yurt cabins came to Pammel Park in 2003. Crews spent about a month building the circular decks. The actual yurts went up in a day. Liechty says, “We were able to construct each of these units for about $20,000 a piece, which includes the yurt unit itself, decking, interior furnishings, utilities.”

The Madison County Conservation Board makes about $7,500 a year on yurt rentals. A few weekends are still available for the structures this fall, along with some weekdays this summer. Call Madison County Conservation at (515) 462-3536 to make a reservation, or click here for more information.