The best DISPERSED camping near
Apple River , ILLINOIS

134 Reviews17 Campgrounds

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Most Recent Apple River Camping Reviews
Amazing for Fall camping

Beautiful campground with amazing views for Fall. The hike to the caves is about 3 miles with gorgeous landscapes/colors in October. The caves are incredibly well maintained and organized with fun themed tours. Our theme was Halloween so we could purchase “Trick or Treat” bags and collected cool rocks in the caves handed out by employees along the tour.

Great relaxing weekend

Yellowstone Lake is great for hiking and fishing. They even have a swimming area. But a must is the small ice cream shop that has even lunch menu. The wife and I just loved the small town that was a drive away as well

Small, close to 2 busy roads - there are nicer options in Southern Wis.

Throughout the summer of 2020, I camped at a number of Wisconsin state parks in the southern part of the state but hadn't gotten to camp at this one yet. While driving through the area I visited the park in December- photos won't show its summertime beauty but my walk through the park identified some ideal spots for camping. 

The state park is open year-round, camping open May - October. The first thing I visited were the walk-in campsites. There is a loading zone parking lot with limited time parking. Access to the 14 walk-in sites is via a single trail with campsites on either side of the trail. There is a decrepit but functional pit toilet. All the walk-in sites have a picnic table and each is tucked off the trail into the woods.

The downside to the walk-in sites is their proximity to a major highway. While walking through the campground I could easily hear the road noise. If I were looking to get away from civilization, or at least pretend to be far away from it all, that road noise would be a constant reminder that I wasn't. The further down the walk-in site trail I got, the closer I got to the highway and in fact, car headlights showed right up the trail as I was approaching the last set of campsites.

When looking at a map and choosing a site, the walk-in campsites on the same side of the trail as the toilet are a little more private and secluded, and back up to expansive woods. The sites on the other side of the trail are nice but they are a little closer to the freeway and don't have as much forest coverage behind the campsites. The furthest walk-in site is at least a 4-minute (slightly downhill) walk from the parking lot. The centrally-located restroom is no more than 2 minutes from any of the walk-in campsites. Sites are between 40 and 1,000 feet from the walk-in loading zone.

If walking to your campsite isn't your thing there is also a family campground with 17 drive-in (not drive through) sites located along a typical one-way paved road system. Unfortunately, this side of the state park is bordered by a different and only slightly less traveled road than the walk-in sites. Some campsites are sandwiched between the loop road and the main road, are lit by nighttime traffic headlights lights. As the campground road continues toward the group campground it veers away from the main road and offers a bit more privacy. These are the sites I'd select if I were to camp here.

Of the group campsites, 55 and 56 are in a nicely wooded area with shade. 52 53 and 54 are in an open area with no shade. The family campground is serviced by two pit toilets centrally located to the campsites.

Due to the very small size of this state park, lack of much to do except one hiking trail through it, and proximity to two main roads, I would not recommend the state park. There are many others in southern Wisconsin that have far more to offer. 

Seriously, if you're looking for a Wisconsin state park in this neck of the woods, check out Yellowstone Lake or Blue Mound State Park instead. See my review of the latter for specific spots that would be awesome for tent camping.

Fun place to go

We have only been to this campground one time because we wanted to try something new. We had a lot of fun there playing in the water on the beach however my son who was five at the time got a really bad bacterial rash from the water. Other than that we had a really good time and the campground was very clean and everyone was really nice. We were definitely go back but not to swim in the water LOL

Busy but quiet

I stayed here for two nights in September in a tent. Almost all the sites were taken when I arrived around 2pm on a Friday. They do take reservations. The campground was nice with pit toilets and water available. It wasn’t loud even with a lot of people.

Beautiful and popular

Over 5,000 acres, featuring two lakes and some truly beautiful trails. It’s best to get reservations early. Twin Valley campground is split into upper and lower. Lower being better for larger RVs while upper has more shaded, cozier sites better for smaller rigs and tents. Cox Hollow campground is more open and may have some pull through spaces. Nearby are the kitschy House on the Rock and Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Taliesin home and studio. Recommend the Jumping Jupiter General store outside the park for all your camping needs.

Stroll through the bat village

Maquoketa Cave State Park , Maquoketo, Iowa

We stopped here for two days on our “Westward Ho” road trip in mid August 2020. Temperatures 80’s in the day to 60’s overnight.

I am not highly familiar with Iowa, I will admit however I AM extremely amazed at this little unique Park in the middle of farmland Iowa. Most of the trip here was driving between fields of corn as far as the eye could see (we came through Illinois).

The town of the same first name is small but the necessities can be had. Found a small shop with local meat, honey and yummies. The drive to the park was pretty straight forward with signage along the way.

This is a very basic park, no lake, no added attractions just trails , picnicking and a small , quiet (well…. I had a family directly across with very talkative, argumentative, sometimes loud children, …luck of the draw ;) and well shaded, electric sites. I like the spacing, privacy and shade. There are several water hydrants throughout the campground to use. A shower house that I will be visiting soon. Firewood on site, with donation box.

You probably don’t want sites 1 or 2, they are directly across from the dump site. The plus is they are directly across from the playground , picnic area and trail access.

Trail access is a short walk across the shelter/ picnic area. As of right now Officially the caves are closed. I saw several hikers not being official though.

The trails have sign posts and the map in a VERY general way gives you some idea as to where you are at BUT there are trails criss crossing everywhere so make sure you have your map tracker on. The trails/scenery are AMAZING! LOVED IT! Needs some maintenance (ie, downed trees) but they may have limited staffing right now. I would suggest a visit even if you only have a few hours. Once they reopen the caves I will absolutely be back.


Love the campground but the owner is rude. Love the rest of the staff though.

Great state park

Great park in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. Not far from the house on the rock and Taliesin. Great open hiking trail. Well laid out sites with lots of space.

Only ding is the price of a state park pass. Not pro rated and they expire at the end of the calendar year.


Loved this place! So many trails , 3 nice camp areas, clean bathrooms, dog friendly, and beautiful views . I went mid week while it was freezing ,so not to many ppl , but Friday night rolled around and it sure did fill up fast . I will definitely go back in the summer for kayaking .