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Lena, ILLINOIS

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Buggy but beautiful

I think if we were here when it is less buggy, we would have enjoyed it much more but at the end of May, we saw a guy wearing a head net he said he wouldn’t sell to us for a$100 (and we probably would have paid it!) 

Be aware if you approach from the north, you will see signs for the park that say no camping! But then there is a sign that says camping is two miles down the road, however, the sign is very easy to miss, and we passed it. 

Sites are nice and spaced a decent bit apart. Site 15 has a nice shade tree. Bathrooms and showers are clean but there are no hooks in the bathrooms to hang towels or toiletries and the bathrooms are separate from the showers. The building has a cement walkway around it but you have to walk through the grass to get there. 

There are beautiful overlooks of the Mississippi River from paved walking trails. The camp hosts were very friendly.

Good for family campground

This camp site does not have very secluded spots. I would have enjoyed a more quiet plot of land amongst some pine trees.

We did not get out to see much of the park. Would like to come back and experience the actual beauty of the park not just the family campground.

Yellowstone lake state park spot 15

We camped in a “walk in” spot about 200 feet from where you can park the car. It is very secluded and tree cover allows you to be hidden from all others.

Nice place

This state park was vary nice . The site was a nice size and had a platform for the tent so we didn't flood . Unfortunately it poured and was freezing when we went so we couldn't do much hiking. The bathrooms were clean and also has the weather report over the speakers which was nice . They are vary dog friendly although you can't take your dog up the tower ( prob for safety reasons) . In the summer they also have a small water park there, which for family's is awesome . Definitely will go back 👍

Ranger review- Midland Radio at Governor Dodge

What a fun weekend we had a Governor Dodge State Park! There were a total of 19 of us in our group, spread out over 8 sites in the Twin Valley Campground (240, 255, 256, 257, 261, 265, 266, & 267) We had a mixture of electric and non electric sites and all were very nice. The first weekend in October can sometimes be a little iffy weather wise, but we lucked out with pretty warm temperatures. We got quite a bit of rain on Saturday, but none of the sites had issues with flooding like we experienced in the spring at site 269. We walked down to that site and it looked like they had fixed the drainage pipe so the flooding there was not as bad as the previous trip. Bathrooms/showers were warm and clean, and the vault toilets were not bad although there were a few spiders. The Stevens Falls and Canyon Trails were the highlight of the trip- even in the rain! First you can explore the old spring house and read the informational signs about the family that used to farm there and other early settlers in the area. Once you continue down to the falls they have another informational plaque about the falls with old pictures, but unfortunately this plaque was not as well maintained so it’s difficult to see. The falls themselves are amazing. There is a slippery uneven staircase to go down, but there is a sturdy handrail. We spent quite a bit of time walking around and looking behind the falls, then continued down the canyon trail enjoying the beauty. Unfortunately the rain and wind picked up so we decided to turn around instead of completing the 3 mile loop. We also took a hike on the bluff trail that goes past campsite 271 that everyone enjoyed- awesome moss everywhere! Some members of our group took the trail to the amphitheater, but said while it was a pretty walk there wasn’t anything too special along the way. We went through a lot of firewood- the bags at the park office were $5 and were pretty decent. We also purchased wood from the trailer next to the Don Q inn for $5 an armful, but it was rather wet. We noticed when we drove past Jumping Jupiter General Store that they also had wood (covered by a tarp) but did not stop so I’m unsure of the prices. We stopped at Kate’s Bait and got a nice variety of worms for a reasonable price, although we never got out fishing! The ranger was very helpful in suggesting places to fish though. We had planned on doing a trail ride on horseback through the park at Doby Stables, but unfortunately it was cancelled by them due to the rain. As a ranger for The Dyrt, I sometimes receive products to test. This trip I had the Midland EX210VP E+Ready Bundle that includes 2 X-Talker two way radios and an Emergency Compact Crank Radio. https://midlandusa.com/product/ex210vp-eready-bundle/ I was impressed by both products right away. They are compact, yet sturdy- we’ve had them over a month now and my 4 year old and 6 year old have played with them a lot and they still look brand new! I’ve never really used a two way radio that wasn’t a toy, and the instructions from Midland were easy to understand. I appreciated that you could either use AAA batteries or the included USB rechargeable battery, which lasted the whole weekend. Midland states the range is 26 miles (obstruction free) but we didn’t try it that far- the farthest we tried was about a mile away through the trees but we were still able to hear each other clearly. There is also a weather radio feature that would come in handy if you didn’t have a separate weather radio. The emergency compact crank radio is a solid product as well. We used this all weekend, for weather alerts, listening to music, charging phones, and as a flashlight. It has a rechargeable 2000 mAh battery that can be charged via USB, solar, or hand crank. Battery seemed to last a long time, even when charging phones or playing the radio for a long stretch. The radio will not play when you are charging something, but that wasn’t a big deal to us. The weather alert was nice to have while in the woods during a storm- really reassured the less seasoned campers that we would be ok during the rainstorm. When there is severe weather the radio will make a noise and flash the light so you can be prepared. You can press any button on the radio to turn the noise off and turn on the radio to hear the weather. Overall we were very happy with this bundle.

Ranger review- Midland Radio at Governor Dodge

What a fun weekend we had a Governor Dodge State Park! There were a total of 19 of us in our group, spread out over 8 sites in the Twin Valley Campground (240, 255, 256, 257, 261, 265, 266, & 267) We had a mixture of electric and non electric sites and all were very nice. The first weekend in October can sometimes be a little iffy weather wise, but we lucked out with pretty warm temperatures. We got quite a bit of rain on Saturday, but none of the sites had issues with flooding like we experienced in the spring at site 269. We walked down to that site and it looked like they had fixed the drainage pipe so the flooding there was not as bad as the previous trip. Bathrooms/showers were warm and clean, and the vault toilets were not bad although there were a few spiders. The Stevens Falls and Canyon Trails were the highlight of the trip- even in the rain! First you can explore the old spring house and read the informational signs about the family that used to farm there and other early settlers in the area. Once you continue down to the falls they have another informational plaque about the falls with old pictures, but unfortunately this plaque was not as well maintained so it’s difficult to see. The falls themselves are amazing. There is a slippery uneven staircase to go down, but there is a sturdy handrail. We spent quite a bit of time walking around and looking behind the falls, then continued down the canyon trail enjoying the beauty. Unfortunately the rain and wind picked up so we decided to turn around instead of completing the 3 mile loop. We also took a hike on the bluff trail that goes past campsite 271 that everyone enjoyed- awesome moss everywhere! Some members of our group took the trail to the amphitheater, but said while it was a pretty walk there wasn’t anything too special along the way. We went through a lot of firewood- the bags at the park office were $5 and were pretty decent. We also purchased wood from the trailer next to the Don Q inn for $5 an armful, but it was rather wet. We noticed when we drove past Jumping Jupiter General Store that they also had wood (covered by a tarp) but did not stop so I’m unsure of the prices. We stopped at Kate’s Bait and got a nice variety of worms for a reasonable price, although we never got out fishing! The ranger was very helpful in suggesting places to fish though. We had planned on doing a trail ride on horseback through the park at Doby Stables, but unfortunately it was cancelled by them due to the rain. As a ranger for The Dyrt, I sometimes receive products to test. This trip I had the Midland EX210VP E+Ready Bundle that includes 2 X-Talker two way radios and an Emergency Compact Crank Radio. https://midlandusa.com/product/ex210vp-eready-bundle/ I was impressed by both products right away. They are compact, yet sturdy- we’ve had them over a month now and my 4 year old and 6 year old have played with them a lot and they still look brand new! I’ve never really used a two way radio that wasn’t a toy, and the instructions from Midland were easy to understand. I appreciated that you could either use AAA batteries or the included USB rechargeable battery, which lasted the whole weekend. Midland states the range is 26 miles (obstruction free) but we didn’t try it that far- the farthest we tried was about a mile away through the trees but we were still able to hear each other clearly. There is also a weather radio feature that would come in handy if you didn’t have a separate weather radio. The emergency compact crank radio is a solid product as well. We used this all weekend, for weather alerts, listening to music, charging phones, and as a flashlight. It has a rechargeable 2000 mAh battery that can be charged via USB, solar, or hand crank. Battery seemed to last a long time, even when charging phones or playing the radio for a long stretch. The radio will not play when you are charging something, but that wasn’t a big deal to us. The weather alert was nice to have while in the woods during a storm- really reassured the less seasoned campers that we would be ok during the rainstorm. When there is severe weather the radio will make a noise and flash the light so you can be prepared. You can press any button on the radio to turn the noise off and turn on the radio to hear the weather. Overall we were very happy with this bundle.

Short stay park.

Large trees provide ample shade. A nice park for a short stay. Water is available at certain locations not at individual lots. This is the park with the Chief Blackhawk statue.

Camping for years hands down the best for hiking & exploring

This is my favorite place to camp, two lakes to canoe or paddle boat on. Beautiful waterfall, awesome hiking. The campsite are wooded and more private than many places I have been. October November less people no bugs and beautiful fall foliage, plus a fire feels good that time of year. Highly recommend!

Great place to stay

Everyone was very friendly and really enjoyed our time while there. There was events going on even during rain. The Margarita bar was where bingo, bags tournament and band were at. Can’t say enough about owner Ron and everyone that worked there. Extremely helpful from time you pull in until time to leave. Highly recommend Timber Lake Resort

Beautiful walk-in campsite, great trails

I stayed here for two nights in September. Site 271 was just enough of a walk to feel remote but not so far that I couldn't carry all my stuff. I did have to walk quite close to one of the other walk-in campsites when going to my car, however, so know that if there are other people in the sites nearby, you will see them. The sites close to the road are not private at all. Water is available at drinking fountains/spigots around the campsite. One I tried had barely a trickle but the other one had plenty of water pressure. The bathhouse was fairly clean and had hot showers, which was great after a 10-mile hike one day. I hammock camp, so getting a site with good trees for hammocking is important to me. I appreciated the preview photos on the state's reservation system. The site I picked had lots of great options for hammock hanging! 

The trails at Governor Dodge are amazing. I left on foot from my campsite and hiked the Meadow Valley, Lost Canyon, Stephens Falls and Goldmine trails. Lost Canyon was BEAUTIFUL and had so many interesting geographical features. The trails behind the hike-in campsites also lead to some cliffs with some really amazing views.

Best summer!!

We are seasonal sat crazyhorse campground , this is our first year and we have had the best summer ! ! The people are great from Jim the owner to Barb and Wayne. We have made some great new friends. There are always activities going on , bands , Dj’s, bags contest. The sugar river is so much fun kayaking and tubing which is all part of you stay at crazy horse. Tons of fun for kids and adults , I highly recommend .

Blue Mounds such a diverse campground

Blue Mounds State Park is a great campground.  I love the area all the trees.  They have hike in campsites, bike in campsites and regular campsites.  They also have a group area.  If you are in a tent you will have great luck, I would advise in a trailer or Motor Home to inspect you site closely before you say yest to it, or you may be like us and change it 3 times.  Not very many level sites unless you can get up on the tent pad.  At one we thought was fairly level our tires were a good 3 inches off the ground in front.  We finally found one we could live with.  They have limited sites with Electricity so also if you need that look around.

I will have to say that the facilites are really nice and very clean in fact I have never seen a bathroom floor that clean on a weekend.  

Speaking of weekends it does fill up most weekends so you will need to make reservations unless you want to use the hike in sites.

They have a recreation are also in the park that has a beautiful pool.  Picnic areas that are great and towers you can go up to see the Mounds. 

WE have spent 2 times there this summer and will be back next summer.

If you are there there are a few areas to visit.

Mt Horeb the Troll Capital.  It is a small town about 20 miles if that.  Has a Troll theme and you can see the trolls all over the town.  Some good restaurants and one of the weekends we were there was the Art   Tour it is in the entire area and had some great art studios you could visit.

Cave of the Mounds is another place you have to visit.  This is a great cave during the week they give guided tours on the weekend it is self guided but have docents around explaining everything.  Well worth the money and trip.  This is about 5 miles from the Park.

I will say no internet and cell phone was very spotty. It is also one of the darkest areas if you are into the stars, just put something on for Mosquitos. 

All in all a good solid 4, only down side was we were in a Motor Home and the not level sites was not the best.

Love!

Went here for a family vacation! Had an amazing time, close to mount horeb so was able to drive in for a day to look around. Site were spacious and most were pretty concealed.

An unusual historic state park

Prophetstown is a park that has a great deal of history about the Battle of Tippecanoe which happened on November 7th, 1811.  It was a conflict between a coalition of 14 tribes and 1,200 troops.  The indians lost and moved on to Wildcat Creek.  The park has replicas of both the indian village and the white settlement of white settlements. There are excellent bike paths and wonderful explanation of the geology of the park.  The campsites are electricity and full hookup.

Activities yes, nature-less

We had the campsite right across from the pool and the tiki bar. The site was easy to get into with help from the friendly staff. We were surprised to have a bar right outside our campsite, but with an RV running the fan all night the noise didn't bother us at all. This campground is great if you want to watch football Saturday morning with a bloody Mary in hand, and like kids activities like bingo. There was also a very good CCR cover band playing, so my kid felt like she was at a real rock concert. Pool was kept open late in September because it was warm. Overall we really enjoyed our time there. It's a great place for socializing. If you're looking for peace and quiet and natural beauty, this is not the place. We would go back for Sure- level campsite, friendly staff that let us stay late when we had a flat tire and waiting for tow, and overall experience. Easy full hook ups made it a very fun experience with lots of full timers there.

One of our favorites

We spend quite a bit of time here. We hunt here and camp here year round. Tons of forest with cross country, equestrian, and hiking trails. One of the best lakes in Wisconsin for fishing along with a nice beach, and pet area. There is a free gun range. Hunt anything from pheasent to deer. There is also a nice bar and grill just down the street. Along with dairy bar as part of the park. Showers and bathrooms are always clean.

Tent camping near lake

Tent sites are in hickory hills area. Easy walk to showers/toilets over across from site 100. Tent sites are much more shaded and private than electric sites. We were traveling with another family so had two sites. If you have two parties I'd recommend sites 27 and 31 which have a little private path and potentially 53 and 5 which also appeared to have a path between them. Our sites 47 and 53 were big and shaded but not very flat for sleeping. Boat launch very close if you bring your own kayaks or canoes. There are also some for rent at the other end of the park. Park and ice at concessions.

First to Review
Vel Terra on oasis outside of major tourist destination in Illinois

Galena Illinois is a major tourist spot for Chicago folks to get away too. This camp site is 20 min from Galena 5 min from Elizabeth and 15 min from Apple Canyon. Has both RV and Tent sites. Fire pits and picnic tables are at each site. They porta John at the one end of camp is unbelievably clean! The bathrooms and showers at the other end of camp are also very very clean. Jeff the owner left a lovely note inviting me to pick my spot as I was the only tent/car camper that night even though I had reserved spot 12. He also pointed out that there were some walking trails but to be wary of a poisonous plant.
The grounds are impeccably kept. He provides wood for you to burn. Give this place a try for a nice weekend get away from the city. There is so much to do in the area but if note Apple canyon has some really nice hiking trails they label from easy to rugged. There is also plenary of kayaking and other neat outdoor things to do. Add in there are several winery’s and great restaurants if you don’t want to cook fireside!

Nice campground, near river, also near noisy train

Overall nice campground. Hosts are friendly and I saw rangers driving through multiple times. Each site includes picnic table and fire pit. Most have electric. 

The toilets in the back part by the electric campsites are pit toilets. Flush toilets, sink, and showers up by the check in area. There’s a playground for kids. 

Sites by the river don’t have much shade. Sites by the tracks are the most “wooded” but also right near the trains. Trains are noisy—we slept through them but are also used to living by a train station. Your mileage may vary on that one. 

We (tent campers) had site 24. It’s the last site in that part of the driveway and I recommend it because you have a lot of open space to one side plus not far from water or bathrooms. The most wooded sites are at the end farthest away from the entrance but tent campers should know there are a lot of RVs down there usually. 

We used this as a stop over on a longer road trip. If you like boating or fishing this is probably a good fit. Galena and Dubuque are not far. Overall not a lot of hiking or activities in the immediate area though. Good option for an overnight.

As a note, we have ATT and had decent cell service here.

Great campground near a rails-to-trails type of path

This is a nice campground that winds around through some light woods. Campsites have electric hookups. There are certainly lots of picnic tables. We saw more than one per site. With only a few people camping here, there was plenty of space between campers. There is no separating vegetation though. 

A bike path in Pecatonica which is just down the road. Camp here and day trip on the bike path or use this as a stop for your long distance bike tour. 

This is a great campground to get away near a nice small town.

Beautiful park!

Beautiful park to camp. Very spacious and lots of trees for shade. A perfect spot to come and have some relaxing time away from the city. Park has trails that lead to the river. My site number was 69. I definitely will return to this park again.

Beautiful

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL campground!!

Nice hiking, right on river

This campground was a nice new campers test. The site was flat and there was some hiking and we definitely took advantage of being able to walk down to the park by the river. The river was separated from the campground by a major road which was a shame and I felt like more could be done so people can enjoy the riverside. 

There was a nice firepit and it was a peaceful area. 

I wouldn't come back here again just because I feel we saw everything there was to see. But it was great for a weekend!

Quiet, dog-friendly campground with trails, lakes, and beautiful sunsets

Yellowstone Lake State Park was a last-minute weekend destination for a few friends and I. We live in nearby Madison, WI and were looking for something within an hour of the city for single night stay. Yellowstone Lake is the perfect spot as it's clean, quiet, and has a number of outdoor activities to do within the grounds. 

Fishing, ATV trails, Snowmobile trails, dog trails, off-leash dog beach, and a good beach for people round out a really nice weekend. Pair that with summer concerts and a wide array of spot types, everyone can enjoy a weekend trip to Yellowstone Lake. 

We stopped in the administration building and picked up a trail map and did over 3 miles of easy hiking and could have extended it if we pleased. We stopped halfway at the off-leash dog beach with our puppies and continued the journey. 

Campers were all pleasant and kept noise to a minimum.

We stayed at the Walk-In tent sites which had a great view of the lake / sunset only a few feet away (these were not on the water, but higher over looking the water).

Wisconsin Country

We stayed here to visit friends in rural Wisconsin. This is a wonderful location for just relaxing or doing things in Dubuque. The views are pastoral…rolling Wisconsin bluffs and farms. We stayed in site 25 which was on an end, had great views, a concrete patio with table and chairs, and was level. Not all sites had the patio nor were level. There is road noise from the highway which is a few (3) blocks away but after the first night we didn’t notice it as much. Shower house was immaculate with large hard stalled showers/changing room. Nice rec room with TV, games, books, soft seating, pinball, ping pong, and pool table. Outdoor games set-up on the grass like Cornhole, croquet, etc. The store had firewood, ice, but grocery type items were very limited.

Hickory Hills Primitive

We booked a couple of days ahead of our stay, and ended up with one of the last 2 sites in the primitive tent area. The site was on the end of an inlet, and the water was full of algae– not a great view, but the lot was a decent size. Not as big as some state campgrounds that we’ve been to, but big enough for our single tent and it had a small fire ring with grate and a picnic table.  (NOTE: There appears to be a shortage of picnic tables in this area, and we ended up snatching one from the neighboring site as the residents hadn’t arrived yet. It was an east/west facing lot, and had a couple of trees of the east side, so no afternoon shade. Tough luck on a weekend with temps hanging around 90 degrees! Luckily, I had taken a large tarp and managed to rig some shade with the help of the trees. The toilets in the primitive area are pit– there are 2 sets so no one has to walk far. The toilets closest to our lot were better than I had expected from a pit– no smell in the women’s, although I was told that the men’s was pretty foul. There were, as usual, plenty of flies and spiders, but the TP was always stocked. There were flush toilets and showers near the RV camp areas. I first, used the showers in the Plum Grove section– there were 3 showers with very old with rusty, crusty shower curtains. The way that they were laid out, the changing area for the first two showers were a walkway for the other showers. However, I later used the shower close to the Staghorn area, and it was a bit newer and nicer. No walkthrough problems, and there was a door between the changing area and the main section. Overall, the entire campground was nice and well kept. The general store was small, but carried quite a bit for its size. There was also another store at Pierce Lake where they rented kayaks and paddle boats, sold fishing gear, ice cream, etc. At this same location there’s a small concession area– the hot dogs were pretty good.“Quiet time” isn’t exactly enforced(unfortunately). We were lucky enough camp on a weekend when a group(maybe 10 tents) of wannabe musicians were camping. They played bongos and guitars and sang until 11:30 p.m. Add that to the families with kids and scooters that started tooling around the tents at 7:00 a.m.(yes, technically the end of quiet time, but really?), and it could have been quieter.

NOTE:  I forgot to mention that the sites along the water's edge were covered in goose poo.  We spent around 20 minutes clearing the site.  Nature, whatcha gonna do?

Summer camping

Great forests and trails! Nice for camping in that the campsites are not too close together but there are still bathrooms

Decent campground, minimal activities

The camp ground itself was decent. It was very small but was enough for a two night stay. I was disappointed in the lack of activities there were there. They have two lakes for fishing and a bike trail. Not much for hiking.

Love this campground

I stayed at a primitive site right on the lake and was able to keep my canoe at my site in the water. Easy booking and check-in/out. Large camping spots and nice trails

Very big campsites

Very big campsites, sites where more like a rainbow then flat but more then enough space to back up. Plenty of shade very friendly