The Land of 10,000 Lakes is also notable for its likewise numerous assortment of trails and campgrounds for avid lovers of the great outdoors. Minnesota has many diverse natural environments to explore all across the state. While there are lots of spots to choose from, here are a couple especially neat sites to consider for your next foray when camping in Minnesota.
Part of the massive Dulux Complex rock formation, Eagle Mountain stands at a whopping 2,301 feet, the highest point of elevation in the state. Isolated from higher ground for hundreds of miles and overlooking several different lakes and a vast forest, the peak offers excellent opportunities to take a bird’s eye view of Minnesota’s rich natural beauty.
In addition to the campsites adjacent to Whale Lake, there are also many trails that run along the mountain, through the woods, and beside the lakes. Just keep in mind that Eagle Mountain’s trails overlap with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, so be sure to get a BWCAW permit if you plan to cross over. Plus, you need an overnight permit from the Forest Service in nearby Tofte, MN.
The starting point for the grand Mississippi River, Lake Itasca, rests within Itasca State Park. The park hosts a variety of camping amenities such as lodges and internet access. You can also stop at the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center to learn more about the lake and its link to the Mississippi. Or you can check out the University of Minnesota’s Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories campus.
In addition to excellent camping facilities, Lake Itasca has many other outdoor sights and activities for visitors to explore. Multiple trails snake by the shores of the lake and into the adjacent wilderness, and it’s definitely a great place to experience the beauty of Minnesota’s northern ecosystems. Plus, you can go fishing at the lake, assuming you have the necessary permits.
With so many different campsites and trails throughout Minnesota’s diverse natural environments, there’s bound to be one that’s just right for you. Whatever you’re looking for in your camping experience, whether it’s finding deluxe accommodations or exploring unique trails or getting a great view of the landscape, you’re sure to have a blast camping in Minnesota.
Came in august for Thomas the train in Duluth. This campground is great. Tons of trees for shade. Everything you Need to enjoy a weekend away. Pool, hot tub, WiFi, showers, arcade, laundry, c store, and lots more. We will be back!!
First camping trip of 2020. You can reserve campsites with the online reservation system this year, which was great. This site was a 1/4 hike (we snowshoed) from the parking area. It was down a hill and set on the cliff of a pond. There were not any other sites nearby, it was very private and had its own portable toilet.. I think it would be equally beautiful in the summer. They had hiking, xcountry skiing and snowshoeing.
There are nice hiking trails right out of the campsite and we went exploring. We liked BP1, 2 and 3. Each were set on a lake and BP1 had a mostly unobstructed view of the lake. The only drawback was that BP1 does not have its own toilet and you have to walk a ways, back over to BP2.
We drove to the other parking area to do some more hiking and exploring. The hiking club trail is on this loop. We didn’t like the campsites on the west end as much (BP9-BP12) as they were all too close together and open. The campsites on lakes looked fabulous - BP8, BP14 and I assume BP5 is nice, but a big hike. The camper cabins looked wonderful as well.
I loved all the trails and hiking opportunities. We will definitely visit again.
9/27/19-9/29/19. BP 5
If you love to backpack and hike in, this is a site for you! It is a 1 1/2 mile hike on the SHT to the top of Lookout Mountain. 3 miles round-trip so pack your gear wisely. Many people hike to this overlook and may not realize there is a reservable campsite tucked behind. The overlook is not far away and accessible any time you want to go take a peek. We had.it to ourselves in the early morning so I put up a hammock to watch the sunrise and have my coffee. The overlook gets very busy during the day so we would leave and do our own adventuring. The hike itself iI would deem “difficult” as it is all uphill, but so worth the payoff.
We went during peak falls colors and this site was a huge treat. We had fall colors, sunrise views, Eagles and northern lights. The northern lights were a bit dimmed however, from light pollution in Grand Marais. Still fun to see, nonetheless. The site itself was spacious and had a storm shelter. This is where we kept most of our gear and spent our time hanging out at night. There are some pines on site that were perfect for a hammock. You were also able to gather wood on top of the mountain and someone had left some behind. Even though it’s right off the SHT it was still pretty private and a gorgeous site. I highly recommend this for backpackers!
It’s always a good sign when you are checking in and are told you booked the best campsite in the park. We choose a backpacking site this time around and it did not disappoint! This was my first time hiking in and it was a short 1/2 mile.
5/3/19-5/5/19. I’ve hiked Gooseberry Falls MANY times over the years (including trips to the lesser known Fifth Falls, which is a must-see, by the way) but this was my first time camping here.
The snow had melted and the ground was dry. The park was empty for the most part. None of the sites are right on the lake, there is a road in between, but a few had nicer lake views. Those sites were taken so we landed in site 50, in the center of the campground. Our campsite had many pines and was somewhat secluded. A few sites were close by and privacy may be an issue in the busier season, but it worked just fine in early May. The indoor bathrooms were open, which was a plus and a short walk from our site. There were several paths that led to the lake and views were gorgeous, sunrise views with a morning coffee were beautiful. These were trails I had never explored and are only accessible if you park nearby or are camping.
Besides being less crowded, the best part about camping in early May is spring runoff and the waterfalls are massive and flowing with lots of power. We coined it waterfall weekend and took full advantage of many waterfalls up and down 61.
Overall I would recommend camping at Gooseberry - semi-private, quiet and near Lake Superior. Hiking is fabulous here in all seasons . I do wish they maintained a few campsites in the winter.
We've camp here before, and it's a lovely park. The problem is that it is increasingly popular during the summer, so you have too book well in advance. When we checked on a Tuesday in late August, all sites were already reserved for the next four days. (We instead stayed at a campground in the Eckbeck Forest nearby.)
We still spent the day rock climbing in the park. The black flies were unbearable along the hiking trails though, so we ended our day hours early because we were getting painfully bitten so much, even with bug spray and long sleeves/pants.
This was the first MN state park we’ve been to in the “shoulder” season (weekday before Memorial Day) that was staffed and had boat rentals available. Very spacious sites; the best ones in the main campground (with electric) are along Grass Lake (7,8,15,16) but all would be decent sites. Well-marked hiking trails, however, if you take the figure 8 hike around Cataract and Grass Lakes, it IS longer than the two miles advertised! Clean restrooms and showers. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. The only warning (and we were warned upon arrival) is to watch for ticks. I found two on me.
Sites were a mix of electric and non-electric in the same loop, with the non-electric on the outside of the loops and some might consider to be better, as they are closer to the bluffs and views of the water. Clean bathrooms and showers and well-marked hiking trails. Sites were a little closer together than in some MN state parks we’ve been in but spacious enough. In our camper van, we had no problem, but if you have a large Class A, it might be a tight squeeze (as evidenced by us watching one struggle to get into the site next to us)! Bring your bug repellent if you are there in the spring - you will need it!! We used our screen room to escape the bugs, not shield us from the sun!
We stayed here after visiting nearby Pipestone National Monument. With the exception of noise from the adjacent road and the occasional train thundering by, this small campground was very quiet and peaceful (we could even hear the birds twittering). Sites are generous in size but with limited privacy from foliage. Electric and non but only one water spigot near the bathrooms. Bathrooms were clean as was the shower, however, in the women’s shower, it was necessary to hold the button continuously for water flow (not the case for the men’s shower). We did not need reservations in mid-May, however, only downside is there was not much to do in the shoulder season when we were there. In summer you can rent kayaks for the small lake.
It’s the perfect place to escape (no cell service and very quiet). Spent summer maintaining the campsites and the Trails End Cafe. Campsites are kept cleared of previous camper’s trash, it’s mowed, &bathrooms are cleaned and restocked every morning! Just please don’t steal the TP! If you didn’t bring any (biodegradable) soap with you there’s showers you can buy at the Cafe ($2 or $3 if I can remember) also there’s usually a ton of gear you can buy in case you forgot something or damaged your own. Rent a kayak or a canoe and do some exploring in the beautiful BWCA! Bring a growler and go fishing, swimming, cliff jumping, gunnel pumping, canoe racing, or anything you can think of. Just down the road at the Voyager’s outfitters they have a lot of younger people working there and they are very friendly & love new people to interact with (gets lonely up that far lol) ask if there’s anything going on during your visit! Just keep it wild out there & leave no trace!
We stayed here mid-week in August and there were a few campsites available. The sites themselves are spread out, so they feel relatively private for a campground. Each site had a woodchip bed upon which you can pitch your tent, making sleeping here one of our more comfortable camping experiences during our road trip. You can conveniently pay the site reservation fee online, no printing necessary. You do need to remember to separately pay your car entrance fee, also online. The campground had nice, clean bathroom facilities and an impressive recycling system. Only downside is that the sites in our area smelled faintly like an outhouse, which was likely worsened by the recent rain.
This campground is really great, the main downside is that in order to pay the fee you have to drive to City Hall which is about 2 miles away.
There are both group campsites and individual campsites here. From the entrance road, once you see the camping rules sign you will take a right down a dirt road to the individual sites. Otherwise if you keep driving straight past the portage, then you will find the group sites.
When we arrived there was no one else occupying campsites, so you might have the whole place to yourself!
Things to do around the park:
Hiking trails to Wolf Creek Falls
Boating and fishing
Read about the history of this former sandstone quarry site (there's a collection of interesting info boards near the portage)
Rock climbing including the state's best 12a/b!!! Sigma lives up to the hype. More info on the rock climbing in this area: https://www.mountainproject.com/area/105812719/robinson-park
Ice climbing in winter months (but you'd be crazy to camp in MN winters, in my opinion)
Paddle past the Robinson Ice Cave known to be a popular bat habitat
whitewater rapid rafting
2/15/19-2/17/19. We arrived in the dark and found a clipboard to select your campsite by the main office. It’s first come, first serve. Only a select number of campsites are available in February in the main loop.
The roads were plowed and campsites that were open were well marked. We stayed in #17 and it was shoveled out and kept up for a nice winter camp. The outhouses were open and a short walk from our campsite. We cross country skied on groomed trailed right in the park and they are beautiful. The lake was frozen so we also got to experience walking on Lake superior as well as hiking within the park. It snowed all weekend and I really enjoyed my experience. If you have never winter camped I highly recommend your first time at Tettegouche. Bring a 4-season tent a warm sleeping bag, layer up and make a nice fire.
We also got to see the famous “sea stack” (3rd photo) from the ice. Which was taken down and crumbled during a powerful winter storm in November 2019.
Amazing hike in only campground. 1.7 mile hike into Tettegouche camp. It has 4 cabins for rent and a main lodge available for use. Has a one room cabin for 2 people with a queen bed, small refrigerator, an electric cook top, dishes and a table with 2 chairs. Heated by a wood stove and has back up furnace if temperature goes below 50 degrees. Very cute, cozy, romantic cabin! There are also three 2 bedroom cabins that sleep 4-6 people. NO RUNNING WATER OR BATHROOM IN THE CABINS but there is a very clean, very nice bathroom house with electricity on site. Your cabin rental includes a canoe to use on beautiful Mic Mac Lake. There is no WiFi and this is not a pet friendly campground. It is very peaceful and quiet. We saw deer and rabbits roaming about. Amazing hiking trails near by and very near the shore of Lake Superior. The cabins are reservable and hard to secure as they are in high demand. I gave this campground 5 out of 5 stars because it is amazing!
About a 25 minute drive west of Grand Rapids, MN, Schoolcraft State Park is a less-often visited park that makes up for its lack of hiking trails and in-park amenities with cozy, quiet charm.
The park does not have a visitor center, but it does have a small shelter near the entrance of the park which houses a box with maps and self-registration envelopes. It also has bundles of wood for $6.
We are visiting during Labor Day weekend and there are still sites available. I think next time we visit this park we will skip the $7 online registration fee and just take whatever site is available because this campground just doesn’t fill up.
There is one hiking loop around the entirety of the park that very easy, but it is a beautiful walk through peaceful red pine forest.
The campsites are semi-wooded and private with fire pits equipped with grates and picnic tables.
Overall, the park is quiet and peaceful. Just right for a camper who likes to relax at camp.
Great campground that is very well kept. Not for the casual or starter camper as bears do wander the campground and need to make sure you keep all food cleaned up. Lots of great hiking within walking distance, and easy access to bwca if you want to do day trips.