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.
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The north campground loop is more RV-oriented, while the smaller south loop attracts the tents. The sites are fairly close together but those on the outside of the south loop have some vegetation to separate them so they feel reasonably private. Nice bathroom facilities, including an outdoor dishwashing sink, perfect for the COVID year. Several nice hiking opportunities leaving directly from the campground. This was one of the buggier campgrounds we experienced during our August trip, though. In all, a nice campground but nothing so special that you need to go far out of your way for it.
If you're looking for somewhere to park a big RV, this campground is modern, convenient, and nicely-equipped. There's no privacy or nature to be had, though. It's a grassy plain with straight rows of pull-throughs.
However, there are a handful of walk-in sites off to the side that looked quite nice. That's definitely the way to go if you'd like to pitch a tent and have a little peace and quiet.
How would you like to camp on your own private island? Reserve the single canoe-in site and make your dreams come true! We had such an excellent time hanging out on our little island and using it as a home base for combined canoeing and hiking day trips. You should be comfortable in a canoe before you commit to this, as it's a decent distance to paddle from the dock to the site, and you'll be loaded with gear. The paddling can also get pretty tough when the wind picks up, especially on the open stretches of the lake.
The park is beautiful and large, and the canoe-in site is spacious and very pleasant. There's some noise from speedboats and fishing boats during the day, but you get the lake to yourself once the sun sets and everyone else goes home. The mosquitoes were not bad on the island, though there were some annoying flies in the afternoons.
Our only disappointment was that there were no good swimming options from the island itself. Too many reeds, and the boat dock is in a shallow mucky area. We had better luck paddling to other spots to swim.
The walk-in sites here are so good I almost don't want to spill the secret. There's just two sites, far from the main campsite and everything else, and spaced decently far apart from each other. They're nestled in quiet pine groves on a ridge overlooking the lake. The lake is electric motors only, so it's peaceful all the time. The sites are spacious and flat, and there are excellent hammock possibilities.
A few things to know: it's a bit of a walk from the parking spaces, at least a quarter mile, but there was a single cart provided when we were there. There are no bear boxes, so you're on your own for protecting your food from critters. And while the sites are on the lake, there's not great water access. The lakeshore is down a slightly treacherous slope from the sites, and the reeds and sediment along shore would make it a nuisance to gather drinking water. You're probably better off filling up at the main campground and carting your water in. I doubt it would be great swimming from shore either, though I'm sure you could make it work if you were determined.
We stayed here with two young kids tent camping. We stayed in site A20 due to the close proximity to the bathrooms. The grounds were very well kept and groomed. The sites were pretty close together with no trees in between, but only around 25% of sites were occupied when we were there so it wasn’t a problem. I would imagine it would be very cozy and not much privacy when full, which could be the only potential drawback. There were a fair amount of RVs- we were one of only a few tents I saw. There were some nice looking cabins on our loop as well. It was a very short walk down a path to the beautiful lake which was deserted when we were there. The bathrooms looked new and were very well kept. There was even one family restroom with a shower which was so awesome for trying yo get two small kids cleaned up. Loved that. Overall this was a great campsite when not full and we had a great time.
This is a combo campground and city park, a joint effort of the Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources and the city of Baudette. While serving the recreational needs of townsfolk, it also provides great access to the famous Rainy River and a good place for out of town fishermen to stay. The campgound has water and electric hookups for RVs, and a separate primitive tenting area for those who prefer quiet tent camping. Clean restrooms and amazing hot showers. Good play areas for kids and family dogs, and access to community recreation areas such as ball park, horseshoes, volleyball etc. The fishing ramp is a beautifully maintained professional ramp with cement apron and docks, for good access for fishing boats on trailers, canoes or kayaks. This section of the Rainy River is a fishermans paradise, with sturgeon and other prizes, so it is great to have a spot to camp right on the river if you want to go fishing.
There are only two issues, you will need to be careful while fishing as the river marks the border with Canada and you do have to be careful on which side you are fishing. Also, the Canadian Pacific Railroad runs right along the river and the frequent trains are a little noisy. Otherwise, if fishing is your mission, this is a comfortable, convenient and clean place to camp.
This is a review for the walk-in, canoe-in campsite #C1. It is actually located in a secluded part of the park, more than a mile from the main campground. It is meant to be a campsite for park campers who want a more private location than the regular campground and dont mind backpacking or carting their gear in, or for paddlers from the Mississippi River who access it as a Water Trail stop by paddling to it up Pike Creek. The park itself is located near the town of Little Falls, MN and there is easy access from Hwy 10, or from the River. In all honesty, I have driven past Little Falls many times en route to Minneapolis or elsewhere but never stopped; I never realized what a small hidden jewel this park is, and within it what a terrific camping opportunity exists here for secluded walk-in or paddle-in campers.
The campsite itself is gorgeous, a beautiful setting on the sandy banks of Pike Creek. My friend and I packed in our gear on the short hiking trail to get here, but I do have a friend who paddled in here not long ago and recommended it highly. Pike Creek is a clear, beautiful stream that is peaceful to camp on, and there are several hikes you can make from the site. There is a heavy duty fire ring with sturdy grill, tenting spots for several tents, picnic table, steps down to the water, swimming access nearby, and rack to store your canoe or kayak if you have one. You do need to hike about 2/10 of a mile to get to bathrooms and water source; you have to hike about a mile to the main campground if you want showers. But if you don't mind the trek for any of those, this is one sweet campsite!
While we were here, we hiked the trail along Pike Creek which was scenic, including rapids; there are many wooded trails, and a longer trail to hike into the location where Charles Lindbergh landed the "Jenny" in 1927 on what was then an open field on the family homestead. We also hiked to the Missisippi River, which is a nice trail in and of itself, but also leads to two history museums and a Living History Site, one operated by the county historicall society (http://morrisoncountyhistory.org/) , the others by the Minnesota State Historical Society ( https://www.littlefallsmn.com/things-to-do/charles-lindbergh-house-and-museum ) . The land encompassed by the park is hisotric for 2 reasons: Zebulon Pike spent the winter here with a search party who were going up river to search for the source of the Mississippi River, and probably camped right at the very campsite here on the sores of Pike Creek; and a century later it was the homestead of the Lindbergh family and where aviator Charles grew up. So, camping here is a pleasure if you are interested in history as well as nature, off the beaten path.
In addition, you can bike a bike trail to Little Falls which then connects you to maze of local trails, https://www.littlefallsmn.com/things-to-do/bike-and-hike , or while at the park you can paddle the river (rent gear locally if you didnt bring your own: http://www.shirleymaesoutfitters.com/ )
You can also drive bout 5 miles to a terrific National Wildlife Refuge at Crane Meadows, we hiked there and really enjoyed bird watching and the rare oak savannah and tall grass prairie.
This campsite is really a hidden jewel. The only reason I didnt give it 5 stars was because there is a train line that runs along the Mississippi River a few miles from the campsite, and the sound of train whistles in the evening really carries. Otherwise it is very secluded and beautiful, and a great choice if wanting to explore the area. if you are a birder, the tremendous variety of birds (kingfishers, various woodpeckers, warblers, waterfowl, and more) is great, though be forewarned that a screech owl hangs out near this campsite, and it was a bit unnerving the first time we heard it!
The site we had was isolated nicely and the ground was easy for a tent set up. There was some mosquitos, but the disappeared at night which was nice. The trail near by was nice, but driving into the park and finding a trail were better. The fire tower was also cool!