Great little site. Didnt stay long. We were bike riding the Paul Bunyon Trail and rode into Crow Wing in the dark. I self registered because the office was closed (wrote in canoe site since you can't reserve it online). Pictured is my son at the site with our tent that we forgot to pack poles for.
This is a canoe campsite that is part of the Mississippi River Headwaters Water Trail, one stop on the paddle trail which allows canoers and kayakers to paddle from Lake Itasca to to the north, all the way to the Iowa border. And although this is one of the canoe campsites on the water trail, it is also located within the boundaries of a state park, so so it administere a little differently. This campsite is not park of the State Park campground, which is located at the north end of the park, but rather it is located at the south end of the park with its own canoe landing, and is adjacent to, but sequestered away from, the group campsite which is remotely located in the park.
The canoe campsite os beautifully maintained by the state park, and has fire ring, picnic tables, and ample tent space for several tents. There are vault toilets nearby. There is also despoitory for garbage and recyclables. The campsite is up a small hill from the canoe landing, but you can easily and safely leave your watercraft pulled up at the landing, and just pack your gear up the hill. From the campsite, you do have to take a short hike to the park office to get water and firewood if desired. You could hike further north to the main campgrounds if you desire a shower, or to the picnic ground for flush toilets, otherwise the only facility at the canoe campsite are the toilets.
Because the canoe campsite is part of the water trail, and thus separate from the state park even though within its boundaries, you can not reserve the canoe campsite online the way you can for campsites in the mainstate park campground. You can call the park headquarters to ascertain availability or notify them of your ETA, but they say availability is never a problem. You do need to stop by the park office once you arrive, however, to let them know you are in the site and to pay the camping fee which is $22.
This is a comfortable and very safe canoe campsite on the water trail, and has been maintained much more nicely than some of the canoe campsites upstream. The disadvantage is that you may have to walk for water (there is a pump located at the adjacent group campsite, but it is not always operational) or to make use of facilities elsewhere in the park. However, while there, you can hike the trails, visit and learn about the historic townsite and the Red River Oxcart Trail that went through in the 1800's, and visit scenic overlooks around the pak, including the confluence of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers. In the regular season there are naturalists programs. If you are paddling the river and have support crew, there is park road access into the canoe campsite area which is helpful. If you need to re-supply on your own, however, there is no camp store in the park, and none in the vicinity that you could easily get to. Also, if by chance you were having a large group launching from the park for a canoe trip, you could rent the adjacent group campsite instead of or in addition to the small group canoe campsite.
More about the Headwaters watertrail overall can be found here: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/watertrails/mississippiriver/index.html#:~:text=About%20the%20water%20trail,aspen%20that%20support%20diverse%20wildlife.
More info about Crow Wing State Park is here: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html?id=spk00139#homepage