Backpack sites, located on remote lakes and ponds throughout the park, are one to two miles from the trailhead parking. New log camper cabins, located near lakes and ponds, provide bunk beds for six people and a table and benches for campers who want more of the creature comforts.
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. We went snowshoeing around midnight under a full moon and had the place to ourselves.
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.
Every site is a hike in site, including the three camper cabins. The trails are groomed enough that if you have a cart, you can pack your gear in that way too.
My wife and I stayed at camper cabin 1 on this Mon-Wed trip, and it is secluded and beautiful. You have to take a little bridge to get to it even.
There was a major storm that came through Sun-Mon, and this being a wetlands, things got muddy and buggy quick. The area around the cabin itself was good though as a breeze coming off the lake kept the bugs at bay.
The cabin itself is very cozy. Two bunks with queen on the bottom and twin on the top to sleep six total. A couple of good spots outside you can hang hammocks from too. Bring lighting as the cabin solar light only gives you a couple hours (assuming it could even charge up that day and it didn’t our first day) and it’s so wooded it gets dark very quickly. Everything is sealed up nice and tight too, so no bugs in the cabin unless you tear the screens or leave the door open.
All the necessary items to clean up the cabin were provided, broom, dustpan, spray bottle, cloth, bucket, so that made cleaning up easy.
I rated 4 stars based on three factors.
Park office is only open Friday through Sunday. Makes sense seeing as that if it’s not that busy of a place during this week of July 4th, I can’t imagine other weeks getting busier.
Rain can get things boggy quick, possibly closing the trail to your site even.
State website says fire wood is provided, and two cords were at the cabin when we got there, but nothing said we had to pay for the wood. It’s fine, but I’ll have to run into town as I didn’t bring cash with me to leave in the envelope at the office, since the office is closed during the week, which also means if I needed more than these two cords, I have to run to town… As of this review, cords were $6 at the park and $5.50 at the truck stop up by I-94.
Otherwise the place is great and I can imagine coming back again with friends and trying out the hike in tent sites too.
TLDR version: Great place, quiet on these weekdays during a holiday week, bring firewood, use a cart if you have one to bring things to your site.
We arrived hours before the office was supposed to close, but the firewood was locked up. After a long hike we got setup in the dark, nearly getting lost on the poorly marked trail. Went back to get some safe move certified firewood. (No good way to transport more than a few bundles on that terrain. Recommend fake logs for longer burning and easy transport.) By the time we got back and setup with a fire and food, we were exhausted. During the day though, it was pretty and tranquil. Didn't hear much from the neighboring sites. If we knew what to expect, it would've been a better start to the trip. We would possibly go again.
For being so close to the twin cities, this park boasts some really great camp sites.
Ive camped here several times and enjoyed all the sites I’ve had. 1-4 are pretty objectively the best ones but there’s no bad sites IMO
If you’re lucky you’ll see a Blandings Turtle, wow! State turtle of MN dontchaknow
Lots of other great stuff to see too. Lots of bugs but like, deal with it, you’re in the wetlands of the big woods
This is one of my favorite parks to spend a night in when I don’t have time for an extended trip farther from home, living in Maple Grove this is only a 40 minute drive but you feel like you have really gotten away! I’ve found it’s also easier to snag a campsite at the last minute unlike most of the other parks around this area of the state, and especially during the week when you will likely have the park to yourself.
The hikes to the campsites are easy, wide trails without much up and down and most are about a mile hike in. The spots that I have stayed at have good places to set up a hammock, and all sites have a fire ring, picnic table and food locker.
Walking in on the trails can be a little buggy in late summer but clears up around the campsite, just make sure to bring some bug spray. The variety of birds in the park are fun to observe, the owls were hooting loudly all through the evening and there were a few woodpeckers hanging around our site. These sites in specific also had an outhouse really close, just remember to bring your own toilet paper. Sites 1 and 3 are on a little lake, but the water is more swampy so don’t plan on swimming and it’s probably not ideal for cooking or being purified for drinking water. There is a water pump in the parking lot where you can restock. You also shouldn’t have any trouble finding downed wood for fire around either of these sites. It’s secluded and you don’t see any other campers here but easy enough to get to! The view of the water from site 1 is beautiful and the sunset over the lake in October with the fall colors is a must see.
Lake Maria State Park has great hiking trails for the whole family, the camper cabins are spread throughout and are hike in only. Each cabin is pretty secluded and on a body of water. The cabins themselves are very basic, but the setting is awesome.
I haven’t stayed in the backpack tent sites, but I bet they’re fantastic.
This park is only about 50 minutes away from me, and for hiking/camping I only think it is worth a trip in the fall. I went a few weeks ago for the first time in the summer and I thought it was just kind of average as far as hiking goes. Campsites and cabins are walk-in only as far as I know and the site I visited had a private rustic pit toilet a stones throw away. The campsites ARE nice though and private, this just felt too close to home and too similar to parks that are closer. Last year the middle of October was prime color season- drive to the very end where Little Mary Lake is (the bigger lake) and behold- your new destination for your annual family portrait session. Seriously, the yellow leaves are VIVID.
Really enjoyed the short hike to our campsite, BP7. There is a bathroom and water station before you head out which is awesome! The campsite was secluded and absolutely beautiful. Definitely will be going back again!
Campsite included: 2 tent pads, a few areas to hammock, fire ring w/large grill, small bench, picnic table, bear box and latrine.
I don’t think I would change a thing about the campsite.
This is a beautiful park! There are plenty of driving/biking/walking paths. Very woodsy and there's lots of wild animals!
After hiking Lake Maria SP many times, and camping 5 times, it's my go-to spot for a consistently great experience. I hosted a ladies weekend, taught my stepson how to overnight, and have solo camped. The trails are well marked, there are easily accessible sites, as well as more rugged. Water, privies, and wood are available.
The lake is beautiful!
Give her a go!