I chose Lake Maria for a solo camping excursion because it was close to the Cities, but still offered the level of seclusion I wanted. I am not new to camping, but haven't been in a few years, and never solo.
I chose B6 because, on the MN DNR Reservation website, it said it was a .25 mile hike. Every other campsite was a mile+. Since I was getting back into the groove of camping, I made this choice so I'd have an easier time, especially because I'm no so active anymore working from home during a pandemic!
Well, let me tell you, it was definitely a mile or so hike from the parking lot to B6, despite what the website said. That's why I'm rating 4 stars instead of 5. I was ill-prepared, and I spent most of my time making trips back to the lot to get water and firewood from my car than exploring the park. Part of this is my fault for not having a big enough water jug and things like that, but I genuinely think the website was deceiving. Maybe there's another path or place to park that's quicker that I don't know about? Regardless, listen when people say all the sites are about a mile, because they're right!
Now, onto the positives:
- My site was secluded, but still fairly close to the road and group camp sites. I could hear people at the group camp because they were pretty loud, but if they weren't it would have been very quiet. I didn't run into too many people in general. Even though I could hear cars going down the road and it was a short jaunt to it through the woods, it was not distracting from the scenery.
- It wasn't excessively buggy like some say- I was fine in my short sleeves and leggings with some backwoods bug spray! (It did get worse the day after it rained, but that's to be expected.)
- Lots of mushrooms in the woods! I'm not great at identification, but I am fairly certain I saw some golden chanterelles and other treats. (Don't take my word for it, though!)
- B6 is on a pond, which was gorgeous. A bit steep getting to it, but nice to sit on the edge and look at the many frogs and turtles! (Blanding's turtles, which are endangered!)
- Lots of wildlife sounds you definitely don't get to hear in the city!
- Trails were well-marked and trodden, though not totally level.
- Firewood was available at the office (self-pay).
All in all, I will certainly come back here, but a bit more prepared for the hike to and from the sites. You can't beat the level of solitude you get here considering how close it is to the metro.