The place is beautiful. A lot of trails to go on. Lots of sun so bring your sunscreen.
We stayed here for one night on the way to the Black Hills in South Dakota. The campground is in the far south western corner of Minnesota about 30 minutes for Sioux Falls South Dakota. The site is in the middle of grasslands and cornfields. They have very organized park staff that have an efficient check in process. The campground has some nice ponds and bike routes. It’s located next to a bison range and tours are available. Unfortunately the camp sites are packed in on top of each other with no privacy. You have a lot of local large RV users using loud generators and playing music until after midnight. They have good facilities with showers and dump stations. During our stay, the water in the camp tested positive for bacteria and the camp was giving out free drinking water. Since you don’t have many options in the area, this may be a good choice. The overcrowding was our main issue.
Bison. Wildflowers. An old quarry.
And that’s about it.
Beautiful park with nice trails… you can hike them all in an afternoon if you’d like.
Highly recommended for a night or two.
This is a beautful state park campground. The sites are large and wooded without feeling closed in. There is biking and hiking. I believe you can also fish in the river, but we didn’t try it. The only downside is that their water is contaminated. They provide directions to a city site where you can fill your camper tank, and they give out a gallon of drinking/cooking eater when you check in. At Blue Mounds you can experience the prairie and what it must have been like for early settlers.
Last August we headed to Blue Mounds to investigate out the SW corner of our state for the first time. We swung through New Ulm on the way there to check out the Schell's brewing company and we also stopped at Laura Ingalls Wilder's Plum Creek to break up the drive from the twin cities. The drive itself got pretty boring on the last half- lots of flat fields and cows. As you get closer to Luverne things start to become more interesting and the town of Luverne itself was an unexpected delight.
Yes, the water currently has e.coli in it. There is a huge alert on the park's page explaining how you can go about accessing water and showers nearby. The $17 rate is the discounted price to reflect the e. coli discount. The main campground is pretty open, some sites have shade, it is a prairie after all. The cart-in campsite offers much more privacy with the grove of trees there. The bathroom facility at the drive-in campground is much nicer than the one for the tipis and cart-in sites.
We spent one night in the tipi (cool experience for $30-$35 a night) and two nights at a cart-in site w-09. Some of the paths to the cart-in sites are not flat and rather long, but ours wasn't bad at all. I would definitely consider staying at that campsite again. I don't think I would necessarily stay in a tipi again unless I could book it on short notice if I knew that the weather was going to be dry and cool. The day before we got there it had rained quit a bit and when we arrived it was HOT. This meant that we got to enjoy our tipi experience with the aroma of hot wet tipi. The tipi floor is a platform made out of manufactured deck boards that keep you off the ground. The tipi itself isn't nearly as critter-proof as a tent. We wound up packing up our belongings and putting them in our car between leaving the tipi and moving into our campsite since we wanted to go check out the local area before we could check into our next site and somehow a garter snake got transported out of the tipi in our belongings and into our car- awesome haha.
The park was flooded a few years back which washed out a quite a bit- the lake that used to be there is now gone and just overgrown with plants. Most of the park is dedicated to the bison, so hiking opportunities are kind of limited. There are a ton of bison, but you either get to see them or you don't unless you go on one of their bison tours. They were present by the fence twice while we were there. There is pretty much a large trail loop with another large loop that swings off of that. Bring a wide-brimmed hat and tons of sun screen, not much tree cover on the trails. The one visitor center located in the southern portion of the park appeared to be permanently closed.
Luverne was cool. There are tons of historic houses and next time I'm out there I'll spend some time driving through neighborhoods to check them out. There is a basic grocery store off of Main Street for anything that you may need to pick up. I kind of wish that we had gone out to eat in town more because of how great the food was. Sterling's was delicious and much more upscale than anything I expected to find out there, the local Buffalo Sweat beer was great enough that I tried to find it at the local liquor store before I left. Showers are available at the Luverne aquatic center for free.
Overall I really enjoyed my experience and I look forward to my next trip out there, whenever that may be. If you are coming from the Twin Cities make sure to hit up Schells and Laura Ingalls Wilder's Plum Creek homestead like I mentioned above. Nearby side trips are Pipestone, Touch the Sky prairie, and Jeffers Petroglyphs
This campground is still charging $17 for a camp site, $7 transaction fee and $7/day entrance fee despite the fact they have no running water. The toilets still flush. In the morning our car filled up with flies that bit us for hours before we were able to eliminate all of them. It is a 5 mile drive back to Luverne if you need supplies, and I was unable to locate a grocery store.
Two good things; they have a Free Little Library and at night the lawn was covered with fireflies
The campground was so miserable that the campground host had abandoned their trailer and was never present. We did have several locals drive through the campground to spy on us, presumably to see who was stupid enough to camp there. You are entirely responsible for knowing what site you reserved because there was no attempt to label reserves sites.
There is no privacy between sites. This is just a big lawn with driveways, picnic tables and fire pits. The landscaping is nicely done with blackberries popping out of some hedges and providing eye-level interest at the base of trees.
Love the hiking and lack of bugs compared to most Minnesota parks. Great prairie views and it's always great to see Bison. Didn't love the lack of potable water. Would be nice to see more investment here- real gem of a park.
Honestly, a severe storm and lealy tent ruined tje moght. But the grounds and park are beautiful! Hiking is excellent, challenging, and the views are AMAZING! From flooding a couple of years ago, they are having some water issues. They give you jugs of drinking water on check in, and for now. the showers are swim beach are off line.