All campsites are hike-in, with the closest being about a mile in. Pack light. This was my first solo backpacking camping trip (also first with a 6 month old GSP) and the pack in was fine but hiking out I definitely learned that I over packed.
I stayed at Campsite #8 which was beautiful, serene and right next to the Manitou river, so easy access for water filtering and for the dog to drink. There is a very nice fire pit with grill rack, although no bear pole and not very many tress that you can get your food up in easily. There are two perfect trees to hang a hammock right near the tent flat area.
We didn't see much for wildlife, except for a few birds, although there was some wolf poop in our site.
Overall a great place for a solo hiking trip. There weren't as many views of lake superior as I thought there might be. Although, I would like to go back and continue to follow the river all the way to the shore, or at least see if that's possible.
An excellent spot away from any human activity. Hike-in on a flat boardwalk and then expect a short but steep climb to the top of a hill for this camp spot. Recommended to fill water at the spigot near the park entrance, or bring a water filter to climb back down the hill and pump water at the lake. This site has 2 small tent pads - would be really hard to fit a tent bigger then a 2-person on each pad. Great trees for hanging a bear bag, and this site has its own private privy nestled in the trees to boot! Bring your own TP of course. A fantastic spot in the woods away from any other campers. Picture below taken from the view of sitting next to campfire pit.
I did a solo hike and camp here. I reserved campsite 5, which is very secluded. This site is right on the river. Be advised, there is not a lot of dead hardwood on the ground for building a campfire. Plenty of birch trees fallen,but they are all moist and rotten. There are some pretty good elevation gains on Yellow Birch Trail. I’d suggest having trekking poles. Some of the trails are overgrown. They could be hard to navigate in low light so bring a good light source. I would camp here again.
The drive is on a beautiful dirt road off a small town called Finland, MN. The website and parking lot are pretty straight forward. There is a water source and restroom near the parking lot. There is a guide to which trail you should take to hike to your site. The trail maps can be tricky. I recommend a paper map ahead of time. The cell service is non existent. The website even boast river view panoramic photos at certain points on the Manitou River. You can choose from many campsites. Reservations are done online or by phone. They are pack in and out sites only. This hike is difficult. It's like hiking a steep rocky dried creek bed. Down hill and up hill. Large roots, trees, and some man made steps. Large moose prints were seen. Please pack your bear bells and be knowledgable in situations of crossing wildlife. The website states that certain sites are "river front". Campsite 1 is the farthest north and last campsite. It was chosen so we would not see anyone hiking by. They do push back most campsites from the trail. This one is a ways from the trail. Unfortunately after and intense hike in not only were we not river front the hike down to get water was not in the least user friendly. Three times a day for water and back up the steep large hill was not what was expected from a "river front" site. The place is beautiful and does supply a latrine, log bench, and fire pit with metal grill grate. The tall trees limit star gazing. August was a crazy month for the mosquitos. A bug shirt is recommended during hiking and on site. The trails are thick.
Another down fall to Campsite 1 is after hiking north all the way in you are about 1/4 mile from the main road (7) that wraps around north of you. You can hear cars driving by. In fact there is a small trail that leads straight to the dirt road and we hiked it out to the flat dirt road for an easy hike back to the car. It takes less than 10 minutes to the road. Then a 1.5 mile dirt flat road hike back to the car. Whats the point?
We did have an opportunity to follow the map to an awesome overlook and to see other sites. The trails are remote and beautiful. The river has amazing views of the falls. We will be staying at Campsite 4 next time. Its on the river, but unfortunately is also visible from the trail. Site 4 had a close latrine, direct access to clean running river water, pit, and a view to the falls.
There is access to the Superior Hiking Trail from this state park.
We loved exploring another part of the North Shore in the beautiful park! Loved it!!!
George Crosby - Manitou State Park is a decent park, but it does not compare to Split Rock, Gooseberry Falls, and Tettegouche State Parks that are nearby. You must be prepared to backpack into your campsite and if you are not used to backpacking it may be a difficult hike. We ended up hiking nearly four miles one way and my 9 and 11 year olds had a difficult time, even though I carried the tent and all of the heavy gear.
The hikes are pretty and if it weren't so close to the other parks on the North Shore of Lake Superior I would give it four stars. These are primitive campsites and do not have flush toilets or showers.
This is one of the few state parks in Minnesota where you can winter camp! The trails are absolutely beautiful in the fall, the scenery changes often. It seems that there are different types of forest that you hike through to get to different camp sites. We stayed on site 16 (the furthest site) and it was very peaceful with the sound of the river next to the site. Most of the sites are pretty wooded, you won't get a lot of sunlight.
My friend and I chose this park because of the backpacking/hiking and the proximity to waterfalls of the North Shore. Our site (#3) was right next to the beautiful Manitou River. There was lots of space for multiple tents, but we only had one. There was mention of a bear pole for hanging food but we didn't see anything of the sort. There was plenty of deadfall in the area for firewood. The Manitou River Cascades are maybe a half mile north of the site. There wasn't a lot of great star-gazing because of the tree cover. Despite the camp entrance being unstaffed and a little confusing on the location of the actual entrance, we had an excellent time and I'd definitely recommend it to others!