Bear Paw is one of two main campgrounds and the one closest to Lake Itasca. Sites are spaced a good distance apart but most are back to back so limited privacy. Bathrooms were very clean but no hooks. Wide paved (some boardwalk) bike paths but not as good for hiking. Unpaved trails are not accessible from the campground on foot. Driving along Wilderness Drive (or biking it) is beautiful, especially in the fall. A visit to the Headwaters is also a must (we walked on the paved bike path to get there; it is closer to Pine Ridge campground). There is a gift shop and small cafe there (food is expensive and mediocre). Large park and very beautiful and well maintained roads and bike path. Very limited cell service (Verizon).
Within biking distance for short and long destinations around Itasca State park! Great for little kids, easy to hike, bike or drive.
The Bear Paw campground is one of two main traditional drive-in campgrounds at Lake Itasca State Park. It is the lakeside campground, as opposed to the Pine Ridge campsites which are set about a mile back into the woods. This campground has trailer sites with hook-ups, tent sites, walk-in sites, and camper cabins, for a variety of options. Althought there is a staircase access to a bay of the lake here, the swimming beach and boat launch areas are actually several miles to the north, either driveable on the main park drive, or bikeable on the bike path that runs through the campground and north to the headwaters or south to Douglas Lodge.
The campground is heavily wooded, but the sites are many and close together. It is an economical way of staying at the park, and good for car camping or trailering while doing other activities in the park, but there are other higher quality camping options available in the park if you want a more remote northwoods expereince which can be obtained by hiking in to the wilderness areas on the south end of the park.
At this location, however, there are several primo lakeside campsites, if you can nab one, such as site 6, which is right on the lake and right on the bike path. There are some walk-in only tent sites on the north side of this campground that are a little quieter as well. The camper cabins on the south side of the campground are also super nice if you arent up for tenting.
The campground has wood for sale, showers and regular bathrooms as well as pit toilets, a playground for kids, and water pumps.