The rugged land formations of Jay Cooke State Park enhance the beauty of the hardwood forests and make for great camping near Minneapolis. The water-eroded gorge, steep valleys, and massive rock formations are seen throughout the park. In some seasons, the water of the St. Louis River thunders over slabs of ancient, exposed rock. At other times, it slows to a gentle trickle. Visitors enjoy the scenic splendor of Jay Cooke State Park during all seasons.
Drive-in Sites 79 Sites: Most are wooded sites. In winter, 12 sites are kept available for winter camping. Of these, five are electric sites.
Pull-Through Sites: One Site
Electric Sites: 21 Sites Majority of sites are 20 and 30 amps, some 50 amp.
RV Length Limit: Variable by site up to 60 Feet Length is measured from front of tow vehicle to rear of vehicle being towed.
Wheelchair Accessible Sites: 3 Sites Located near drinking water. Two sites are electric, one is non-electric.
Backpack Sites: 4 Sites Sites are located from 1 to 4 miles from parking area. Each site has picnic table, fire ring and latrine. Campers must haul water or treat water on site. Trail access to these sites has been restored after a 2012 flood, but a few nearby trails remain closed. Please register at the park office for details on how to get to these sites.
Walk-in Sites: 4 Sites Sites are located 50 to 150 feet from parking area.
Group Camp: 2 Sites - Each accommodates up to 25 people Remote, wooded camp with walk-in sites approximately 150' from parking area (limited parking). Carts are provided to carry in camping gear. Water spigot and vault toilets available. Tents only. Lodging
Camper Cabins: 5 Cabins All cabins have a screened porch. Electricity and heat are available year-round. Agate and Basalt cabins are ADA accessible and sleep 5. Slate, Gabbro, and Shale Cabins sleep 6 people. Pets not allowed in cabins. More information on camper cabins.
You can spend days hiking and exploring.
Great hike-in site and terrific snowshoeing (highly recommend the grand portage trail)
I fully enjoyed staying here. Scenery was amazing and you are close to many activities in northern Mn.
Overall a great place to stay. We stayed at a campsite with a tent and there was plenty of room for the two of us. If you have a group of people you may want to look into two sites but otherwise plenty of space. The campsites are relatively private with trees between the sites to allow some privacy. There was a well water pump near our site which was very convenient. There was firewood available to purchase as the state park as well.
The shower and bathroom facility was new and very clean. There are multiple private shower rooms which was a nice surprise.
The trails in the park were well maintained and well marked. The trails along the river were very pretty. No trails seemed too strenuous, a fairly easy hike.
—one thing that we found was there was not many places for swimming in the area. The river appeared quite murky when we visited and there were signs for no swimming at the park. It’s quite possible we just didn’t research well enough to find a swimming spot, but we could not find anywhere.
So glad we stayed at this park. Would recommend!
We were coming back from a camp trip up north and wanted to spend another night out near Duluth. We needed to find somewhere fast before sunset and this was an easy find. Lots of sites to pick from. Very large and clean bathrooms, and private shower stalls. Sites a pretty close together so not much privacy, however. Beautiful trails and river just a couple minute walk away.
We began our 2 night trip crossing the Swing bridge and headed to the left for 2.7 miles until we reached Ash Ridge, our backpack site. The hike there was easy and fairly flat. Once you are closer to the site you walk through grass and weeds that are about 4 ft tall, so be sure to check for ticks!
The campsite was very spacious and right on the St. Louis River. To get to the river you have to walk down a steep hill right next to the campsite. There are two picnic tables, a fire ring, a bear safe box, and a latrine near by.
I did not rate 5 stars due to the fact that we could hear the highway.
We have stayed in a camper cabin in the winter and RV site in the summer. We have explored so many trails on our snowshoes and cross country skis in the winter and have enjoyed many hikes and mountain bike rides in the summer months. The accommodations were well maintained with very clean campground area. The shower room is very new and the bathrooms were very clean. The cabins are pretty basic with bunk beds and a small table with chairs. The cabin we stayed in was heated with base board heaters that you have control of the temperature. We have also brought our canoe to explore the river and went fishing. There are so many trails to explore so we plan on camping here again and again!
A River Runs Through it(specifically the St. Louis River)- and a train runs through somewhere nearby. We stayed at this campground on our way back from the North Shore, we almost decided to just skip it and head home and I’m so glad that we didn’t! I knew as soon as we pulled into the campground that we made the right decision to stay. We did do a little hiking along the river, but we didn’t do any longer hikes since my brief park research led me to believe that the river is the best feature. It is a very popular campground- we stayed on a Monday night and less than 5 campsites were vacant.
-Every campsite seems to be well-treed and relatively private, providing a perfect atmosphere to just enjoy nature from your campsite.
-Tree straps are available to borrow at the ranger station. This was the first time I have ever been asked if I’m hanging anything from trees- even a clothes line. It had never occurred to me that a clothes line would be a problem for trees, but I’m glad that I know that now!
-The restroom/shower facility is very new and has my favorite layout where there is one main area with toilets and sinks and separate rooms accessible from the outside for private shower rooms. Not only is the shower privacy nice, but it keeps the water contained to that individual room. This was great in comparison to Whitewater State park which had constantly wet floors in the shared shower, toilet, sink space. The pit toilets are also nice(for a pit toilet). The outhouse near my site had a hook for hanging things(nice) and a hand-written note explaining that in order to keep smells to a minimum you need to close the lid AND the door when you leave. So while it wasn’t the newest pit toilet I’ve ever used, I didn’t mind using it at all.
-One of the only things that was obnoxious about this park is that there is a frequently used train track nearby- and the trains really lay on whistle. I slept with earplugs in because of this, but I was still woken up around 4 times that night.
-The layout of most campsites is kind of tight. If you are camping with multiple tents it might be a good idea to get multiple sites OR just do your research to make sure that the tent pad measurements listed on the reservation site are going to be sufficient. Most sites did not have enough space for your car, your tent, the fire ring, and a bug house. Our site would have had enough space for all of them had we chosen to move our picnic table into the car area, but we weren’t planning on a fire so we just left the picnic table by the fire pit and put our bug house over it. We DID see a campsite with their bug house literally 2 feet from an active fire- do not do this.
-Our tent pad was really well graveled and made me realize that the standard stakes that came with our tent and bug house need to be upgraded. I was able to get most anchor points secure, but I gave up on one particularly resistant spot.
-The Hiking Club trail is probably the most used, I considered the CCC hike which is accessible from the loop I was staying in- but I’m tick phobic and the grass trail looked a bit overgrown. The Hiking Club trail wasn’t super well marked and based on the markers I went on the rocky side trail to the river assuming that that was the Hiking Club trail- it wasn’t.
Alright, just kidding. There’s so many different trails to be had here. There are beautiful sights to be seen and a wonderful lodge near the bridge that had a fire going as a warming shelter.