I’ve camped here on several occasions and have not been disappointed. The group sites are walk ins only. No drive ins/pull through. They are spaced out enough for privacy. The individual sites are decent & drive in. The space between sites are far enough apart. There are a couple of double sites that will accommodate more than 6 people but less than 13. We’ve rented canoes in the past and have enjoyed it primary because of the sandbars, but have not done it recently so I’m not sure if that has changed or not. The mosquitos were bad in late June! Even with bug spray, candles thermacell, etc…we were still under massive attacked. I’ve always enjoyed coming here year after year, not so much because of the park (although it’s nice overall), but because this place holds lots of memories for me.
If you’re looking for a county park close to the Twin Cities metro area with a beautiful lake, good fishing, swimming, recreation rentals like paddle boards kayaks and canoes that also has a campground with Camper Cabins attached, look no further than Baker Park Reserve. Baker Park reserve is just outside of Maple Plain Minnesota which is about 45 minutes from the Twin Cities metro area.
Lake Independence is attached to Baker Park reserve which is a beautiful lake for fishing, swimming, kayaking and, recreational boating. You can catch everything from Crappies, perch, sunfish, walleye and, musky on this lake. A lot of people come out and troll the lake for musky and also bring pontoons for swimming. You can jump right off the pontoon into the lake and have a great time with the family or just be alone on the boat and catch a ton of fish.
The lake can be busy especially on holiday weeks and weekends and The park and restricts how many boats around the lake and enforces no wake zone’s during the holiday I’m busy times. So check the leak before you go if you’re planning on doing or jet skiing or just cruising around on your boat.
The campground that’s attached to the park is pretty open and there are very many secluded sites if any at all. I took a few videos while driving through the campground to show you what the campground is like. There’s a campground office that offer snacks and sodas and ice and such. If you’re looking for a good getaway for the weekend that’s close this would be a good park for you.
Overall, I would give the campground a three out of five because it is so dang open and there isn’t much privacy. There is however, very nice shower buildings and a nice office. I would give the park a four out of five for usefulness and overall fun. There is a lot to do and it is close to the metro.
Very cool exploring the rock cliffs along the river, including the glacially created “potholes”, otherworldly! Nice campground close to the water! We camped early in the season before the mosquitoes.
Every site is a hike in site, including the three camper cabins. The trails are groomed enough that if you have a cart, you can pack your gear in that way too.
My wife and I stayed at camper cabin 1 on this Mon-Wed trip, and it is secluded and beautiful. You have to take a little bridge to get to it even.
There was a major storm that came through Sun-Mon, and this being a wetlands, things got muddy and buggy quick. The area around the cabin itself was good though as a breeze coming off the lake kept the bugs at bay.
The cabin itself is very cozy. Two bunks with queen on the bottom and twin on the top to sleep six total. A couple of good spots outside you can hang hammocks from too. Bring lighting as the cabin solar light only gives you a couple hours (assuming it could even charge up that day and it didn’t our first day) and it’s so wooded it gets dark very quickly. Everything is sealed up nice and tight too, so no bugs in the cabin unless you tear the screens or leave the door open.
All the necessary items to clean up the cabin were provided, broom, dustpan, spray bottle, cloth, bucket, so that made cleaning up easy.
I rated 4 stars based on three factors.
Park office is only open Friday through Sunday. Makes sense seeing as that if it’s not that busy of a place during this week of July 4th, I can’t imagine other weeks getting busier.
Rain can get things boggy quick, possibly closing the trail to your site even.
State website says fire wood is provided, and two cords were at the cabin when we got there, but nothing said we had to pay for the wood. It’s fine, but I’ll have to run into town as I didn’t bring cash with me to leave in the envelope at the office, since the office is closed during the week, which also means if I needed more than these two cords, I have to run to town… As of this review, cords were $6 at the park and $5.50 at the truck stop up by I-94.
Otherwise the place is great and I can imagine coming back again with friends and trying out the hike in tent sites too.
TLDR version: Great place, quiet on these weekdays during a holiday week, bring firewood, use a cart if you have one to bring things to your site.
Wild River was a great campground, and only about an hour drive from the Twin Cities. The sites were nicely shaded and roomy for our tent and screen tent.
There is ample hiking, however due to early spring rains, many of the trails near the St. Croix were flooded, which is pretty typical for the river in the spring. We would have liked a swimming beach for the kids, but they enjoyed exploring the trails, especially the trail with a lookout over the river.
The great thing about June is that the bugs weren't bad at all. We escaped early in the morning due to impending rain, but found a lovely brunch spot on the way back to the cities.
Baker park reserve is one of the favorite local parks. There is great camping for everyone. The boat launch is close and the lake has good Muskie and pan fishing. Park gets very busy on holidays and can be hard to find parking and such but overall it has everything you could want. Has playground/fishing dock/beach and water sport rentals. Park is patrolled regularly by three rivers police. Overall our family goes every holiday for the most part to the park!
We tent camped here for a night while passing through. It’s a basic KOA with a few amenities. The lots were really big and we had no one near us, so it was nice and private. Most of the lots near the front were occupied but the back was almost empty, which is where the more wooded lots are. Only 1 bath house and it’s not close to most of the tent sites.
Staff was nice and helpful. It has a small pool and game room but not much else for kids. The bugs are aggressive here, especially near the tent sites which are located near a swampy area. Definitely more of a place to stay as you are passing through, not really a destination campground.
On the outskirts of St Cloud, this campground was very well maintained and clean. They have a pool, lodge, bath house and laundry facilities, the sites were pretty large, much larger than data KOA, but not so big or private as some campgrounds we’ve been to. If any thing- the only weird thing is that the campground is situated under some very large high tension power lines…didn’t affect our stay whatsoever, just worth mentioning.
You must own an Airstream-manufactured RV to rent a lot. Owners of non-Airstream RVs must be a relative or friend of a current Airstream Park member to stay
Great park, beautiful views, nice sites
We stayed here last year and it was fun although if you like quiet nights I would not recommend it. It does get loud into the night. It has a swimming beach that is ok. You can spend extra money to go horseback riding on trails. The sites are very close together not much privacy.
Campground Review: Nestle yourself in a copse of trees with a yurt as you enjoy this camping opportunity.
Danielle and Dan, the hosts, greeted me right away spending time to talk and walk us around their place. A farm with many elements awaits. A well-tended garden and large yard lead to a mowed walkway. The first turn-off is to their bubble camp. You can stay in a clear bubble and watch all the stars- no dogs allowed in this one. Someone was even using it this weekend. Our yurt was further down. Slip through the opening in the trees and you find a hidden oasis. Wooden chairs, a lounger and picnic table surround the fire pit. A barbecue grill was off to the side. On a large wooden platform sits the tent style yurt. A composting toilet is around the corner. Water is available via their hose that is closer to where you park. There is a bit of a walk (it’s 1/4 mile) to the copse but once you witness the beauty you quickly forget the distance. They provide a cart for you to carry your gear. Note: the open cart could be an issue in rainy weather. The yurt floor is just a tent material on the wooden platform so don’t forget your sleeping pad. Inside there is plenty of room for you and your gear. Once we settled in, my dog hopped up on the lounger with me as we ate dinner to the sounds of the birds. Bug spray kept most of the mosquitoes from eating us for dinner but they certainly tried. Waking up was also a treat. A wolf was howling and a few different coyote packs yipped back and forth. Once they settled down the roosters sounded their call.
Talking with Dan and Danielle is certainly a highlight. Their warm friendly demeanor make you comfortable right away. They gave us a welcome bag- s’more fixings! We were pointed to the Interstate State Park and told the Wisconsin Side was nicer. We hiked the pothole trail which lead to echo canyon and then around a lake to a beach before ending back at our car. We had fun climbing on rock formations and viewing the river. Driving through St. Croix we found a laundromat to wash our clothes. Just down the street was a park along the river- perfect to lunch at or maybe stop over at the vegan restaurant in town. The small towns on each side of the river have their charm and are worth checking out.
The one drawback we found was that this is on a farm and work was being done. The tractor and mower were driving around until 10 pm. Once it stopped, quiet sounds of nature arise but the noise kept us distracted and prevented an early bedtime.
Overall we had a wonderful stay. You should really consider checking out this spectacular location.
Product Review: As a Dyrt Ranger I sometimes get some cool products to review. This trip I am so happy to be trying out AfterShokz Trekz Air Headphones. This is interesting technology. These Bluetooth headphones go around your ear and transmit the sound through your bones.
I’ve been looking for a solution to listening to music/podcasts while still being aware of the surroundings as I walk my dog. Dakota and I hike all over and I need to be aware on trails. She is a reactive dog so I need to see distractions an soon as I can to pull her in. With these headphones I am able to keep myself occupied while still hear what’s happening around us. Dakota gets longer walks and I stay connected to the world.
The fit is good and the headphones did not fall off. I found them bumping into my hat(the connecting piece goes behind your head instead of over it) but I eventually found a sweet spot for them to sit. Sound is great too. Podcasts come through clear and music is crisp.
I highly recommend the AfterShokz Trekz Air Headphones
Such a beautiful place and well maintained. Lots of hiking trails, a lake for fishing, playgrounds, and a man made lake for swimming. Two weird things: no alcohol and no dogs in the campground (yet they are allowed everywhere else in the park). We go here as often as we can
What a privilege it was to spend a night here! I had been out of town and away from home the previous week, so decided I would stop here on the long drive home in order to break up my trip. It wasn't just good stopover, though, but turned into a great mini-retreat to restore body, mind and spirit.
This listing for the Creekwood Cabin is a new listing on the “Hipcamp” website, which is like Airbnb for private campgrounds, campsites, camper cabins, etc, that are located on privately owned properties like farms and vineyards. The Theisens, Todd and Sarah, are the stewards of this beautiful farm which is focused on organic, sustainable and restorative land practices on acreage that is a scenic mix of prairie, forest, wetlands, and rolling hills. They have free range cows, pigs and chickens who roam the farm freely and who are pretty happy campers themselves, it seems!
The Theisens also have a traditional woodcraft and wood products business using sustainable harvest of hardwoods on their land, turning downed trees into planks for hardwood flooring, wall panelling, countertops and other artisanal woodwork for area homes. They also craft more practical items, for example currently in production when I was there were several outhouses to be used at the future tent campsites they are setting up in various wooded groves on their farm, and also in the works is the production of several tiny homes that will serve as camper cabins on their farm. Any leftover treewood not used in their products is either chipped and used as woodchips for the miles of walking trails they are setting up on hill and dale all over the property, and for sawdust for their composting toilets for their guest facilities. As of yet, the tent campsites and tiny house camper cabins are still being constructed and are a “work in progress”, but given what I saw will be really wonderful when finished.
I had the wonderful opportunity to stay in their recently opened Creek Wood Cabin, which is an amazing showcase of both their hospitality and their best artisan woodwork. This cabin is set in a shady grove of mature trees on a hill overlooking a peaceful pond and marsh. I was serenaded all night by frogs and owls and more. The cabin is constructed with all local materials, including of course woodwork from their own trees. The cabin has a full working kitchen including microwave, stove, fridge and sink, so you can bring and store all you need for your own meal prep. There is one open bedroom with a comfy double bed on the main floor, and two more double beds in the sunny loft above. The sitting area is complete with two rocking chairs and a library of amazing books related to sustainable living, simplicity, camping, and various topics to restore the spirit. There are large sunny windows on all walls which makes the cabin sunny and cheerful and makes the interior woodwork glow with warmth. There is a wood stove and a well stocked wood box, but there is also electric baseboard heat if needed. Contrary to the original description in their listing, there is now running water in the cabin, with an on-demand water heater, so yes, hot showers and plenty of water for drinking and cooking. However, note that the toilet is an efficient low -mpact composting toilet so be prepared to "flush with sawdust" instead of water when using the facilities! Next to the cabin is a heavenly sauna that is set up for either dry or steam saunas. I loved having a sauna before bedtime and then sleeping soundly til the rooster crowed at sunrise.
When I had arrived the night before, Todd took me out in his RTV to tour the whole farm to see all the animals and the farming and woodworking operations, and also showed me all the trails I could go on. So, when the rooster called me forth the next morning I knew just where to go for my morning walk. When I returned, I read for a while and journaled for a while til Sarah showed up at the cabin door with a basket containing my piping hot breakfast complete with fresh scrambled eggs from their henhouse!. After breakfast, I visited the cows and their calves in their peaceful meadow, including one calf who was pals with the Bernese mountain dogs of the farm and preferred to frolic with the dogs rather than the other calves! Then more resting, writing and relaxing in the cozy cabin before continuing in my way.
I would have to recommend this cabin stay as one if the loveliest I have experienced, and I know I will be back for more! In summer, guests would enjoy being on the farm itself and learning all the Theisens share about simple low impact living and sustainable farming and restorative land management. If staying here you could also visit like-minded facilities such as the organic gardens or art studios of the nearby College of St Benedict, or the solar farm or Arboretum and restored prairie at nearby St Johns University. St Johns and St Bens also have myriad hiking trails and places for meditation both indoors and out. Guests of the cabin can easily access both campuses just minutes away by car or bike, with additional biking further afield on the nearby Lake Woebegone state bike trail. During the school year there are myriad cultural activities on both campuses that cabin guests could take advantage of, and a winter time stay would also be lovely with the chance for snowshoeing or cross country skiing on the farm itself or in the area, as well as the chance to just rest, read, write and restore in the peace and quiet and coziness if the cabin. It would be the kind of retreat that Thoreau himself would heartily recommend, but Thoreau never had it this good in his own cabin! Come check it out for yourself, or come for the tent camping or tiny house experience as soon as those options are ready!
Wild River State Park is my go-to campground since it is within an hour of my home. I make it my first place to camp every season. Love the scenic trails and all the park has to offer. Hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, exploring, informational programs, and the wooded campsites.
Dispersed camping along the forest roads. Areas are cleared away that are quite separate giving some privacy. They are right on the road so vehicles pass by. Off road trails can be found but we did not discover cleared hiking paths. After finding a tick quickly we just hiked along the road. Only one other camper so during the non-hunting season this might be a good stopover.
We did encounter a lot of birds as well as deer.
I booked this campsite last minute for the weekend because my other campsite was booked. The park had great reviews and looked like a nice area of the state to visit. As you drive to the campground area, you pass signs that state Snake Research Area. I have a fear of snakes, but never thought this would impact my visit. I came across two very large snakes (apx. 4ft long and maybe longer) in the road, having to wait for them to slither across the road. Once I got to my campsite, I was walking with my dog along the perimeter of the campsite and came across multiple snakes of this same size right on the edge of my site! I have been camping many times in many different areas, but this was something that I have never experienced before. I think there should be some sort of disclosure on the state parks' website that snakes of this size are around the campgrounds.
Great family camping. Bring your boat, bike, and in-line skates. Bathrooms and campsites are in excellent condition. 6.2 mile paved trail. Nice beach, mature trees. close to Twin Cities. If you've never camped before this is a good first introduction.