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Wen I lived in Minnesota and my boyfriend was living in iowa, this was our go-to meeting place for our weekend getaways. We only had a few issues over the 6 times we stayed there relating to reservations….but overall, it was a positive experience.
Site 20 has an absolutely outstanding view of Lake Pepin and fall colors. The first and second loops have a mix of tent sites and electric sites, but it was quiet and peaceful. The electric sites seem small, so big rigs are deterred from setting up shop(and generators). The third and fourth loops are non-electric and also pretty closely packed in. The sites on the inside of all the loops are TINY and there’s very little privacy between sites. My top sites would be 5, 19e, 20, 22, 42, 46, and 49 in terms of view and privacy.
Site 20 has adequate privacy between sites—but everyone on the trail can see your campsite, and the trail from the campsite to the bluff trail is right next door. All of this is offset by the gorgeous view. Plenty of trees for hammocks if you’re on the outside circle. The site itself was level and had a very spacious gravel tent area. The fire pit was clean and had a grate on top. Restrooms were clean with lots of social distance signage. When the wind died down, you could easily hear trains—there are several that run nearby.
A couple random notes:
- Firewood is $6/bundle and ice is $3/bag (5 lbs). Both are self-pay with the options of cash, check, or credit card.
- Cell reception for T-Mobile was good.
We stayed at Minneiska campground since Cedar Hills is under construction this year. It's a newer campground so the vegetation hasn't grown in fully yet - your neighbors are visible but there's good distance between sites so it wasn't a problem at all. The grounds themselves are really well-kept with nice bathroom facilities and hot showers, which was perfect for the cooler fall days. It's a busy park so you'll need to reserve early or plan on visiting during the week.
The hiking itself was awesome. We did the Dakota trail, which was a tough up and down hike with really incredible views of the fall colors. There's also a nice park/picnic area with beach access. I'm hoping to come back next summer to enjoy the swimming. All in all it was a great stay!
Cart-in sites are nice, though a little clustered. You can't see other sites like you would at a drive in site. We biked the nearby Cannon Valley Trail, which was great.
There were a variety of woodpeckers working on the trees, which was very cool.
There are train tracks near the park and they do sound their horn. It didn't bother us though.
4th picture is Eagle Point, which is half a mile from the cart-in sites.
We stayed at cart in site 4, which was the best of the 4 options. It’s at the end of a lookout trail that has amazing sunrise/sunset views. The hiking in this park is really great, with some amazing lookouts. Only downside is that the hum of I-90 can be heard at night.
Went to the cart in sites. Nice walk along the prairie. Nice little site with good privacy compared to drive up sites. Not a long walk and cart is provided. Saw a few cool snakes. Wish there was a place to swim near by because it was HOT. Very nice hikes along the river. Not many mosquitos when we went.
I enjoy camping away from the hub bub of the family campground and opting for the backpack or cart in sites. Luckily, Great River Bluffs has some of the nicest cart ins I have encountered.
The 5 sites are well spaced out with lots of trees, nice flat tent pads, a newer clean vault and good fresh water both within a short distance of all the sites.
The surrounding hiking trails feature incredible views of the Mississippi River valley, high upon a bluff. The sites are away from the heavy foot traffic of picnic areas and primary hiking trails, though during the day there will be a few hikers walking the trail down the middle of the cart site trail to get to a fantastic lookout site. There weren't tons of people but it might bother those that don't want to see anyone while there.
There are two vault toilets. One at the parking lot and one between camp site 3 and 4. If you want a shower, you have to drive up to the family campground which is a good half mile away.