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Washington County, which manages campgrounds at both the Lake Elmo Park Reserve and St Croix Bluffs Regional Park, does a great job of maintaining campgrounds, trails, and bathroom facilities at both parks. St Croix Bluffs is right along the St. Croix river - in the summer you can hang out at the sandy beach on the river and in the fall there are many trails to enjoy fall color.
There are multiple areas in the modern campground - one section is for larger rigs that has 50 amp service and water at each site, most sites in the other loops have 20 or 30 amp electric service, and there are a few non-electric tent-only sites as well. The park prohibits both pets and alcohol! There is both a volleyball court and nice play structure in the modern campground.
We camped over MEA break (mid October) at site #4 this year and liked how close it was to the bathroom building. There is a lot of open space behind the parking/tent pad on this site, which made it a perfect spot for the kids to run and play without running close to other camper's sites. Sites 1, 2, 4, and 6 have similar amounts of open space behind the campsites.
In the past we've stayed here as part of a group in the group campsite. The group campsites at this park are some of the best I've stayed in - they include sand volleyball courts, a covered picnic shelter with electricity, a primitive toilet, and access to a large play structure nearby.
Great state park with lots of amenities. This was only my second camping trip, my first being the superior trail with an 8 mile hike in and no amenities. More fun in my opinion to search for your own firewood and really rough it, but it was to have water and wood available close to the site we were at (site 22) because we got in later and lost some daylight. The hike in was shorter and far less strenuous than my first trip, but note that it is uphill. If you’re carrying a heavy pack, expect to sweat a bit. Paved sidewalks into the park, wide dirt and rocky paths into the camp site which was nice given the amount of other day hikers (space to spread out). My boyfriend and I loved that our site was so secluded. There is also a lot of variety to the sites. The sites 1 through about 10 (if my memory doesn’t fail me) are fairly wooded. Our site had a nice balance of wooded area and open terrain/sky. We were lucky to get to see some beautiful fall colors.
A few notes: the wood provided is THICK. They must haul the logs in with a truck. Saws are provided at the wood site, but be prepared to take some time on it. We had a hand saw so we were able to pack our packs with some large pieces and do some sawing at our campsite as the sawing station was busy with families and other campers. Lots of bark available to get a good fire started. The wood is not covered so if it rains the night before you come in, be ready to deal with some damp wood.
Water station takes about 30 seconds to start up. There are also two bathrooms within the camp site that are what you expect them to be. Hand sanitizer and TP stocked.
Never saw a ranger while we were there. We loved the privacy. Lots of spiders. Comes with the terrain.
The site was perfect for our hammocks. They are super kind if you want to call ahead to get an idea of what your site looks like. It was also great to be able to see what other sites were occupied on the day we decided to make a reservation. There is a grill top on your fire pit (we packed our own grill top, could’ve left it at home).
Overall it was a great overnight trip. Close to our home so I’m sure we’ll be back for a quick trip next year.
I love this park and use it frequently for our "test runs". We have a new puppy and a new teardrop, so this was the perfect place for us to have our maiden voyage within 20min of our home. But besides just being close, it's also a really nice campground. It's very wooded and feels private. The RV section has sites that are a bit close together and open, but the tent sites (where we stayed) are much more secluded. The facilities are clean and well-kept.
The park itself is also really nice. There are lots of hiking trails, mountain biking, lake access for kayaking/paddle boarding… In the winter we love coming here for day trips to take advantage of the cross country skiing and snow shoe rentals.
It's a nice State Park close to the Twin Cities, right off the interstate (hence the name). We were really happy with our site (23) because it was the only one on the outer ring on that side of the campground, which gave us plenty of space and privacy. It was a big site, too, with a long driveway for our teardrop and a nice tent pad above the firepit/picnic table area.
The hiking itself was really nice with a couple of overlooks of the river. The glacial pothole section is really easy to walk and get to if you take advantage of the parking lot - probably good for families with young kids or those concerned about mobility. We opted for the hike from the campground. The campground is also close to the boat launch and kayak/canoe rentals for some nice water activities.
Note during this Covid season: The park sells firewood from the main office, but the office has limited hours because of Covid without a way to purchase a bundle when it's closed. There was a sign on the door directing you to the nearest gas station, but they were sold out by the time we stopped by. Odd to say since it's against the rules, but it may be worth planning ahead or to call to see when the office is open.
We arrived at 2pm on a mid-October Friday afternoon and were shocked to find just two open spots. Our spot was along the side road that cuts through the campground so not on the main loop which I think led to there being fewer cars. Overall, there weren't too many spots that I thought looked amazing, but none of them looked bad either. It felt a little rundown, even by state forest standards, but for us that was fine. The road into the park and within the campground is awful, so especially if you're in an RV or towing a trailer, be prepared to move very slowly. But we had a nice two days, went to the lake/beach area which was maybe a 15-30 minute hike away, and also hiked on the other trails a bit. We have a 3 and 1 year old, so didn't make it far :) I don't know that I feel a need to return to this place, but I was happy with our experience.
William O'Brien has two different campgrounds and we ended up staying at Savannah, and it was a really nice little campground. Most sites are relatively secluded, except mine which was kind of wide open and the location of a firewood drop box (74E). It was super large, though, so if there was a bigger party you could easily fit a few tents. The campground was really nice, but I'd probably pick a different site next time.
The hiking at the park was fantastic. We did one longer hike that had some surprisingly good views. It was hillier than I thought it would be - not a tough hike, but hillier in that you could experience some nice views. The second day we did the river side hike, which was also very pretty but was also much more popular. I'd recommend an early morning visit to that one, especially during these Covid times.
Unrelated to the park, if you forgot any supplies, the general store in Marine on St. Croix was adorable and had really good sandwiches. Like another review said, either way I'd recommend driving in from that way regardless - the winding road and the tree canopy is really pretty.