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We traveled to this state park for our annual girls weekend camping trip. We stayed @ campsite 113 in the Savana campground.
The park was absolutely gorgeous and we truly had a wonderful time! Location wise the park itself was super convenient - it was close to the cities, we got there in under an hour from where we live (near Chaska).
There were plenty of trails to explore and our campsite had plenty of room. Although there were a lot of people staying at the park when we went, we didn’t feel very cramped for space.
We stayed in the Savana campground which was really nice. However, if we were to come back I think we’d opt to stay in the Riverway campground. It was really gorgeous down by the river. We walked the riverside loop trail and really enjoyed it!
It was also really fun being close to Stillwater and Marine on St. Croix. The weekend that we camped, the weather was less than par- cold and rainy for most of it! So we spent a couple hours at the winery in Stillwater to warm up :)
Stayed here due to its proximity to Minneapolis airport…had an early flight the next morning. Really convenient location. No problems. Facilities were really well maintained. We didn’t see the sites in daylight hours but appreciated the cleanliness of the park. We stayed the last night of their camping season and were able to utilize water and electric hookups.
This park is great for hiking and winter snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The 2 camp sites are a good little hike in and you have to backpack everything you need in. Of course if you are on the river it's a nice little stop between Faribault and Northfield. Not sure about camping in the parking lot overnight. Love the park, just not for camping.
Three campgrounds, first come first serve. $10/day entry $40/daily for electric hook up (non-resident); no full hook-ups, no water, only 1 vault toilet open per campground. Year round availability, however- tough to find! Very hard to get a cellular connection (T-mobile). Beautiful views of the river, right along the edge if you tent camp. Multiple playgrounds, hiking trails and loads of nature, large beach and waterfalls.
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.
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.
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.