The best DISPERSED camping near
Cooley , MINNESOTA

49 Reviews14 Campgrounds

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Most Recent Cooley Camping Reviews
Dispersed

50 yards off the ATV trail beautiful site

Remote and Absolutely Gorgeous

This state park is in my top favs. It’s quiet and remote and there’s a lot to explore. We stayed at a remote watercraft site, accessible only by water so that was thrilling!

The landscape here is fun, with the huge peninsula jutting out into the lake, makes for fun canoeing/kayaking with many little areas to explore, and a couple little islands!

The site itself had a rustic log shelter built in it overlooking the lake, very cool.

The Chase Point peninsula is a great hike and has a little boat landing area at the tip of it to so you can start from either end.

Scooped out Chase Point campground though we didn’t stay in it - sites spaced well, quite wooded. Water and toilets spaced out well too, very accessible from anywhere in the park.

Very cool feature is the little boardwalk with docks along Coon lake and campground edge - makes for easy access to park your kayak or canoe and just a fun little morning walk or place to view sunset over the lake. So charming!

Scenic is definitely the word to describe this park!

Backpack campsite 1

Was hear earlier in summer—not in October as review date states.

Easy 1.5-2 mile hike in. Bring big spray as mosquitos can be bad

There is a bear locker, pit toilet, and a shelter on site. This site is very private.

There is no real way to get down to the pond at the bottom of the camp site.

The trails here are nice for hiking but they aren’t extensive and won’t keep you entertained long. The real reason to come here is for water sports on the main lake. Unfortunately during Covid the rentals weren’t available.

Bring a saw to get firewood—you don’t want to lug the wood on with ya.

Great parking lot for travel vans. Free hot showers. Clean.

An extremely safe and pleasant location. You can either use the paid campground or stay in the parking lot, say if you had a sprinter travel van or some such thing. Alternatively if you are tent camping there are a couple nearly hidden campsites that you can use for free right by the canoe landing. A large part of the year clean showers are available and are free! although this fact is not publicized and at certain times of the year they are put under code for campground use only. I find that most the time they are open. A bathroom is attached each shower and can be locked from the inside making it great for a couple to use the facilities efficiently together. This is a one-of-a-kind place that does not exist much anymore. Free shower free camping clean bathroom , great walking trails, Great spot to fish. For a stop alongside the highway it has it all.

Pleasant camping at Pokegama

Pokegema Dam This is a campground established by the Army Corps of Engineers, adjacent to the Pokegama Dam. Highlights include fishing in the rapids below the dam, or in the still river water above it, camping and relaxing under the tall pines in the campground, canoeing and kayaking on the river, and having a base to explore nearby Grand Rapids and attractions like the Minnesota State Forest History Museum a few miles away. Unless you are here for the fishing on site, though, you will probably use this campground as a base to do day trips in the area, as the campground is not big enough to feature hiking trails and other on-site activities. The campground seems oriented towards RV and trailer camping, with hook-ups and hard packed gravel vehicle access on most sites. A few sites do include sufficient grassy areas for tent camping. Almost all the campsites are located on the shores of the Mississippi River just downstream from the dam, and are sheltered under huge shady pines. The setting is more beautiful and scenic than can be seen from the road when passing by. Unfortunately, that road is the 4-lane highway 2, which provides easy access to the campground, but also adds a bit of road noise to your experience. Plus factors include a thoughtfully designed handicapped accessible campsite, several canoe campsites for paddling the Headwaters Water trail, and easy fishing access via boat landing, the dam itself, and various fishing piers. Everything is sparkling clean and there are bathrooms, showers, potable water, and a kids playground.

Quiet camping on the Point

 This is a Chippewa National Forest campground on the tip of Tamarack Point which juts way into Lake Winnibigoshish. It is a haven for folks who like to fish, or walk on quiet forest backroads. There is a standard basic US Forest Service campground for tents and trailers(no hookups though) along with a paddlers tent site located at the nearby boat launch. At the present time, the regular campground is officially closed due to staffing issues with the covid-shutdown, but the nearby USFS boat launch is still open, and through paddlers on the Mississippi Headwaters Water trail can tent here if traversing Lake Winnie and not able to make it the whole way across. Under ordinary circumstances, the campground offers several nice basic but heavily forested campsites which would be very enjoyable for tenters who want a more secluded camping experience. Some sites have RV and trailer possibilities, but without hookups so be prepared. Folks like camping here for the quiet National Forest destination, and for fishing in Lake Winnie. Though the water is clear and pristine, a recent infestation of zebra mussels does make the beaches a bit crunch now, and you need to take care to clean watercraft so as not to transport veligers to other locations. The boat launch has a good ramp with great lake access, and it is easy to pull out or put in a canoe or kayak here as well. The paddler tentsite here just has a grassy site and fire ring though, so be prepared, but it is a good stopover site if trying to traverse the lake from west to east on the water trail.

Small and limited access during pandemic

This location is actually a duplicate of The Dyrts Plug Hat Point listing which is here and should be merged: https://thedyrt.com/camping/minnesota/plug-hat-point

Also, note that the location needs to be corrected, Plug Hat Point Campground is at Latitude 47.439 N Longitude-94.055 W .

This is a small National Forest camping area with picnicking, fishing, and a boat landing. At present time, there is full boat access, picnicking and parking  available at this location, but the  adjacent drive-in  campsites are closed to vehicle camping during the pandemic due to reduced Forest Service staffing. However, paddlers on the Mississippi Headwaters water trail are allowed to tent here as dispersed campers adjacent to the picnic area while through-paddling. There are outhouses and water avaialble in the picnic area, as well as use of the boat launch which has a nice dock and cement ramp for easy access. From here, paddlers with a canoe or kayak cart can easily portage around the Winnie Dam about 1/2 mile to river launch site below the dam, thus avoiding the  very steep, rocky and difficult portage that is located right at the dam. You do need a good portage cart, however, as the access road from Plug Hat Point is not paved.

One night stop for paddlers only the water trail only

This is a US Forest Service Boating area on Lake Winnie in the Chippewa National Forest. It is primarily set up as a boat and canoe landing, with large beautiful group picnic area as well. However, it is also a stop at the Mississippi Headwaters Water Trail, and is a canoe stopover spot. At times, the winds and storms on Lake Winnie are very dangerous, and paddlers are not able to get further up the point to the Tamarack Point campsites, or around the point to the Winnie Dam camground. Under those conitions, it would be dangerous to go further, and paddlers may stay here for the night. Bathrooms, plenty of tent space, easy landing and launching for canoes and kayaks as well as boats, new picnnic shelters, great place for paddlers to shelter.

Beautiful State Park

The chase point trail is a must see! The campsites in the Lodge campground seemed small, site was all gravel not great for tent unless you bring thick sleeping pads. Close to neighbors but is nicely wooded. Beautiful nighttime views and a very quiet campground at night.

Great campground no view of the lake

This is a great campground. The sites are huge with plenty of room between the sites. This is on the east side of leech lake back in the channel so you can't really see the lake. There is a boat ramp to get you on the lake. Firewood can be purchased next door at Tonga. Sites were really clean in general. Ours did have lots of sunflower seeds left on it. Clean bathrooms with showers. No beach near by.