The best HIKE IN camping near
Cooley , MINNESOTA

51 Reviews10 Campgrounds

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Most Recent Cooley Camping Reviews
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.

Need bug spray

This would’ve been a great campground right on the lake but the mosquito were horrible. There was no amount of bug spray to help.

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.

Pretty good

Not a terrible place to camp. Great amenities and care taken to clean bathrooms and showers. Walk in tent site was large enough to accommodate a 10x18 tent easily. Raccoons are smart enough to open coolers and non latching totes. Mosquitoes will also sweep you off around 9pm even with bug spray.

Scenic community campground

 This is a small but beautifully maintained city park in the charming village of Palisade. It provides easy access to recreational activities such as fishing and boating on the Mississippi River, and hiking, cycling or riding ATV’s on the nearby the Soo-Line Trail which stretches from Moose Lake to Cass Lake. See info on the Soo Line trail here: 

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ohv/trail_detail.html?id=38

There are campsites designed for RV’s and trailers, and other sites perfect for tenters, including sites for through-paddlers on the Mississippi Headwaters Water Trail 

(see water trail map here:  https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/canoe_routes/mississippi4.pdf

 There is a good quality boat landing and ramp, fishing piers, nice full service bathrooms, playground and picnic shelter, and easy walking access to the town center with hardware store, gas, and several nice cafes with good home cooking. The location is very scenic, and the campers seem to be friendly and family oriented. There is are several educational kiosks on the premises for learning about the river which is a nice touch. I would recommend this for paddlers passing through, or as a destination for weekend recreation.

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.

First to Review
Dispersed camping at its finest

Popular backcountry sites in the Marcell area of the Chippewa National Forest include Spider Lake, the birch forest of the Suomi Hills and Trout Lake.

Both my boyfriend and myself grew up visiting the Grand Rapids area so it’s an old favorite. We’ve dispersed camp in a few different spots in the Marcell area and particularity like the Suomi Hills campsites. Some are only a short walk from the (usually small) parking area, some are a mile or two backpack-in and others are only accessed by canoe or kayak. They vary in degree of how “primitive” they are - some have only a rock fire pit while others have a metal fire pit, picnic table and pit toilet. I think some are quite luxurious for being a FREE dispersed campsite. Not only that but they are well traveled and taken care of. It’s nice to see people adhering to LNT principles.

These campsites can be popular so you may need a backup plan or two to keep moving on until you find a vacant spot. Many are located on a lake and you have that entire lake to yourself. There are also hiking trails so you will find plenty to do to keep busy.

If you are looking for complete privacy, great fishing and some amenities, the Marcell area of the Chippewa National Forest is your destination.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/chippewa/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=26780&actid=34

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.

Love this campground

We have stayed here for a family trip 2 years in a row. The sites are very spacious and with all the trees, feel secluded. We had small trails running through the treeline between our 3 campsites which was great. As expected in the woods, the mosquitos were thick, but we fogged our site and that took care of it! The campground has a nice little playground but it was closed off due to COVID. the showers and vault toilets were clean. You can put your boat in easily at the landing. The walleye fishing is great!

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