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I’ve already done a review for this park but they have recently renovated it I feel the need to redo it. Spots 1-17 have remained the same and are awesome. Spots 18-46 are second best. Even numbered sites on the lake are better than the odd numbered sites but both have a few of the lake. The rest of the sites ‘unfinished’ - no grass, weeds, and just need more attention. The photos are from site 33
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.
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 multiple 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.
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.
The town of Maiden Rock is small with a couple bars and great bakery. Nice people! The campground is across the tracks from town, very close. Rates are great at 25.00 for electric hook ups. We where located right next to the tracks and it’s loud!!! The trains blow through here at speed with horns blowing. Super loud! And the recycle bins for town are located close by and some jerk would come by at 5:30 AM and dump his bottles. Very loud again! I think if you camped closer to the lake this could be a nice spot but for us never again. It’s really a pretty location and I’ll attach some photos.