The best WALK IN camping near
McKinley , MINNESOTA

102 Reviews13 Campgrounds

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Most Recent McKinley Camping Reviews
Feels Like Wilderness

Stayed at a camper cabin- had the park to ourselves! Absolutely gorgeous. The drive off the main highway is a few miles, so you really end up out in the wilderness! We also appreciated that this park doesn’t allow hunting so you know you are safe during that season. 

The campground is along a series of winding lakes, with multiple access points to the water. Very spaced out and easy access to vaulted toilets and water. A couple of different fishing piers and docks right near the campground itself. Has electric and non-electric sites. Definitely impressed with the campground itself. Very pretty no matter where you camp. 

Park has:

- fishing pier

- hiking trails

- fish cleaning building

- stocked backcountry fishing lakes

- canoe rental

- a trail center with a community fire ring and comfy chairs

- dump station

- RV sanitation station

- camper cabins

- group camp

- swimming beach

- trailer access

- watercraft and backpack sites 

We enjoyed night walks and star gazing- we decided it was the best stars we had ever seen! Even saw shooting stars. Cooked some great meals, and enjoyed the hiking club walk through the woods to some super-secret small lakes. 

Checked out the group site- so cool. Right on the water with a personal dock and toilets.

This park is truly in the wilderness, felt like actually being in the Boundary Waters! Crystal clear water, thick gorgeous forests, and an amazing sky. 

Head into Ely, maybe 20 mins, if you need supplies or a break from the woods. Also can access the BWCAW there too. 

We appreciated that this park is open year-round, but can’t wait to go back in the summer!

Wonderful Camping Spot

This is a great spot to catch the fall colors in Northern Minnesota. The camp ground has two loops. The first loop is mainly for walk-in camping, while the second loop can accommodate any size rig.

Right on Lake Superior

The area is beautiful with a lot to see and do. The camp is clean and for very full this time of year with many campers enjoying the color change on the north shore. Would like a little more forest around me but for a convenient spot I would stay here again in the future. Very clean. As far as quiet you listen to the waves hitting the shore line. Bring a jacket if you plan to be next to the water.

Great, clean sites. Gorgeous lake!!

I spent 3 nights in a tent and my friends had a large camper in the same site. They were clean and the chipmunks were our pets for the weekend. The docks are convenient for your boats or pontoons. The fishing is phenomenal and beautiful! Definitely recommend for hiking, site seeing, swimming at the beach, fishing and other things 😊

Just Right

Smaller campground located in two harbors.  Super nice personnel. Clean. Gravel sites with grass. The lake is right there.It shows $10 fee on the dyrt but it’s $46 including tax for an RV with the electric and water no sewer.

Family Friendly

The sites weren’t particularly large, the singular available vault toilet for the tenting sites was usually in disarray and the general noise level was surprising….but even with all of these unexpected speed bumps the trip was great!

Everyone was super friendly and I appreciated being able to have my 3-legged companion along for the adventure. Sites were clearly marked and easy to find, along with trails to the beach area. Lots of families with children, so if you’re looking for a place to bring your littles, this should be on your list.

Great campground, nice sites, boat ramp, water access and swim beach

We always look for rec.gov sites with the national Park Pass for seniors it's inexpensive & usually they are nice. We stayed in Site #63 with electric hook up. When you enter the park where the office/small store is that's where you fill with water. Our site was big with a picnic table, fire pit & a path to the lake. Our friends camped in site # 62 it was big yet had a weird tree stump in a bad place. They marked it with a night light and a flag. 

The boat ramp was near the loop we were in so very easy access to the water. You can keep you boat or kayak next to the boat ramp. We kayaked out to the Boundry Waters Canoe Area and fished. We stopped & looked at several boat in campsites that are booked through Fall lake CG they are really nice and private. There are lots of lakes to pick & choose from for kayaking and boating. Clean restrooms, nice hot showers. The sites are cleaned and raked the campground is well maintained. They sell Ice & wood and a few small items in the store/office. 

The best sites are #63, 62, (10 is a pull through)   for Campers or tents and nice walk in sites #26 has a private beach, 59, 6029,35 are waterfront walk in sites.

There  is no dump station you drive into Ely it's at the Ely Chamber of Commerce (6 miles away) for a donation. There are free brochures here too and coupon books. Only other downfall was the camphost is across from site 63 and they start early. It's quiet till they come back about 7:30 am (were still sleeping) & back in their golf cart. Beep, Beep you know what I mean. I wanted to say something but they left for a week so it was quiet early mornings. They should make them a little pull through path for the cart. 

This campground was so quiet, great sites, most have a path to the lake and they have great hike in sites too. There's lots of parking at the parking lot for boaters & hikers. The swim beach is at the end of the park and it has a playground in front of it. 

It was so interesting to watch boats portage going from one lake to another. People canoe & boat to the Canadian border from there. We didn't catch many fish it was warmer than normal the bite was off. Got a few small Northern Pikes and a small bass. We did see a big Eagles nest with several Eagles, saw loons, deer and other birds. 

We walked the path behind our site to the water & would swim & float on floats in the lake. Great way to relax & cool off. We took cocktails & just floated & enjoyed. 

The town of Ely is about 6 miles away it's a small town with a lot of canoe outfitters, fishing shops, liquor stores, some eats & by far the best Ice cream I ever had from Northern Expressions. The line can be out the door & down the street it's that good. There was a few places to eat we didn't like the Chinese place at all Oriental Orchid it was the worst we ever had. It took a 1/2 hour to get our food we called it in got there in 30 min. and it was at least 30 more once we arrived. We went to the International Wolf center spent a few hours there it was just ok. We did see a few wolves and learned a little.  

The Northern Market makes their own sausage it's good we stocked up on different ones. Nice little grocery store there is a Zups grocery store too. 

We did eat at the Grand Lodge it was good. It's probably 8 miles from the campground.

Epitome of northern MN

6/25-6/27/20. BP5

Bear Head Lake has it all. Camping, fishing, boating, swimming and hiking. The lake itself is fully private and the only access is through the state park. There was very little boat traffic during our stay and we were able to paddle most of the lake. We really enjoyed some of the calmer bays. The temps were close to 90 during our stay and the beach was busy. There is a nice sandy area and the water shallow and warm. There are several small docks along the campground for people to tie up motorboats, it was a fun little section to walk. Sites 51-58 are closest to the lake (but they don’t have actual lake views) and have the nearest access to these docks, though anyone can use them. There is also a fishing pier and another dock by the beach.

Not only is the lake a huge draw, but so is the hiking. Norberg Lake was absolutely gorgeous and the trail that passed through. There is also a little sandy spot and people (and dogs) were swimming here. We also enjoyed the Blueberry Lake trail (around the backpack sites) and the Becky Lake trail.

The sites in the campground seems very close together and small. Even the sites near the water. We prefer more remote sites and were able to book BP5. This site was on Bear Head lake itself so we were able to paddle across the water from the beach area. Our site had its own dock and I think it was the best in the park. The site itself was very spacious, with a bear locker, fire pit, picnic table, hammock spot and sunset views. We were able to go into two other backpack sites because they were vacant and they were also very spacious and private We loved our time at Bear Head and will be returning next summer.

Lots of RVs, great cell seevice

6/25-6/26/20. Site 409

This was our first trip to Lake Vermillion-Soudan and we spent one night here. You can get wood as you enter, it’s in a little shed to pick your own and $6 a bundle. Our site was spacious and grassy, though we could see our neighbors, so it wasn’t the most private. We drove around all campground loops and decided we liked our section best. It had a lot of trees (and hammock spots), but also a lot of RVs. Some of the other loops were more open and had less trees. The campground was very quiet and the cell service was top rate. If you are looking for a state park campground to work remotely, this would be a great choice.

The mine was closed when we visited but it was still fun to explore from the outside. We hiked the hiking club trail loop - which was actually confusing to follow - but it was fun to see some remnants of the old mines and the trail was wooded and pretty. There was also still snow in one of the deep pits. The picnic area was gorgeous with a lot of trees and there was a large fishing dock. There is also a nice boat launch to a quiet bay that brings you right into Lake Vermillion. It was windy so we did not kayak. The state park is kept up and maintained very nicely. We enjoyed our visit.

Beautiful Wilderness

Sites leaning towards more of an rv type of site with the gravel and lots of large rocks in the ground but an amazing location. The hiking trails are fantastic and they have many hike in sites that appear to be in super cool locations. We are definitely making a return trip here!