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This hidden gem is on the Mississippi water trail around mile 996. It is called "Overlook Park" and owned/maintained by the city of Baxter, but is part of the DNR's state water trail. There is even signage for those on the river to inform them about their whereabouts on the trail when they pass this park.
So although this is a little private city park, there is a specific spot RIGHT on the river with a picnic table, fire ring, and nice high ground soft space for a tent. But really you could tent it anywhere in the park, but this space is set aside a bit from the rest, as it is a city park although very little traffic. There is garbage and a vaulted toilet. There are three picnic tables throughout including the tent site, and two fire rings. There is a nice canoe landing area with a few stairs to help give access up and down from the river bank. Very pretty spot on the river! The opposite land bordering this city park is part of Crow Wing State Park, so even though it's close to town, it does feel fairly remote.
Such a well maintained park! Pretty views and some rugged trails along the river for some hiking as well.
Woah love this park! Has so many things to do.
Went on the hiking club trail around Annie Battle Lake, most of it is even paved for biking or groomed for skiing.
The yurt and watercraft sites are secluded and so awesome with great views, right on the lake, firewood and water back there available specifically for that area… so cool.
The cart in sites and camper cabins are in a little old growth forest area right on the lake up in a little hill area. Spaced out quite well, all have views of lake (even though on a hill so for swimming/boating access you gotta go to appropriate spots). What a site for camping!
Very clear and calm lakes, sandy, and the little creeks/rivers betwixt them are just begging to be canoed or kayaked.
Great swimming areas and picnic tables and fire pits everywhere. Vast views and also pretty wooded areas.
Shower and rest rooms very modern by the trail center.
All in all so cool that they kept it so rustic has a cool history! Big views and wooded views which I love. Various walks, streams and lakes. Campground is the real deal and good for anyone who wants a wilderness experience without actually backpacking! Great for kids, for sure!
I've stayed in both the cabins and the camping area. The cabins are my favorite because of the lake views, proximity to the bathhouse, and heat/AC units. Cabin #5 has the best unobstructed views of the lake. Cabins have WiFi. The campground is nice but only has a primitive toilet adjacent to the campsites. There are no electric or sewer hookups, but there are a couple of tent sites than can accommodate small campers. I camped in site #18 and it either isn't very level or I just did a poor job of setting up my tent because we were slanted all night. Great stargazing at both the cabins and the tent sites.
Check-in information is shared via email (key codes for the bathhouse and the cabin locks). The emails are very informative and the owners have been prompt to reply when I had questions. They even offer up the option to have firewood delivered to your site (either cabin or tent site) before you arrive.
This is my favorite place to stay in Crosby because it's so close to both the Rally Center Trailhead and Crosby. My favorite places in town are Red Raven (great coffee shop with good breakfast and lunch food options), Crosby Pub (wide variety of food - burgers, salads, appetizers), Rafferty's Pizza (pizza and beer plus a couple of arcade games in the back), and Iron Range Eatery (a little fancier than Crosby Pub (but not by much) and offers great food as well). All of these restaurants offer outdoor seating.
The lower campground has electric sites and is situated along Lake Carlos but there is little privacy between sites (126 and 127). We camped with another family so it was nice to have the open space between our sites where the kids could play and run. The boat launch was quite busy and there seemed to be a lot of people not staying in the campground who use the park for the day. The hiking trail along the lake was busy but once we got a little farther out the trails were quiet and peaceful. The highway outside the park was loud at night, it sounded like people were drag racing the Friday and Saturday nights we stayed.
Lots of screaming kids the weekend we were here, but we found the quiet trails. Lower campground offers no privacy, but a newer shower house and views and access to the lake. Upper campground has a handful of sites that are tucked into the woods and are really quite lovely.
This is a State Forest Campground, and for the price of only $14 a night, you can't go wrong. Although you may get some noise from RVs with generators, we visited in late september, and there were enough sites to choose from that we could be away from that noise. Almost every site had a fair amount of space, and some privacy from neighboring sites with brush and foliage. There seemed to be pathways back to little vault toilet houses, and when we visited, they were very clean! They must have been recently cleaned, and there was no smell at all. Perhaps the cooler weather had something to do with that as well.
We had a fire ring that was tall, and deep. With a grate so you could grill. A picnic table, and again, plenty of space for our teardrop trailer. The property had a few small, short trails through the woods, and also boat access.
It's far enough off the main road that you won't hear road noise. You will, however, see and hear deer, and possibly black bear.
There's no electricity, because it's a State Forest campground, but if the price of $14, it's exactly what we wanted for this time of year.
One more bonus is that motorized two-wheel vehicles and off-road vehicles are not allowed past the entrance. That doesn't mean they can't be carried on the back of a truck, but you will not find them riding around this campground. Made things a little bit quieter!
We had a really great weekend exploring Glendalough, in the Ottertail Lakes region where the northwoods transitions out to prairie. Lots of lakes, a mosaic of habitats from pine and aspen forest to maple and ash woodlands, to oak savannah, to fens and marshes and lakes and streams and prairie. The camping opportunities here are really unique, it is one of the few state parks in our state where there are no RV's or car camping,, you have to hike in with your tent and gear on trails into the campground, or paddle across the lake to some of the more remote campsites, or backpack or bike around to the other side of the lake on trails to more dispersed sites. It is awesome. The lakes are ranked among the most pristine in the state and are designated"Heritage Lakes" because of the water qulity and the diverse habitats around them. They also have a few camper cabins or yurts that you can rent which you can cart in to or hike to with your gear. It makes for a very quiet, very secluded and very peaceful retreat with quiet outdoorsy like-minded neighbors. In the summer they have all kinds of environmental education programs, and you can learn on your own with their field guides and good interpetive trails explaining the activity of the glaciers through here, how the landscape formed and how different microclimates and habitiats evolved after the glaciers retreated. They are open year round, in the winter you can cross-country ski or snowshoe in for winter camping. Pretty cool!