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I had an absolutely wonderful stay at The Country School. Brenda was warm and friendly via text, and I felt very safe camping there as a solo woman traveler. I was at site 1, which is closer to the road and house. I heard very occasional car traffic, but I imagine site 2 is quieter. Each site had everything one needs for a rustic tent camp experience—lots of chopped wood and firestarters, pallet table and two chairs, fire pit (no grate over the pit). Note: there is no water, so bring your own. The pit toilet is clean but there are no showers or flush toilets.
I'd consider both sites similar to walk-in campsites at state parks. A few hundred feet to get into the woods, which helps make it feel more private, but not so far you need to worry about backpacking in. I'm looking forward to coming back again. It's an easy getaway from the Cities with far fewer people than a state park (and I love state park camping, don't get me wrong).
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.
Okay so this state park is beautiful. The trails are wonderful. The campsites and campground are great. Except… I camped here in a 2006 Toyota Tacoma and mice essentially had their way with every part of my vehicle in one night!!! I have a topper and a built-out bed in the back. It was chilly and I had the truck shut—the cab as well as the tailgate and all windows. Still, when I woke the next morning (and for days and days afterward) I found mouse poop EVERYWHERE. They got into plastic bins, duffel bags, backpacks, stuff sacks, etc. Their nasty little feces were found in food, on towels, in the cab, in the bed, in ONE OF MY HIKING BOOTS!!!! Disgusting. Now, my friend who has a 2019 Tacoma said he heard them scampering around in the wheel wells of his truck and crawling all over trying to find a way in, but they did not succeed. I guess because my truck is older and has more tiny spaces they can crawl through, it got the treatment. Anyway, just beware because they knew I was coming and their diseases-infested poops I am still finding weeks later!!!!
This is a review for the walk-in, canoe-in campsite #C1. It is actually located in a secluded part of the park, more than a mile from the main campground. It is meant to be a campsite for park campers who want a more private location than the regular campground and dont mind backpacking or carting their gear in, or for paddlers from the Mississippi River who access it as a Water Trail stop by paddling to it up Pike Creek. The park itself is located near the town of Little Falls, MN and there is easy access from Hwy 10, or from the River. In all honesty, I have driven past Little Falls many times en route to Minneapolis or elsewhere but never stopped; I never realized what a small hidden jewel this park is, and within it what a terrific camping opportunity exists here for secluded walk-in or paddle-in campers.
The campsite itself is gorgeous, a beautiful setting on the sandy banks of Pike Creek. My friend and I packed in our gear on the short hiking trail to get here, but I do have a friend who paddled in here not long ago and recommended it highly. Pike Creek is a clear, beautiful stream that is peaceful to camp on, and there are several hikes you can make from the site. There is a heavy duty fire ring with sturdy grill, tenting spots for several tents, picnic table, steps down to the water, swimming access nearby, and rack to store your canoe or kayak if you have one. You do need to hike about 2/10 of a mile to get to bathrooms and water source; you have to hike about a mile to the main campground if you want showers. But if you don't mind the trek for any of those, this is one sweet campsite!
While we were here, we hiked the trail along Pike Creek which was scenic, including rapids; there are many wooded trails, and a longer trail to hike into the location where Charles Lindbergh landed the "Jenny" in 1927 on what was then an open field on the family homestead. We also hiked to the Missisippi River, which is a nice trail in and of itself, but also leads to two history museums and a Living History Site, one operated by the county historicall society (http://morrisoncountyhistory.org/) , the others by the Minnesota State Historical Society ( https://www.littlefallsmn.com/things-to-do/charles-lindbergh-house-and-museum ) . The land encompassed by the park is hisotric for 2 reasons: Zebulon Pike spent the winter here with a search party who were going up river to search for the source of the Mississippi River, and probably camped right at the very campsite here on the sores of Pike Creek; and a century later it was the homestead of the Lindbergh family and where aviator Charles grew up. So, camping here is a pleasure if you are interested in history as well as nature, off the beaten path.
In addition, you can bike a bike trail to Little Falls which then connects you to maze of local trails, https://www.littlefallsmn.com/things-to-do/bike-and-hike , or while at the park you can paddle the river (rent gear locally if you didnt bring your own: http://www.shirleymaesoutfitters.com/ )
You can also drive bout 5 miles to a terrific National Wildlife Refuge at Crane Meadows, we hiked there and really enjoyed bird watching and the rare oak savannah and tall grass prairie.
This campsite is really a hidden jewel. The only reason I didnt give it 5 stars was because there is a train line that runs along the Mississippi River a few miles from the campsite, and the sound of train whistles in the evening really carries. Otherwise it is very secluded and beautiful, and a great choice if wanting to explore the area. if you are a birder, the tremendous variety of birds (kingfishers, various woodpeckers, warblers, waterfowl, and more) is great, though be forewarned that a screech owl hangs out near this campsite, and it was a bit unnerving the first time we heard it!
Great little site. Didnt stay long. We were bike riding the Paul Bunyon Trail and rode into Crow Wing in the dark. I self registered because the office was closed (wrote in canoe site since you can't reserve it online). Pictured is my son at the site with our tent that we forgot to pack poles for.
Take the stress out of camping and RV'ing if you are just getting started like we did. Very nice sites and friendly staff! Everyone was so helpful. Beautiful walking trails. Lots of activities for the kids.
My middle son and I did a bike packing trip on the Paul Bunyon Trail, we rode up from Crow Wing and stayed at this little gem for the night. Got there around 3PM, set up camp and then rode into Pine River for his birthday dinner. The trail in to the site was fun to ride on bike, there was plenty of down wood for a fire and would love to return!