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There are a lot of things to do/see here. Headwaters, fish on lake itaska miles and miles of hiking/biking trails. Now the camping its really nice on weekdays and its ok on weekends but weekends have more kids and noise as expected. The major downfall was the FLIES they were insane there were so many one day we had to go inside just to get away. So plan on some fly deterrent method. This trip tought us we need it.
We stayed 7 nights really wish we had booked a few weeks. Our site was #16. We had electric hook up, fill with water near the dump station. Our site was big and private on Grass lake facing west so we saw great sunsets sitting in our site. Our bump out was facing the water when we backed in so sitting at the dinette in the camper we had a great view of the lake. Our table & fire pit were behind the camper with a great view of the water & sunset. The small birds were amazing, the sound of the Loons and an occasional muskrat will swim by. Every morning we had a Chipmunk warm itself up on a tree behind the camper when the sun hit that spot. The big Maple trees everywhere is nice very lush campground. When the sun set we kicked up a bonfire and took it all in.
There are several docks on grass lake and a big dock on Beers lake you can fish from. We launched the Kayak at the boat ramp on Beers lake it's a nice ramp and not busy. We didn't get on Lake Lida it's much bigger and lots of go fast boats we prefer no wake. The bigger fish are on Lida.
There are 8 lakes in the park which 3 or 4 have easy water access to launch a canoe or Kayak. Each lake has different fish in it. Our favorite was Beers lake it had some calm coves in it, we caught some Crappies, pan fish & Bass on this lake. They say it also has Walleye and Northern Pike. Lots of beavers & muskrats swimming interesting to watch. There is a hike or boat in site on Beers lake it's nice.
Grass lake has Pan fish, crappie, Northern Pike & more it's a smaller lake. Bass lake has trout, imagine that!
There is a 5 mile drive in the parks around some lakes that was nice we saw Swans with babies, Loons, and beavers. We loved this park. There are so many trails and so much to do.
There is a fish cleaning station, restrooms, boat ramps, canoe rentals, a swim beach and picnic area tat Lake Lida just a great place. We will go back & spend a few weeks next time were from Florida so it's a ways to go but will do it again.
The ranger that would drive through in the evenings was very knowledgeable about the wildlife, the area & 2 other parks he works at. Someone had 2 campers in one site he told them it wasn't allowed (I think we all know that) he made one book a spot & move. It was the only noise we heard was their dogs in that site when no one was there they barked the entire time. Glad he made the one camper move it got quiet again. We did have some people try to walk through our site we asked them not to. They had to walk between the camper & the truck I would think it was common sense.
There is an Equestrian campground there and trails around the lakes to ride your horses on, a few water access spots for them to wet their hoofs.
There is a town close by Pelican Rapids, the drive there is nice and it's a small town but a nice grocery store (Larry's), Liquor store, a drug store a few gift shops & good ice cream.
I'm so happy we found this campground we will return.
A campground away from it all. The sites clean and well maintained. Showers and restrooms were sufficient and clean. It was extremely quiet with heavy wooded areas. All of the sites felt secluded from each other and you really got the outdoor feeling.
The campground is massive with hundred of people, but it’s possible to get a more private site in the furthest loop- poplar. Ours wasn’t too private and we were surrounded by families with small kids. But the staff park has plenty to do and is well-worth a visit!
This was the first MN state park we’ve been to in the “shoulder” season (weekday before Memorial Day) that was staffed and had boat rentals available. Very spacious sites; the best ones in the main campground (with electric) are along Grass Lake (7,8,15,16) but all would be decent sites. Well-marked hiking trails, however, if you take the figure 8 hike around Cataract and Grass Lakes, it IS longer than the two miles advertised! Clean restrooms and showers. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. The only warning (and we were warned upon arrival) is to watch for ticks. I found two on me.
Campground Review: The Stumphges Rapids Canoe Landing is a stop on the Mississippi Headwaters Water Trail. It has a primitive dispersed campsite that lies with the river buffer zone that is part of the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest, but the DNR is no longer maintaining it as a full scale Water Trail canoe campsite, eg there is no water pump, latrine or Adirondack shelters such as at Coffee Pot Landing or Wanagon upstream or Pine Point downstream. Although on a bluff overlooking one of the more pristine sections of the Headwaters, the campsite itself has seen better days. There is a clearing for tents and parking, a fire ring with stump seats, and a beautiful bench overlooking the sandy but steep trail to the canoe landing. Be prepared to bring your own water, and to Leave No Trace when you visit the woods for an al fresco potty stop. For those who appreciate a very rustic campsite in a secluded state forest location, you might choose this spot to either drive in or paddle in, but it is not as nice as Coffee Pot or Fox Trap, which are your next closest full canoe campsites on the Water Trail. Whether driving or paddling, the site is not really accessible during the winter season although you probably could ski or snowmobile in for winter camping. I give the river location itself a full five points, but the campsite itself just a 3 at best
Brochure and map for the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/state_forests/sft00034.pdf
Map of the first hundred miles of the Headwaters Water Trail: https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/canoe_routes/mississippi1.pdf
Directions to the Stumpghes Rapids Landing and adjacent dispersed campsite are at this link: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/water_access/site.html?id=WAS00636
Product Review of Eclipse Sunwear protective clothing:
As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I sometimes have the chance to try new products and review them for the Dyrt camping community. The Eclipse Sunwear shirts are a relatively new brand of sun protective clothing, and I tried both the hooded shirt in mint green and the electric yellow shirt. You can see an example of them here: https://eclipseglove.com/collections/cover-ups/products/equinox-hoodie-beach-cover-up PROS:For health reasons, I have been advised to be cautious about sun exposure, which is a challenge as I do a lot of outdoor recreation and I also work outdoors. The Eclipse Sunwear is pretty awesome at protecting from sunburn and minimizing sun exposure without use of sunscreen lotion, as the fabric screens out UV light. The shirts are made of a lightweight stretchy fabric that is really cool and comfortable to wear doing anything from kayaking to carrying gear for field work. You can wear them swimming and they dry quickly. The hooded shirts are sleek and comfy and have extra pockets, one dedicated to holding your cell phone and keys which is real handy. There are a variety of nice colors, you can choose to “blend in” with natural outdoor colors, or for safety you can choose their fluorescent colors to be seen when biking or hiking or working alongside roads. CONS: The only con is that the sleeves have open vents on the undersides. These may be meant to keep you cool with airflow in a spot that isn’t exposed to the sun, which may be great at the beach or on the water, but it gives access to mosquitos when you are in the woods. I am thinking about sewing up the vents in mine for that reason.
We stayed at Maplewood State Park mid-July. We actually stayed in one of the 3 camper cabins and loved it! They have electricity, heat, ceiling fans and a private dock on Beers Lake. There is a vault toilet & water spicket nearby. Each cabin has its own fire pit and picnic table area. It felt very private although the cabins are rather near to each other. We checked out the campgrounds and they had spacious sites, some more private than others. It had a family friendly feel and was obviously a favorite spot for fisherman and water recreation enthusiasts. I wish we could have spent more time in the 9200 acre park. There is a swimming beach & picnic area that allows you to have campfires, as well as a nice shower house. The ranger was helpful regarding my questions about the lake and potentially renting a cabin for ice fishing this winter. At sunset, sitting by the lake, it was beautiful- nothing but songbirds and the call of loons to listen to.