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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!
It was a 2.5 mile hike of all sorts of terrain. Scenery was perfect. Not much for available tent sites or hammock sites. It could fill up fast. Has a fire pit and water is super clear. Very quiet and was mosquito free till darkness set in. I would definitely camp here again.
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.
Itasca is a beautiful park. Gorgeous scenery to enjoy. We saw lots of deer within the park. We loved our stay at the Pine Ridge Campground. We were close to drinking water and the very well maintained modern showers/toilets. There are other campsites within the park that are more rustic if that is what you’re looking for. We will definitely be back!
The Remote campsites at DeSoto Lake provide a Boundary Waters type experience without being far from the towns of Bemidji snd Park Rapids. These campsites have the double distinction of being both on the National North Country Scenic Trail, as well as being in the backcountry region of Itasca State Park. Local NCT members help maintain the trail and campsites, but as the campsites are with the State Park Boundaries, the sites must be reserved through the MN State Park reservations website, with request for Itasca Backpacking sites # 3 or 4. These sites are accessible to NCT through hikers, but access within the park is either through backpacking in in the Nicollet Trail or DeSoto Lake Trail (each a several hour hike in from the Parks Wilderness Drive), or from the Gartner Farm trailhead of the NCT to the west, or the Itasca South entrance parking lot. For those who prefer paddling, the Desoto Portage is about a 15 minute portage from the 113 parking lot to the south shore of DeSoto Lake, then a paddle acroos the lake to the campsite landings.
Both campsites are on a bluff on the northeast side of the lake, with a landing and set of stairs up to the sites. The west site has log benches, fire ring, and room for several tents, and the east site also has a picnic table. Both have access to a pit toilet of the modern type with three walls and a roof, but no door as it is off in the woods facing away from the camping sites and overlooking another nearby lake. From these camp sites you can portage into several nearby lakes that are even more remote and pristine, or you can hike miles in any direction either on the NCT, or in several state park trails that intersect nearby. DeSoto lake itself is full of many islands and small bays where there is abundant wildlife including wild swans nesting. A calm, serene, and beautiful retreat if you dont mind backpacking in at least three miles or portaging a canoe or kayak about a mile. You need to bring your own water, or a water filter as there is no potable water.
Info about remote MN state park camping and link to reservations: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/remote_camping.html
Info on Itasca State Park: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/park.html?id=spk00181#homepage
Info on the North Country Scenic Trail, part if the National Park Service’s national trail system: https://www.nps.gov/noco/index.htm
Info on the Laurentian Lakes chapter of the NCT, which maintains the trail to the DeSoto campsites https://northcountrytrail.org/trail/minnesota/llc/
A big park with lots of campsites and plenty of campers. Most of the day visitors congregate in a few areas and, by late afternoon, it's not difficult to find some quiet spaces. While you are camping in the woods, you are always aware that you are sharing the space with many other campers. Your enjoyment will depend upon your patience and tolerance of what your fellow campers feel is "camping".
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.