the dyrt
Alicia V.
Hokah, MN
Joined July 2018
Live simply, explore often, consume mindfully
Ranger Review: 3-1 RōM pack at Esofea - Rentz Memorial Park

Peaceful area! Esofea campground has a shelter, several ponds and streams, and some nice hiking trails.

The camping options range from full hookups to tent camping. The campground is open for camping between April 15th and October 15th each year. Esofea campground has 27 campsites in total (4 with full hookups, 8 with electricity and 15 primitive sites). Fresh water is available for campers and park users. Reservations are not always necessary but if you a planning on camping on holiday weekends or wanting electric sites book in advanced.

There is good trout fishing at this campground. Recommended spots are one of the 5 ponds or the Bad Axe River.

Product Review:

As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I get to test awesome outdoor products! At Esofea, I tested out my new 3-1 RōM Pack from RōM Outdoors.

Here’s what I like about the 3-1 pack:

Quality. This poncho is heavy duty. It’s not like the plastic ones that rip when your hiking through brushy areas. The thickness of the poncho is perfect for keeping dry but also very warm. It’s perfect for the northwoods!

Packable. Easy to unpack and great for woodland areas. Comes with instructions on how to pack up but you really don’t need them. The pack folds up in a logical way. I found it easiest to store all my small items in the front zip up pack.

Secluded in the Northwoods

Bear Head Lake State Park is just south of the Boundary Waters, and shares a comparable wilderness element. The shoreline is beautiful and very fun to explore by kayak.

Campground features: Cabin rentals, tent sites, and RV sites. The campground is open in fall & winter. The campsites are private, well shaded, and level. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire pit. Flush toilets, hot showers, dump station, group sites, and electric are also available.

Hiking at Bear Head Lake State Park

  • Bear Head Lake State Park Trail is a moderate 3.2 mile trail. This hike is a loop route. Dogs are allowed but only on leash.
  • Norberg Lake Trail is a easy 1.5 mile trail. It is a trail for all skill levels and dogs are allowed but only on leash. Mostly wooded.
  • Blueberry Lake Trail is a easy 4.5 mile trail. Longer than the other listed trails. It is an out and back hike that is mostly wooded. Dogs are allowed on leash.
  • Becky Lake Trail is a easy 2.7 mile hike. Beck Lake is a loop hike that is mostly wooded. Dogs are allowed on leash.

Fishing at Bear Head State Park

Bass, northerns, walleye, panfish, and trout can be caught at this State Park. Many people fish from the fishing dock or shoreline. Panfish are all over the lake and most likely the first ones biting. Good walleye fishing after 6pm.

Other activities:

Boat rentals, cross country ski trail (groomed), snowshoe trails, and snowmobile trails.

Good hiking, fishing, and scenery!

Chicot State Park is located near Ville Platte, Louisiana. It’s a nice place to hangout for the day. This park has bathrooms and showers, electrical outlets, and clean facilities. The campsites are a mixed bag - some are great, others are extremely unlevel, & close to one another.

The park itself is great. Awesome hiking trails, good fishing, and great scenery! There’s a decent sized lake with some good fishing. I recommend kayaking at this park!

Great Views of the Mississippi Gorge!

Spent the whole day hiking the Great River Bluffs. The trail system is very well labeled with maps along each trail. The trail system is mostly level and I would label as easy hiking with rolling hills. The park contains two viewing areas King’s and Queen’s Bluff.

The campsites are spacious, completely shaded, and have a fire pit as well as picnic tables. Since the park is in a heavily wooded area you do have to watch out for the Minnesota state bird (the mosquito).


  • Bring bug spray
  • Bring binoculars; the river valley is a great viewing area for waterfowl, eagles, and hawks.
Great location!

The Nature Center campsite is located at the trail head for the Root River State Bike Trail. Trail Head Park is a nice tent only campground with walk-in sites. A majority of the sites have picnic tables and fire pits. The Nature Center has clean bathrooms and free showers. They recommend donations for the use of the showers.

$20 per night camping fee. You can pay inside the Nature Center or at the slot between the restroom mirrors. The sites are first come, first serve. Local firewood is available near the restrooms as well; take what you need and leave the center a donation.

Trail Head Park has a 1 acre natural playground near the campsite. When I visited during the week, I only saw a small group of people using the playground. The playground has a zip line, tree house, small rock wall, and more. Inside the Nature Center, they have interactive and interesting displays. The highlight of this campground is the Root River State Bike Trail and the Owl Center in the town of Houston.

I'd give the campsite 4/5 review. The location, the bluffs, the bike trail, and center get 5/5 review.

Wonderful experience!

Lake Catherine is a popular spot that’s on a first come first serve basis so arrive early. Most campsite have fire pits and grills. Nice space in between campsites.

This campground is also home to some very intelligent raccoons who have adapted to campers being around. Be smart, they are not scared!! If you leave your food out they will get it.

There is total shade over the swimming area after 2pm which makes for very enjoyable swimming.

Good swimming - okay camping...

Arrive to the campground early in order to get a spot. This place becomes very crowded on weekends & during camping season. Campsites are very close to each other so it makes for loud mornings and loud nights. The facilities are a little dated and and in need of repair.

The hiking and swimming made this place a lot better. This campground has great river access. The water was very clear in some spots and that was pretty neat!

Nice camping

This campground wasn't too crowded, but even if it had been full I think it would have been ok since the camp sites are further apart than the other main corridor campgrounds. There are a few trees for shade. Running water is only available seasonally, but Bright Angel Creek is nearby if you do need to filter. There are composting toilets. This is a great little campground for such a busy trail.

Close to the city, deep in the wilderness

Reservations are necessary, as many people grab these spots, and often for long stays (14 day maximums). Due to extreme heat, I recommend visiting in the fall. Winter, spring, and summer can tend to very uncomfortable.

Loved the variety of hikes here, anything from easy to medium-difficult. The individual sites are pretty small and hard to put a tent anywhere but the paved drives into each nook, much of the ground is covered in small plants and cacti. There's a picnic table/bench thing at each spot, plus a fire pit grill (which is the only place you can burn). Bathrooms and showers are on site and worked great during our stay. Bring plenty of water to hydrate with!


Small visitor center, water and restrooms, and three self-guided hiking trails. Beautiful area to explore.

Sunset View Campground is a very nice free campground that would typically cost at least $20 per day. During my stay, most of the campers arrived early evening and departed early morning so the campground was empty each day.

Stay limit is 7 days per year.

First come first serve small campground

A great place to snag a spot. Camping is $15 for the night, and it's all first-come-first-served. The views make this place. Extremely primitive sites, very remote. Easy road into the sites from highway, rough but any car can make it in dry weather, not advisable for cars when wet.

The hike nearby isn't long, but it's worth the walk. Sunset was beautiful, and I was able to get some pretty great shots of the stars after dark.

It felt like I stepped out of a spaceship and was walking on Mars!

Such a unique and beautiful place. I highly recommend visiting the Goblin's Lair, I was not expecting it at all and it was spectacular. There's a fun little cave you can crawl through inside the Goblin's Lair by its entrance too that's worth checking out. Everyone should at least visit Goblin Valley once in their life. Although not as big as Capitol Reef National Park, it is very similar and equally spectacular.

The campground is reasonably priced with nice showers and super cool scenery. They have a very interesting disc golf course set up near the campground.

Free Camping!

El Morro National Monument is located on an ancient east-west trail in western New Mexico. The main feature of this National Monument is a great sandstone promontory with a pool of water at its base.

We only hiked the Inscription Rock Loop but were impressed with the way the park integrated features like water channels into the land using natural elements. Everything was organized and impressive.

Don't drink the water at the campground

Jemez Falls Campground has nice sites that are well spaced out. Each campsite has its own table and fire rings. Vault toilets and water spigots are also located at the campground. I’ve been told not to drink their water though so bring your own.

You can hike to the hot springs from the Jemez Falls. At the falls you’ll see a sign for the hot springs, follow this trail. Once you reach a stream on this trail, you’ll know you’re getting close. The McKulley Hot Springs are so nice, I highly recommend checking them out!

Pay attention to details when booking campsite!

Nice, quiet campground in Arches National Park. It's small and fills up fast, plan ahead. Some of the spaces are small and some are just pullout on the side of the main campground road…pay attention to each site's details when booking.

Each site has its own fire ring, table, and patch of National Park to enjoy. The views from the top of the hill are awesome. There is a hike less than 1/4 mile from within the campground to an arch, and there are several access points to many other arches within 2 miles.

Overall, campground was very clean, as were the bathrooms. The hosts were constantly out working and making the place meet their high standards.

Free camping!

This campground is typically open May-September, weather dependant. Lava Point is at 7,890 feet, off the Kolob Terrace Road. It takes approximately 1 hr and 20 minutes to drive to the campground from the South Entrance of Zion Canyon.

There are 6 primitive campsites available first-come, first-served, pit toilets, and trash cans, but no water. Vehicles longer than 19 feet are not permitted on the road to the campground.

Beautiful views of the Dunes

Piñon Flats is located one mile north of the Visitor Center. Any sites not reserved become available as first-come, first-served. Check out the National Park website for more details on this process.

This camping area has restrooms with sinks, toilets, dishwashing sink, and water spigots are available in all three loops. There is a fire grate and picnic table at each individual site, with multiple grates and tables at group sites. Some sites have trees for shade, while others are more out in the open.

Attractions: When you’re not sand boarding or sledding at the park, I recommend checking out nearby hiking or off roading. Zapata Falls, San Luis Wildlife Area, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Montville Nature Trail, and the Medano Creek Lakes are all great places to check out!

Tip: When the Medano Creek is flowing in May and early June, expect all campsites to be reserved in advanced. This is a very popular time to visit so expect long lines, overflowing parking lots, and most campgrounds within 20 miles to be full. Plan in advance for this time of year or for a better experience, visit on weekdays.


The park has showers for campers, and electric sites as well. There are 2 boat launches which can get busy on the weekends but are free to use if you have a current Wisconsin state Park sticker. The park has a ton of wildlife, nature area, & multiple points to access the water. Great access to awesome fishing!

This site can get noisy from the nearby trains and traffic.

Kayaking the Apostle Islands

Apostle Islands is part of a 21 islands chain at the northern tip of Wisconsin, on Lake Superior. On the mainland, the Lakeshore Trail weaves past cliffs and sea caves. Most of the islands have trails, beaches. Lighthouses can be found on Sand Island and Raspberry Island. The Lucerne shipwreck is just off Long Island.

Amazing place to kayak but you do have to do your research if you aren’t using a kayak guide. A great place to get more information is: National Park Service Website. I recommend using a sea kayak in these waters.

Hiking, camping, and kayaking

Beautiful place to canoe or kayak. The park does have kayak and canoe rentals available for reasonable prices.

Brady’s trail has some of the best views for hiking in the park. Watch for poison ivy on all trails. Nature Center is small but has some interesting information. All exhibits feature local native culture, history, and natural features.

This is a dog friendly state park.