Annie V.

Accokeek, MD

Joined June 2020

MN —> SD —> NorCAL —> GA —> MI —> AZ —> SoCAL —> MD

Private Sites & Incredible Access

I stayed here for two nights prior to the launch of a solo SUP trip on what can be called the East Bearskin Loop of 9 lakes and 9 portages back to the launch just outside this campground. I pulled up in late morning on a Thursday and had no trouble snagging a decent first-come spot. I think it was #9. Anyway, the spots are in the trees and very private. The whole campground has that way up north feel and you can launch your canoe, paddle board, or kayak from either the boat launch or the other end of the campground. Just a wonderful experience. But remember—you’ll be way out there a fair pace up the Gunflint, so don’t expect to have any amenities close by to purchase. Bring everything you need and just have fun!

About what you’d expect

Only stopped here for the night to catch a rest so cannot speak to the trails or lakes. The place was nice enough at first glance that I’ll be back to check all those things out if I’m ever around these parts again. Would I make a many-hours-out-of-my-way detour for this place? Maybe… if the online booking looked like the park campground wouldn’t be terribly booked, because the sites are pretty jammed in there and close together, so you’d want to be there when it is less busy.

There were very cute friendly cats that came out at night to comb my site to see if there were any foodstuffs to be had. I prefer them over rodents, but missed the overly-friendly raccoons I’m used to :)

Park is Great, Campsites Suck!

Stayed here in the “primitive” camp. You are basically staying with your neighbors in small cleared areas where you can see everything everyone else is doing and if you have one of the sites nearer to the parking areas, you will have people walking through your campsite all day and night from the ones in the rear. From what I saw, the electric sites in the main campground aren’t much better. I mean this is a midwestern state park camping experience for sure. If you’re expecting any amount of privacy, think again.

The lake is pretty beautiful. The trails are well marked and the horse trails go on for miles and miles so if you have horses this is a great place to trail ride and if you’re a hiker who is not afraid of horses, you can always enjoy the equestrian trails for some serious mileage!

Mice, Mice, & More Mice!!!

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!!!!

Nice Stop Along the Way

I came out of the BWCA near Grand Marais late in the day and so wanted to stop somewhere to camp as I headed south before dark. There were plenty of spots available online at this little park. It was clean and the campsites were fine—could see my neighbors without much tree cover though.

If the weather had been better when I woke up I would have hiked some trails or paddled the lake. Next time!

Best Memories of My Childhood

I’m probably a little biased. My parents started coming to this park to ride horses in the 70s. We spent at least 3wks every year here when I was a kid trail riding, hiking, even tubing down the Root River (there’s no commercial tubing available and you have to get up and walk through rocky shallow spots, so it isn’t ideal for this, but tell my 10yr old self that).

I stayed here recently in the “people campground.” I hiked 12mi in one day and had a great time. The campsite itself was great—privacy and no loud neighbors. I always make sure to stay in spots without electric if possible to escape the culture and noise that accompanies RV camping. Site #4 isn’t very level, but it backs up to the river and the access trail out of the campground. Forestville never disappoints me—I even randomly ran into my own uncle while hiking!

Quiet with Plenty of Tree Cover

I stayed in the Bluewater Bay campground because after a terrible stay at a state park in Illinois that didn’t have separate spaces for RVers and tent campers, the fact that Bluewater Bay doesn’t have electric was all I needed to know. I was not disappointed. I stayed on a Sunday and Monday night in July and it was very very quiet and even when most the campsites filled up the second day, the fact that there’s dense bush and tree cover between sites means you still feel some sense of solitude. The bugs were bad—bring spray and coils to burn.

The best part about Mirror Lake State Park is the lake itself. I SUP and it was a truly magical lake for a few hours paddle early on a Monday morning. I SUP’d Devil’s Lake the next day and just kept comparing the two—Mirror Lake feels secluded and with its calm waters and cool canyons, this is easily one of the coolest lakes I’ve ever SUP’d. Devil’s Lake is cool, but it was crowded and less magical by far.