Beth D.

Pro

Minnetonka, MN

Joined July 2020

Matt & I have always been avid campers, with a growing collection of hiking / car camping gear, and what I like to call "homesteading equipment."

the most incredible campsite I have ever stayed at (and it’s free)

Stayed 2 nights – not back-to-back, yet at the same“site”– each night as bookends to a roadtrip into the Black Hills. This bluff-top road overlooking Bloom Basin in the Buffalo Gap Grasslands is pure magic. I counted 40 spots, by counting just the campers – from tents to full on Class A busses (yet there was still more room). The road is rutted in places, but passable for seemingly most vehicles. Zero services (bring the poop tent), but cell reception is excellent!  :)  The grocery store in Wall is also excellent for a stock up on foods. 

Sites are both “on the edge” and “on the other side of the road,” and include both small pull-offs for tenters, but also really big pull-off areas where several big RVs could group camp together. We chose a bluff-side site that had its own access trail down a spine. Wildlife like bighorn sheep ran across the mid-bluffs (video!), cows graze on the lower plains, and coyote packs call to each other at dusk. Moonrise and the most amazing Milky Way views overnight were icing on the (very hot and windy daytime) cake. We will return again.

Gorgeous off-grid Camping on Magical Trout Stream

Extremely rustic and totally gorgeous small camp along the Rock Creek in Montana.  The drive in was beautiful, with a road that passed south from Missoula/Clinton through a small valley with private properties that would be the envy of any aspiring Montana property owner.  Deer, Moose, and other wildlife are all present as you cross into the forest land there.  The road does become a bit less maintained as you go further South.

The campsite is small, but picnic tables, fire pits, and pit toilets are on site.  We did have our bear spray handy, but no bear were spotted.  We only stayed only one night on our road trip West, but have I have recalled this location often as one of the best sites we have ever stayed at.  The magic of watching fly fishermen work their way up the creek has stayed with me for many years.  Total magic in beautiful Montana.

Beautiful Trees and Gorgeous Payette River

We stayed for one night on a road trip West. Nice paved drive on our site, a big groomed flat spot for a tent, a nice fire pit with cooking grate, and sturdy picnic table.  Our site was right on the Payette River, and we enjoyed watching some inflatable boats go by.  Pit toilets were highly acceptable, and we could also wade right into the shallows of the river.  Would stay again!

https://goo.gl/maps/UHhrKVxj7JCRUz6u9

Free Dry Camping on North Fork Flathead River Outside Glacier West Gate

Five Star views with One Star overnight amenities ;) on this perfect Flathead National Forest land along the west side of the North Fork Flathead River.  There is a boat launch on the north side of the Glacier Drive bridge, as well as vault toilets.  Camping on the riverside land south of the bridge on the West side of the river is allowed.  There are some questions out there over how long and where is okay, but there were many other campers.  This was a free site we found on freecampsites.net.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/flathead/recarea/?recid=66248

The road down to the river from the paved road was rather rutted.  I would have felt comfortable in truck/high-clearance teardrop/ offroad van, but would not have attempted it in low clearance car or with a really big towed rig.  We drove our 4Runner down and over the rocky riverbed and found a sandy spot to put the tent up (good luck staking anything in the sand/rock).  Big storms rolled thru that evening, but we stayed in the tent during that so that it didn't blow away.  The toilet is QUITE far by walking distance from the shore, so weighing your choices (for the ladies) is a thing.

The most brilliant part of this site is the free cost, the gorgeous rocks along the riverbed that are the same multi-color stones seen inside Glacier National Park, and the incredible proximity to the park, which is just across the river (though the west entrance is a full 28 miles south).

Free Lakeside Camping Perfect for a Roadtrip Overnight

We tent camped at this rustic park mid-week in August and had the entire place to ourselves!  (Minus the cows).  This park and lake are located about 20 miles East and South of Winnett, and state managed.  Use is free, first come first served, I think.  No cell service, and GPS got us a little lost getting there, but a local helped us out.

There are at least 7 dedicated sites there on the North side of the lake, that each are sort of "pull-though." They would be perhaps too small for anything larger than a teardrop or really short RV, and no power or water hookups.  Each had a nice cement picnic table, and some tables had a really nice roof structure over them.  I think every site had it's own fire ring.  We found some fallen branches to burn, but otherwise no wood on site.  There is a nearby primitive boat launch, and one pit toilet shared by all.  I can't recall if there was a hand pump for water.

The reservoir was fairly low when we were there, and the site was by no means lush, but for a quick overnight it was perfect!  Fish in the lake seemed active in jumping about. We read there are walleye, pike and perch.  The rustic roads surrounding the lake were great for a walk and some night mountain biking.  We also had some free range cows nervously come through the site, which was really novel to us Minnesotans.  Proceed with Care - Cattle at Large!

Busy Family Campground

Stayed one night to ride the nearby OHV trails, some of which turned out to be not intended for off-road motorcycles (only ATVs are allowed on trails in that county).

Quite a maze of a campsite, with a lake near by.  Site 147 is right at one of the entrance, so it was a little busy on that site, although there are multiple entrances.

The management was super nice and helpful.  For $8 they delivered a gator-load of wood to the site, and even offered to unload and stack it.  It was super heavy oak, so didn't burn that well.

No cell service, no towns nearby.  But two local bars that were fairly close.

Quick Overnight near Gorgeous Lake

We stayed here one quick night on a trip driving the Trans Wisconsin ATV Trail. This is one of 2 campgrounds in the Flambeau River State Forest. It was fairly rustic and remote, but had clean vault toilets, hand pump for water, and a nicely wooded sites. We walked to the lake at dusk and enjoyed great views. There is a boat launch, and also a path to a small beach with a swim area.   Not a destination for us, but a great stop.

Read more, check out the map: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/stateforests/flambeauriver/camping.html You can check availability and reserve some of the sites online on the Wisconsin DRN site, or just pay at the pay station. 

Pro Tip:  We found wood close by at the Flambeau Forest Inn, with a pick up and paybox outside. Nice to be able to get wood without needing to go inside.

Great Fourth of July Site for 3 Day Stay

We took site 87 for two separate tents, 2 vehicles, and an EZ-up over the table, and we really enjoyed it.  That site is very private with a nice hook in the clearing in the woods that made us feel isolated from the camp road, yet we were close to the water pump and to the back walkway into the bath house area.  We discovered the single family bathroom on the South side of that bldg early on, and that helped us feel more comfortable using facilities during this physical-distancing time.  

I wondered if the sites closest to the water have any access, but not sure.  The boat dock and beach launch for kayaks is close by car, and we used it twice.  You can also access the water via a 0.5m walk or by bikes on the main car road.  Lovely waters - if you paddle North towards the park shoreline, there are shady places to tie up under white willow trees, or to land and use secluded tie-up points just South of the beach area.  Further North of the beach gets busy with power boats taking off for the big waters of the lake, but worth exploring that shoreline too.  If you paddle south, it's a more calm section with private shorelines but terrific sunset views.