Brian O.


Chicago, IL

Joined May 2018

Camping since I was a baby, enjoy tenting and my antique canoe. My wife and I try to visit a new place each time we venture out.

We really enjoyed our stay

Sad to hear that camping is no longer available. We had our bikes and hauled our gear in with luggage carts. Hiking was fine but the best was riding along the historic canal path one way, and being able to take the vintage train back.

Beautiful and popular

Over 5,000 acres, featuring two lakes and some truly beautiful trails. It’s best to get reservations early. Twin Valley campground is split into upper and lower. Lower being better for larger RVs while upper has more shaded, cozier sites better for smaller rigs and tents. Cox Hollow campground is more open and may have some pull through spaces. Nearby are the kitschy House on the Rock and Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Taliesin home and studio. Recommend the Jumping Jupiter General store outside the park for all your camping needs.

Hope you have a good boat

It’s a 2 mile drift downriver from the boat launch to the campground. When we were there the river was placid and we had no trouble paddling back when our stay was over. The conditions on the river depends largely on the dam 3 miles up river in Oregon. We have a 17’ canoe, so we had lots of gear and momentum. The sites are primitive, but have tables and fire pits. Since all sites are on the riverbank and there’s a state forest across the river, you really do feel like you’re away from it all. However on the backside of the grounds you can cross over Rt. 2 to the parking lot at the prairie and forest trailheads. If the Rock River seems too big for you, drive upriver 11 to He-Leo Two Rivers Preserve. Easy to miss, but worth it. From there you can check out the shady, winding and intimate Leaf River. Nearby are two other state parks worth exploring; Lowden and White Pines.

A good base camp for the area

The family that runs it are very friendly. It’s a crowded place by virtue of the land. It’s in a canyon behind Mt. Rushmore. A creek and a scenic railroad run past it. All the RV spaces require you to back in, so you’d better be good at it. We had a tent site amongst others in a side canyon surrounded on three sides by very steep hills and rocks. Rather pretty. Did not get to see the cabins, but they are uphill, away from the camp sites. The showers are cramped but clean and there is a heated pool as well. Nearby is the tourist town of Keystone. Also in a canyon, the stores are on top of each other. The best place to eat is the Powder Lodge up the road. All in all, a good place to explore from, but not necessarily to hang out.

Great for fishing

We wanted to stay at Warren Dunes State Park, but I think this discovery was a better choice. A clean and friendly municipal campground on the St. Joseph River. The grounds are mostly open with little shade, but we had a tent site by the river and trees. What impressed me most was that they have a building specifically for cleaning fish, with scales, cutting boards and sinks. Another nice feature is the outdoor sink at the shower & restroom building for campers to wash dishes. As tent campers I wish more places had a set up like that. There’s a large stack of firewood, so it’s easy to get a bundle that’s good and dry. We did go to Warren Dunes for an afternoon. It’s busy and crowded. If you go to the beach, be aware there’s very little shade. North of there is Grand Mere State Park, which is better for hiking. In Berrien Springs, check out Zick’s specialty meats across the river from the camp.

Beautiful park

Had a nice site on loop by the lake, but not on the lake. A short walk downhill though the trees. We were able to tie up our canoe there once we launched it by the concession stand. Facilities were clean and fairly spacious. The trails were lovely but the best part was watching the hummingbirds at the north, marshy end of the lake. We sat and were amazed at how many there were. Also nice is the old schoolhouse museum and the friendly volunteers there. The history of the park is fascinating, many famous historical people once came to the site when it was a Chataqua. Canoeing on the lake is great, and many people were out fishing. Nearby Clinton is an interesting historic town.

First to Review
quiet park in the country

I went to college nearby, so i knew of this park but had never visited. On our way to Wyoming from Chicago, we stopped to stay here overnight.  Other than saying it's a nice place in the woods, in what is otherwise open farmland, I don't have much else I can say.

Friendly, family run campground

 We normally stay in state parks, but for two different years we wanted to attend the Feast of the Hunter's Moon and this was our best option. We have a tent and a canoe, so we really enjoyed the campsites they have by the river.
 The folks who run the place are very nice, one night they even opened up the camp store so we could get tent stakes, which we'd forgotten. They are great at planning activities for the guests and really like to make people feel at home. 
 In addition to the feast, nearby is Tippecanoe State Park and Frank Lloyd Wright's Samara house.

Great for canoeing/ kayaking

Winnebago County does a great job of maintaining their Forest preserves and campgrounds. They charge a fee for non-residents, but it's worth it. Not spectacular, but very pleasant and relaxing. Sites are open, but well spaced. Plenty of shade. Hike-in sites are on the riverbank, about 200 yards from parking.
 The Sugar river is scenic, and easy to paddle up or down, so you can do round trips without having to arrange drop-offs. 
The Pecatonica river is nearby as well. A good day trip is Monroe, Wisconsin, home of the National Cheese Museum and Alp & Dell Chees works, a great place to shop for chees lovers. Van Eyck Orchard is a great stop as well.

bring your hammock

 If you like your hammock, or anything you can string between trees, this is the place. The campground is in a stand of tall lodgepole pines with no lower branches. This means there's little privacy, but lots of shade and trees everywhere.
 There is a nice man-made lake for canoeing/kayaking or fishing. No power boats.
 There is a row of hike-in tent site along the trail connecting the campground to the lake. At the lake, there is a General store and above that, a nice restaurant serving farm to table food and snacks.
 There is also a historic Round barn museum on the grounds. Nice trails that are pretty easy to hike.
 There is one cabin available to rent, which is quite secluded with a view of the lake. Nearby attractions are the Woodland Palace home and park, Historic Bishop Hill town and the Corner Coop Cupcakes & Ice Cream.

prett and well maintai ned campground

 Off the beaten path, most people who come to this area will likely go to the much larger and better known Rock Cut State Park. This is a small forest preserve with lovely picnic areas, a picturesque creek and an outcropping of bluffs ( about 3 storeys tall).
 The campground is well maintained, with the cleanest pit toilets I've ever seen. (also ADA accessible).
 There are about 40 sites, ranging from primitive tent to full size pull-through RV.  30 and 50 amp elec available. Prices based on what you choose. Reservations are recommended a week ahead through the Winnebago County Forest preserve website. There is a small fee for non-residents, but it's worth it.
 we went in November, so I can't say what it's like during peak season. But sites are well spaced, though they are all open to each other visually.
 Nearby are bike trails and the Pecatonica river, with other forest preserves for day trips out of the camp.
 This is one of three campgrounds run by the county. We have stayed at another, Sugar River, and enjoyed it as well.