Was hear earlier in summer—not in October as review date states.
Easy 1.5-2 mile hike in. Bring big spray as mosquitos can be bad
There is a bear locker, pit toilet, and a shelter on site. This site is very private.
There is no real way to get down to the pond at the bottom of the camp site.
The trails here are nice for hiking but they aren’t extensive and won’t keep you entertained long. The real reason to come here is for water sports on the main lake. Unfortunately during Covid the rentals weren’t available.
Bring a saw to get firewood—you don’t want to lug the wood on with ya.
Walk-in site 6 is close to parking (and to the RVs/pop ups/ etc though there are plenty of woods (even in autumn) to feel private . sites 7&8 are further back in the woods, and I would def reserve one on the future.
When I got there were warnings on the walk-in site parking signs, as well as on the campsite picnic tables, warning the black bears had been seen in the campsites. So use the lockers or put all food, cooking utensils, and hygiene products in your car.
There is about toilet at the end of the trail, and is clean-ish.
Trailheads are only minutes walk away.
I don’t know if this is specifically Covid related, but the campsite was supposed to be full, but over half the sites were empty. There is no one working at the welcome center during Covid, so you must reserve on the DNR website. Also, bring cash for firewood.
I do know that because of covid a lot more people are visiting the parks. The main trails along the river were packed! I’m talking multiple larger groups (some as big as 10 people); the trailhead parking lot by Baptism River campsite was full by 8 am, and by noon people were parked a 1/4 mile down the road. When I left at 2 pm, every parking lot was full and people were parked along side Hwy 61. I also noticed more garbage/litter along the river than ever. So—my suggestion is to camp here and stay away from the river.
I find writing a review for this state park and campground to be quite difficult. The park itself is great. It’s very beautiful, very serene, and not crowded. There’s a little more action around the rock climbing area, and the play area can get quite rowdy with local children as well as campers.
My problem totally lies with the campsite. First and foremost all of the campsites are extremely cramped and extremely open. Even the ones that look like they are hidden in trees and bush, are actually mere feet away from the next campsite. And therefore there really is no privacy or feeling like you’re out in the country.
This campsite, as a whole, from what I could tell on my visit, is used by people whose primary objective is to sit outside with their friends and drink. This is not a campsite to serve people who are coming primarily to enjoy the park. This means that there are a lot of screaming children, rowdy late night conversations, and more than a few misbehaved pooches (the dog in the site next to me —to my right by 20 ft—was territorial and growled at everyone who walked past).
I would come here again to enjoy the park, but I definitely would not camp here again. It felt more like a Boy Scout jamboree, but with adults and alcohol.
My friends and I have mixed feelings about this place. We thought it was beautiful. Loved our quick hikes (don’t need more than 2.5 hours here to hike a lot of the trails).
We camped one night here at the cart in campsites. Sites were nice with fire pits , nearby vault toilets (2 of them and super clean with TP and hand sanitizer), and an easy path to get to and from car. Site 4 recently had all the trees cut down.
However, two thirds of us slept no more than 4 hours total. Highway noise from the highway running along the river and from I-90 (while not really noticeable during the day) is ridiculously loud at night. [I live on the main street through Uptown Minneapolis—I can sleep through a lot of traffic noise—but this was loud!] Added to this were the half dozen trains that ran through the night (horns going off too) AND the light aircraft flying into Lacrosse airport (which is only 10-15 mins away).
I would never camp here again. Which is a shame because the campsites are great.