Gia R.
Moorhead, MN
Joined June 2018
born + raised in the midwest. lover of adventure, geocaching + new places.
Lone Tents in a Sea of Campers [May 2019]

We wanted to get a jumpstart on the 2019 camping season so we booked a backpacking site (Friday) and two sites here (Saturday) for the first weekend in May. In hindsight, it may have been a bit ambitious as temperatures dropped to the low 30s at night - but hey, it was retrospective fun!

Our sites, E119 and E120, were pretty standard as far as drive-in sites go, and perhaps a bit expensive ($25). That said, after backpacking the previous night, it was nice to be able to charge our electronic devices. Each site has its own picnic table and fire ring, and ample room to place a tent (or two!). If you're camping outside shoulder season, make sure you stock up on firewood as most of the local convenience stores don't seem to have it in stock. Overall, solid spot - but nothing overtly special.

Beautiful and secluded (McKay Lake)

We started the 2019 camping season early and spent the first weekend in May exploring Itasca State Park. We parked at the trailhead near Lake Josephine and took the Red Pine Trail about three miles to our site. We were happy to find BP5 as quiet and secluded as it appeared on the map, and not nearly as close to other sites as some of the other remote options.

The best part about the site is easily the stunning view of Mckay Lake, where we saw a beautiful sunset and sunrise. We also appreciated the bench, vault toilet, and rope left to hang our bear bag. The clearing fit our two tents easily. Overall, a great site if you're craving some distance from the grind for a while.

Kayenta Campground: A Desert Oasis

While this was a bit more expensive ($43) than we are accustomed to paying for a campsite, we opted to stay here due to the close proximity to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. That said, after spending a night in the campground and exploring the park the following day, we felt it was well-worth the cost. 

Our campsite was private and had its own picnic table and shelter, which included a light and lockable cupboard for food and other items. Each campsite has a fire pit and grill, though we used neither due to the burning ban. The bathrooms were very clean. Kayenta has some spectacular views, especially at sunset. Overall, five stars from us!

Loved our stay on Orcas Island

We spent two nights here in late July and had an awesome stay! The way the campsites are tiered allows for a sense of seclusion even with neighbors on all sides. 

Cell service is minimal at best in the campground and if reception is a must, you may need to drive into the nearby town. Bathrooms were clean and have coin-operated showers. Campground is within short walking distance of Cascade Lake, where boat rentals and a snack shop are nearby. We also enjoyed our hike to Mt. Constitution via the Cascade Lake Trailhead. Overall, five stars from us!

30 Min. From Yellowstone

After spending the day driving between Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, we were anxious to arrive, set up camp and crack a beer. Unfortunately, our plans of an early arrival were delayed significantly due to animals near and or/on the road leaving on the park. Oh well - if you’re going to be stuck in slow traffic, Yellowstone is the place to do it!

From West Yellowstone, the campground is about a half hour drive along the beautiful Hebgen Lake. The camp hosts were very kind and accommodating. They gave us a few tips about tenting in bear country, and advised us to look out for a few moose who inhabit the grounds. 

Our site (C22) was surprisingly quiet and secluded despite being in the middle of the loop. While we didn’t have our own bear locker, there was one nearby which appeared to be communal. Our site was large, with lots of options for tent placement, and a nice picnic table. Don’t forget to pack bug/bear spray!

Brown Lake - Backcountry No. 3

After taking a water taxi to the trailhead, we hiked about seven or eight miles to reach our campsite: B3 on Brown Lake. After passing the B2 site, we were a little bummed to discover our site didn’t have a picnic table - but there’s a large rock and a few logs that worked just fine for seating. We were delighted to find a pit toilet and a bear pole as well. Don’t count on having cell-reception out here, but in all reality – who needs that when you’ve got miles and miles of beautiful views in all directions? Five stars from us!

Note: it’s very important that you reserve a water taxi, as the trailhead is not accessible any other way. It’s about a 10-15 minute boat ride to the trailhead on Cruiser Lake.

View of Lake McDonald is A++

We totally lucked out nabbing a campsite here over the Fourth of July last summer! Site no. 24 was surprisingly secluded, though the backside faced the somewhat heavily-trafficked “Going-To-The-Sun-Road.” Campground provides flush toilets, bear-proof storage lockers, a fire ring, picnic table and beautiful views. 10/10 would recommend a swim in the crystal-clear waters of Lake McDonald.

Rustic, yet beautiful Minnesota State Park

Compared to other Minnesota State Parks, Zippel Bay is a bit more rustic. There are no electrical hookups, and showers are a significant drive from campground. The bathrooms are outhouse style with no running water. The campsites were not quite as secluded as we typically like, but it was quiet, and the views along the lake-shore are well worth the trip.