Jennifer H.

Pro

Oakdale, MN

Joined July 2017

Bears! Site 17

Drive in site with a designated parking spot. Same parking area and walk in trail as site 15 and 16. Last site of three on the small path. Very unique and very large. You can hear your neighbors but there is more coverage between them than the rest. There are a few steep built in steps to get up to this site, but the main area is very flat. Cliff front might not be small kid friendly, but there is a path down to the water. Stunning view. There is good tree coverage to put a tarp up, but also to see the stars. It can get windy, so bring the good tent stakes. The site has plenty of rocks to pound them in place. There is more than one space to put a tent.

We had a bear visit us about 8:30 after we had put the fire out in a very windy night. He has walked up from the water using the area between site 17 and 16. These three sites are near a dumpster, you can hear the lid close occasionally and I assume this was the bears motivation. Keep you food, trash, and grey water taken care of. You will have visitors.

. Drinking water is next to the bathrooms, which is about 300 feet away. This site has a waterfront view of one of the Saganaga Lake coves. You can walk your way down to the water. Might not be little kid friendly, but the water and view are beautiful. This site has a ground inset fire pit with grate and picnic table, but no bear box. You will need a bear bag or put your food in your vehicle. There are bears.

Site 16

Drive in site with a designated parking spot. Same parking area and walk in trail as site 15 and 17. Second of three on the small path. Very small and no privacy. You can see straight to the main path and hear everyone. There is Medium coverage between site 17 and 15.

Drinking water is next to the bathrooms, which is about 300 feet away. This site has a waterfront view of one of the Saganaga Lake coves. You can walk your way down to the water. Might not be little kid friendly, but the water and view are beautiful. This site has a ground inset fire pit with grate and picnic table, but no bear box. You will need a bear bag or put your food in your vehicle. There are bears.

Site 15

Drive in site with a designated parking spot. Same parking area and walk in trail as site 16 and 17. First site of three on the small path. Good size, but very little privacy. The neighboring site 14, has a few trees between, but you can see through and hear everything.

Drinking water is next to the bathrooms, which is about 300 feet away. This site has a waterfront view of one of the Saganaga Lake coves. You can walk your way down to the water. Might not be little kid friendly, but the water and view are beautiful. This site has a ground inset fire pit with grate and picnic table, but no bear box. You will need a bear bag or put your food in your vehicle. There are bears.

Not a campground

It is someone’s driveway. A residential property off of the highway. There are no signs for camping or any indications that is this is other than a residential home.

Backpack site 3

Always our favorite. October 7-9. Trails are groomed and you can take the Gitchi-Gimi to get there also. It has a pit toilet with a privacy barrier, bear box, Fire pit with grate, tent pad, and half picnic table. It is beach front as well. The water is so fresh and clean. High 60s during the day and low 40s to mid 30s at night. The lake keeps this area warmer later than inland. You can hear highway traffic but the view is stunning. The site drops down from the trail but is visible. This site is pretty open to the elements, but you can see the site. We always bring a tarp for the rain and sun. The main office has wood for sale, but it’s too far to hike it in. Great for cart in sites. The main bathrooms are closed this time of year, but they have showers. There is a trail bathroom that is open year round at the beginning of the SplitRock campground parking. In the winter, you will want to use the Pebbles Beach Parking lot because they do not plow the campground parking if it snows.

Site cart in G

Love this park. Great cart in sites. Convenient rest stop office. You will need to grab wood and with some sites, like G, waterfront is not easily accessible or kid friendly. Site G is an extremely steep climb down. We had to harness the dogs and it took two of us to lower them down. That being said, it has a private beach when you get down. Bring the bucket and the water filter. This site is fully covered. Plenty of tree coverage against the lake and elements. It has a bear box, table, and fire pit. The bathroom is close.

New groomed backpack trails

Site 27. This is a river landscape. Spiders and snakes..oh my. The parking lot is paved and has a dumpster. This is also where the nature center is. There are often music festivals and family events here. It is also next to Afton Ski resort. This park has a lot of beautiful prairie landscape with some temperate forest features. Wildflowers, shrubs, fungi, evergreens, and deciduous trees. Backpacking to the top hill sites has gotten easier as the park has curved the new wide groomed and wood chipped trail to spiral around the hill instead of a straight climb. There is a solar panel generated drinking water pump at the top and a honor system fire wood station. There is a bathroom, but not super close to this site. This site has a fire pit with grate and table but no bear box. This site does have a clear view to the trail and the site next to it, but it is set back a little bit. I can hear the joggers along the trail that wraps around the site. The sites are mapped out on a wide open prairie ground with some sites tucked back in the trees along the trail. There is not a water front view, but there is plenty of wildlife. The dear and flowers are beautiful. There is partial tree covering but we did bring a tarp for the rain.

Inland from Superior

Site 3. Summer 2020. The parking lot can be very full. It does have a bathroom in the lot. The hike in is moderate to hard. Not easy for children if they are carrying things. You cannot maneuver coolers and things like that on the trail. Watch your step. Site three drops down to the creek. It is waterfront and very beautiful. You can hear the falls. The site is very large. It is creek front and bring your water filter. There is a non sheltered pit toilet within walking distance back up towards the trail. The site has a grate, but no table or bear box. It is beautiful. It has a lot of tree coverage. This is a buggy area in the summer. You can hear the trail hikers and somewhat see them but this site is mostly private.

Winter Camping!

I’ve stayed at Site 1 twice in the winter. We did manage to hike in on a blizzard night in November of 2019, but the park office made sure we were ok. The park office has limited hours so be prepared with firewood ahead of time. They do not plow the campground parking lot in the winter, but they do plow down to the pebble beach lot. You can snowshoe, hike, or toboggan in. The back trail off Of pebble beach parking is groomed and has views of the light house and nature center. There is a dumpster and a bathroom that is open. There is another bathroom off of the campground parking lot that I was able to use, but you will need to have snow shoes. Camping at site 1 in the winter is amazing. Perfect views of the lake and lighthouse. The site is protected from the lake by a large hill that has a bench at the top. The site has a picnic table, bear box, and grate. During the summer, the site would have a lot of noise from the parking lot and hiking traffic. In the winter, there are a lot of photographers. There are coyotes in the winter.

Crazy Bay backpack site 3

Backpack site 3 is worth the hike. I have camped here at least 10 times ranging in all times of the year. The lake effects the weather a lot, so be prepared. In the summer there are a lot of bugs, in spring, fall, and winter beware of the winds off the lake. There are many ways to get there. You can take the side road paved trail if you are a beginner but park trails are groomed and the stairs are maintained. The hiking views are beautiful and it is a very moderate hike. The site is off off the trail, but it is also on a private bay. The site entrance drops down to the site. There is a fair amount of tree coverage. There are a few trees between the site and the beach. The beach has large rocks but is relatively flat for water access, but bring a water filter. There is not a supply for a drinking water, but this site does have a partially sheltered latrine. It has a partial picnic table and a fire pit with grate. The tent pad is relatively flat and groomed with wood chips. The views are spectacular. You are right of hwy 61. Anticipate traffic noise though about 10pm. You are allowed to collect dead and down wood from these sites and trails.

On the Gunflint

Site 4 September 2-4, 2020. This is another great drive in site. We stayed at site 3 last time. This site is very level with the same class 5 gravel. Great to keep it dry, but we use snow peak stakes, especially for the high winded storms of the north. The saplings are young as there was a fire in 2013. It is a very open site with an open view of the lake and very big for groups. There is a privacy barrier between site 3 and 4, but you can still hear your neighbors. There is a steep water access point for canoes and kayaks within the site. There is a full picnic table and fire pit. There is a bathroom and water spigot within a very short distance. Close to the Trail Center if you need anything.

End of the Road part 2

September 15-18. Campsite 23 & 22. The leaves have started to change and it dips down so freezing at night. Campsite 23 requires you to park along the road. You can block the entrance to your site with the car for more privacy. A few steps lead to the site. There are some trees that block the road, but not many. The site has a lot of tree coverage on the lake side, but is also on a cliff. Warning for small children and dogs. You can take a small path with in the site to a cliff top to see the view of the lake. There is also a somewhat steep path down to the water front. There is a flat water front at the bottom. A lot of wildlife and beautiful views. There is a table, in-ground fire pit and grate, and there is plenty of space. Multiple options for tent placement. The ground is even and the bathroom is a very short walk along the same road. The water spigot is directly across from this site.

End of the road on the Gunflint

The views are wonderful. Campsite 22. September 2-5, 2020. This particular campsite has zero privacy. A very tall cliff with no guard. No child friendly. You can see every part of your site from the parking culdasac. You can hear your neighbors and see through the trees towards campsite 21. Very very little tree coverage as far as exposure to win and sun. Uneven ground and It is extremely small. It is directly next the latrine. The water access is across the parking lot, about 50feet. The parking lot is for campsite 21&22, but very very frequently people use it as a turnaround for the end of the Gunflint Trail. A lot of people! A lot of people stop and use it as a public bathroom. It has a picnic table. It has a fire pit with grate. If you are feeling up for it, there is a steep drop down to put your canoe or kayak into the water. This site overlooks a bay of Seagull Lake. You can hear waterfalls and see a lot of wildlife. No cell service. The view of the stars is unobstructed at night. I do not hear any highway traffic.

Site 3 on the water Lovely Lake for canoeing

A fire in 2007 hasn’t stopped this lake on the Gunflint Trail from its beauty, and it's thriving. The saplings are dense, but consider this when needing tie-outs for things.

Site 3 is reservable and on water. It is a steep climb down, but the ”lake access” launch is right next door for canoes. Carry down only. Dense saplings divide 3 and 4 as well as 3 from the launch. You cannot see through, but you can hear your neighbors.

Close and convenient drinking water, double pit toilets, and dumpster. The site has a fire pit with a grate and a picnic table. Site 3 has a long driveway for drive-up camping. Site 4 is a short driveway. Site 3 has a fair amount of room of even class 5 for RVs and trucks. It has wood bumpers before the picnic area. There is room on the class 5 for a tent pad, but there is another smaller space for an additional tent. The class 5 is excellent for staking down and draining water for rain. Bring something to hammer in stakes.

Lots of turtles laying eggs, foxes, dragonflies, fireflies, and beavers at work. It is still really full of pest bugs too.

The Trail Center is right down the road if you need anything. Groceries, fuel (double price), bar food, camp gear, and dehydrated meals.

Cart J Easy cart-in with space

We usually stay here 3 or more times a year. It’s nice to get a shoreline site. Not all have access to the shore. J has a high rock front after the tree break. Easy enough to harvest water from a bucket. At the end of the site entry there is a beach access trail. You might see extra traffic at the end of your trail. It is a long trail, so that helps. There is an outhouse at the end of K and J trail. You have to cart in wood as well. Comes equipped with picnic table, fire pit, and bear box. The main office has wood and it is also a rest station. Small coffee shop and park goods. Very adequate restrooms and a lounge area.

Convenient and right on Lake Superior

Site H. One of my favorite parks to cart into. The site office is very big and accommodating. There is a small gift shop with coffee and small conveniences. The carts are usually busted. Be prepared for that.  The trails are groomed. You will need to hike in wood and water. Unless you have site J or K, the other sites are not beach level. Site H is visible from the trail. People can see everything and you can see them. It is close to the bathroom. Site H has a concrete slab that the picnic table rests on. There are metal railings that are broken. Do not lean on them. There are a few wood steps that lead closer to the cliff edge. There is some flat surface. I placed my tarp and netting here. There is a beautiful view towards the south west. This is not the tent pad.  There is enough tree coverage for rain and wind. You can still see the stars. The cart out and in is about 20 minutes. Very easy. You can not see between sites, which is nice. I would still stay here again.

Backpack site 1 Split Rock in Novembe

We had switched our reservations during our stay using the website. This was done easily with the cell phone service available. We found backpack site 1 during a hike while staying at backpack site 2. The reason we chose to move was that it was a particularly cold and windy week in November. This was making it hard to obtain water for filtering at the rocky water front at backpack site 2. The hike is easy as the trails are groomed. Site backpack 1 is right off the beach. Obtaining water is easy in all of the seasons. There is a water break to prevent the waves. Site 1 is considerable more sheltered with trees. This was great for fire wood and places to put up the tarp for wind break. There is a convenient half bench and table top. There is log seating and a fire ring with a swinging grate. There is a cleared path to the latrine. It is guarded on three sides with a well built pedestal. The view is amazing. There is a small path that takes you to a clearing on the rock cliff to over see the beach bay area. Passing hikers will invade your site if you do not clip up your reservation sheet. There is not a place to do so for this site so I recommend you bring a rubber binder or something to adhere it to the post. During the summer months I can imagine there is a lot of traffic with this site being so close to the beach. We went the first week of November. A lot of the hiking trails were being used for hunting. We didn't see the post until we were there. Hiking was limited to the campgrounds.

Site 2 @ Split Rock in November

The reservations were made online with ease. We were booked for November 5th of 2017. Parking lot was convenient, but the restrooms were closed. We did have a mouse in the car when we returned eating a bag of popcorn I had left. There were an adequate amount of carts for the cart in sites. The trails are groomed regularly. There were latrines houses along the way. The backpack in hike in to site 2 is all of 1.25 miles I believe. There is a stairway leading down to the beach that is in great condition. Campsite 2 is a large site on the most south side of the property. It is on a hill above the water. There are a few trees at the edge of your hill cliff area for a bit of a wind break, but not much. The view is amazing. Down the hill to the very rock water front you have access to an abundance of clean water. The waves can come crashing in on you. In most of the seasons this is very doable. When the rocks begin to freeze in November you will slip into the cold water. There is not an easy way to go about it. A pole attachment for your water bucket could work. There is a bear box, but I would warn you of the mice. The latrine is guarded on three sides and has a well build pedestal. There is a pad for your tent and trees for your hammock. There is no hiding from the wind in this large clearing of a campsite. There is a half wood bench with table top. This is very convenient. The fire pit has a metal grate to swing over the top with a few large logs for seating. The hike is easy and the view is amazing. It is mostly tall grass around you, but there is plenty of firewood in the surrounding area.

Campsite 1.

The drive is on a beautiful dirt road off a small town called Finland, MN. The website and parking lot are pretty straight forward. There is a water source and restroom near the parking lot. There is a guide to which trail you should take to hike to your site. The trail maps can be tricky. I recommend a paper map ahead of time. The cell service is non existent. The website even boast river view panoramic photos at certain points on the Manitou River. You can choose from many campsites. Reservations are done online or by phone. They are pack in and out sites only. This hike is difficult. It's like hiking a steep rocky dried creek bed. Down hill and up hill. Large roots, trees, and some man made steps. Large moose prints were seen. Please pack your bear bells and be knowledgable in situations of crossing wildlife. The website states that certain sites are "river front". Campsite 1 is the farthest north and last campsite. It was chosen so we would not see anyone hiking by. They do push back most campsites from the trail. This one is a ways from the trail. Unfortunately after and intense hike in not only were we not river front the hike down to get water was not in the least user friendly. Three times a day for water and back up the steep large hill was not what was expected from a "river front" site. The place is beautiful and does supply a latrine, log bench, and fire pit with metal grill grate. The tall trees limit star gazing. August was a crazy month for the mosquitos. A bug shirt is recommended during hiking and on site. The trails are thick.

Another down fall to Campsite 1 is after hiking north all the way in you are about 1/4 mile from the main road (7) that wraps around north of you. You can hear cars driving by. In fact there is a small trail that leads straight to the dirt road and we hiked it out to the flat dirt road for an easy hike back to the car. It takes less than 10 minutes to the road. Then a 1.5 mile dirt flat road hike back to the car. Whats the point?

We did have an opportunity to follow the map to an awesome overlook and to see other sites. The trails are remote and beautiful. The river has amazing views of the falls. We will be staying at Campsite 4 next time. Its on the river, but unfortunately is also visible from the trail. Site 4 had a close latrine, direct access to clean running river water, pit, and a view to the falls.

There is access to the Superior Hiking Trail from this state park.