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.
We had switched our reservations during our stay using the website. This was done easily with the cell phone service available. We found site 1 during a hike while staying at 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 site 2. The hike is easy as the trails are groomed. Site 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.
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.
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.