The campground here was quiet during the week and small in general which we like! There are a few walk-in sites that are accessible by walking down a path about 150-200 ft. Wish it had been a little farther back away from the parking lot and other sites but i think we always wish that. Decent privacy with only a few other campsites back in that same area of wood so that was nice.
The caves were unexpectedly super cool! Neither my husband nor I had ever gone. We weren’t expecting much but wow! Lots to see in a small area. The hike didn’t take too long around and many of the caves were closed (probably due to COVID) but we kindve stuck our heads halfway in and WOw. We want to come back when they’re are more opened. I bet it’s super busy on weekends. Probably would avoid that. There was other hiking to do away from the caves but we didn’t venture too far as it was quite hot and we were running low on water. There’s a little stream that runs kindve out into the prairie lands on one side and we stopped to stick our feet in. Highly recommend that.
Over all, lovely few days out in the woods. We would visit again!
So first of all- I think it’s fair to state before I leave a review that my husband and I prefer primitive and private camping. The fewer people we see while we’re out, the better. We live in a city so when we camp, we want the opposite. If you enjoy RV camping or don’t mind not so Private spots, this is a decent spot to spend the night. If you like primitive/private camping- il fill you in below!
We do tent camping and Saw there were walk-in sites and hike in sites at this campground. Usually walk-in sites are pretty private and dispersed well - atleast where we’ve been before. The 14 “primitive” camping sites were right next to eachothwr with little to no privacy at all. Good tree cover for shade but otherwise you’re basically setting up your tent and area in an open field. That was a little disappointing to us because it wasn’t what we thought we would find. The RV spots also seem super close together but again- we like things spread out so maybe it would be an OK place for some.
The vault toilets near the tent sites were…as clean as vault toilets get! And we did not use tje shower facilities so can’t speak on that.
If we had been just the 2 of us, we would’ve hiked in to do our camping along one of the hiking paths but we were meeting two other friends and were unsure if they would want to hike miles to a spot so we opted for the tent spots just after the RV campground. If you want more privacy for an evening of camping, you’ll need to come with your gear packed up decently enough to hike it out atleast a mile onto the trails. There is camping allowed along the trails as long as you are 100 ft from the trail so that was an option, but in certain spots along the trail it’s challenging to find a clearing (hammocks would be great along the trail). There is also an official primitive camping site halfway through the 12 mile loop of the Red Ceder Trail. We day hiked almost the whole loop but made a Weird little detour so we didn’t get to check these spots out.
We were hoping to find a campsite that- as get as difficulty of accessibility level- was in between a 6 mile hike and the tent spots in the field but there isn’t any official spot like that even tho there’s tons of space and potential for it. Rant over about the campground. Let’s talk about the hiking! The hiking was truly awesome and felt like it balanced out my disappointment with the campground. Doing the whole 12 mile loop of tje Red Cedar Trail was a challenge for us! We really enjoyed it. In some spots, the trail markers are a little confusing, but overall it’s decently marked and the map is somewhat helpful just to kindve know vaguely where you are. The 2nd day, we went back and did about half rhe loop and also checked out the more popular section of the trails back there that include Giant City Nature Trail, Devils Stand Table, and a few others. Very cool rock formations. Pretty busy in the weekend over there but the test of the trails away from that area with those big landmarks was completely deserted and there are some super cool rock formations not on the map at all.
Over all, this was a fun 4 days. We would return and plan on hiking out into the trails to camp for our evenings. If you like privacy around your campfire at night, I can’t recommend the campground.
We visited this spot last summer as a place to stay for 1 night on our way farther north.
We really enjoy tent camping and prefer walk-in/hike in sites so we can have some privacy away from other campers. The campsites were decently dispersed and the ground was nice and grassy so it was pretty comfortable.
We always want more space between campsites, but I think the privacy level was fine. The tent sites are right off the parking lot where the boat ramp is so maybe on a busy weekend it would be a little loud, but overall a nice night for us!
We left in the morning to continue our drive so we didn’t spend much time checking out the hiking trails.
We did however go checkout the beach which wasn’t much to write home about. If I remember correctly, we had to pay a fee to enter. Always happy to support a state park. We just figured since we were already paying to camp there, it wouldn’t cost extra. I’m pretty sure we paid an admission fee and didn’t stay for long. It was across the way and requires a drive instead of a hike to get there.
We stopped in to Wolf Creek State Park later in the day on a Wednesday after trying to stop at a different campground that was closed. We were worried about finding a spot as the sun was going down so we called even though no one usually answers phones at state parks (esp during COVID). The woman that answered was SO nice and I was so happy to hear a voice on the other end. So that’s a huge plus. You can reserve spots online in advance but clearly we did not because we didn’t know we’d be headed there. Same day is first come first serve. We are tent people and love primitive camping in spots where we can really be away from everyone and at least pretend like we’re alone. Rolling in in the dark, we weren’t motivated to checkout the walk-in campsites. And it wasn’t necessary because the area - which if full would’ve been pretty cramped for our taste- was absolutely empty. So we were happy. Many many spots for RVs all next to one another but there was tree cover for some and the possibility of a little bit of privacy but not much in that area.
We had an almost full moon, but otherwise I think the stars would’ve been pretty awesome. The next morning we woke up and took a little hike down to Shelby Resevoir to see what was around. We were at campsite 18 and it was about 10 min hike down over there. Beautiful and big! Maybe good swimming I would assume? Too late in the year for us.
We will definitely be back to checkout more of the primitive/walk-in/hike in sites! Hiking trails look interesting and fun and Eagle Creek State Park is just across the water (that’s the bigger one). The 4 stars was because the sites are pretty close together which- even with RVs- I think people mind- but maybe not? We love to be back in the woods ans I do think there is an option for that. We just didn’t have time to check it out. Will update!
Il start this by saying: we prefer tent camping/primitive/atleast semi isolated spots. If you’re looking for RV camping, this is probably a decent spot so read no further!
We drove in to the Middle Fork Forest Preserve looking for a place to camp same day on our way down to Giant City. We weren’t able to make a reservation less than 5 days in advance online so we tried to call. No one in the office except Th-Sunday and it was Wednesday so we couldn’t get in touch. All good. It happens and it did say that clearly on their website and on voicemail. We needed a place for the night so decided to risk driving over from I57 S. Rolled in around 5 and all the campsites were marked reserved but there were about 3 people set up to camp there. We didn’t end up camping the night 1. Because we didn’t want to be jerks about the reservations although it seemed like no one else would be arriving until at the earliest the next day and 2. All of the campsites were pretty tight together and surfaced with gravel. That’s a personal preference thing. We always look for primitive/walk-in/hike in sites to set up tents/hammocks. This spot was mostly set up for RVs.
The hiking looked pretty lovely and the grounds/facilities looked well kept! Just maybe not our preference.