Camping Minnesota  by Amy Rea

Camping Minnesota Guide Book

by Amy Rea (Falcon Guides)
Camping Minnesota  by Amy Rea
One of the many wonderful pleasures of spending time in Minnesota is that you always discover something different. You might camp under a stand of old pines, along a lake or river, on stony river bluffs, or in the midst of miles of open prairie. Depending on where you are, you might face more than one of those choices at the same campground, particularly at some of the state parks that straddle different geologies. Other possibilities include being nearly alone at some of the more remote rustic campsites in the national forests, or exploring the virtually untouched wilderness known as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

© 2016 Amy Rea/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Camping Minnesota" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 308.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 308.

Afton State Park takes winter recreation very seriously, and it’s a popular time of year to visit and camp. There are 18 miles of cross- country ski trails and 6 miles of winter hiking and snowshoeing trails, as well as a sledding hill. It’s also next to Afton Alps, a large downhill ski resort. Warmer months bring out hikers to visit the 20 miles of hiking trails or 5 miles of horse trails. Those who enjoy mountain biking can also visit the Afton Alps resort, which has mountain biking trails. The campground’s rustic sites are set apart from one another for maximum privacy, and are all at least a 0.75-mile hike in from the parking lot. The campground is pack- in, pack- out, so plan to haul out your garbage. Pets are allowed.
Hastings, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This city campground is on the northern edge of Aitkin, about an 8-block walk from downtown. It’s small and snug, with access to the Mississippi River for boaters and a walking trail along the river. The spacious, wooded sites are set along the river. Pets are allowed. When people think about “going up to the lake,” what many of them picture is the Brainerd Lakes area. Set in the center of the state and on the main highway to the northern reaches of Bemidji and International Falls, this heavily wooded area has Gull Lake as its primary lake, but it’s not the only lake in the area by any stretch.
Aitkin, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This robust campground near the Eleventh Crow Wing Lake has plenty of recreational opportunities for campers, including swimming, fishing, boating, and easy access to the nearby Heartland Trail. Campers can walk to downtown Akeley and take in live theater during the summer. The Eleventh Crow Wing Lake is one of 11 lakes that flow into the Crow Wing River, which eventually flows into the Mississippi. Stable waters make for great canoeing, and fish in the lake include walleye, northern pike, and bass. Pets are allowed.
Akeley, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This is the largest municipal campground in Minnesota, with 219 acres, most of which is heavily wooded, and has been called the “little Yellowstone of Minnesota” because of its dramatic natural vistas. The Minnesota DNR manages a trout stream within the park. There’s a small animal and petting zoo, as well as 4 miles of hiking trails that go along the Redwood River and to the waterfalls and scenic overlooks. Campsites are well spaced, and most are wooded, some heavily. Pets are allowed.
Redwood Falls, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Henderson is a charming small town tucked into a hillside near the Minnesota River. The campground is an easy walk to several local historic sites, including the Sibley County Historical Museum. It’s also close to the Minnesota River Levee, a historic site and public boat landing, and Ney Nature Center, which also has public access to the Minnesota River. The campsites are fairly close together, but most have at least 1 tree. Pets are allowed.
Henderson, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This city park doesn’t offer a full nature experience, although it is on the Chippewa River, but it does have some unusual recreational opportunities in or adjacent to the park. There’s a mini golf course on- site and the original Benson schoolhouse, now a historic building. The park itself is historic, as it’s the site of the 1838 Chippewa ambush of the Sioux. Right across the river is the Benson Aquatic Center, with pools and waterslides, and the Benson Golf Club, an 18-hole course. There are paved trails from the campground out along the river. Campsites are reasonably spaced with trees, and most are close to the river. Pets are not allowed.
Benson, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Not far from Brown Park and Brown Park South is this park and campground, located on the shores of Pearl Lake, where fishing is popular. There’s a wooden observation tower near the lake that gives climbers a nice overview of both the lake and the campground. Several of the sites have lake views and spacious settings, although not many are wooded. Pets are allowed.
Jackson, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This campground on the Crow Wing River Canoe Route is at the beginning of the Butterfield Rapids, which is perhaps an exaggeration. The river has some areas of eddying but no heavy- duty rapids, which makes it a good choice for beginning canoers and kayakers. There are also numerous trails for hiking nearby. The campsites are heavily wooded and private. Pets are allowed. Minnesota may be best known for its northeast corner along Lake Superior, and certainly that’s a strikingly beautiful place, but the northwest part of the state, while very different in terrain and feel, has great beauty as well. Even better, it has excellent outdoor recreational opportunities.
Sebeka, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Located within Sand Dunes State Forest, this camp is heavily used by horse enthusiasts because of its horse sites and trails. There are also 3 miles of hiking trails that wind through the forest and to the lake, which can be fished for northern pike and largemouth bass. The lake also has a nice sandy swimming beach. (Note: The forest is open to hunters, so take precautions if camping during hunting season.) The campsites are rustic, but not overly crowded, except for the horse sites, which fill up quickly during the summer. Pets are allowed.
Zimmerman, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Located within Kabetogama State Forest, Ash River Campground is set along the Ash River and acts as a gateway to Voyageurs National Park. It’s well known for its fishing, with plenty of walleye, crappie, northern pike, and smallmouth bass. The river is also a good spot for some whitewater paddling, although it should be noted that many canoers and kayakers, who normally would paddle on through, will stop to camp when the waters become too rough. Hiking trails wind throughout the campground’s many pine trees. This is a popular summer park, and because they don’t take reservations, your best bet is to arrive as early as possible, or travel midweek. Pets are allowed.
Orr, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This campground is located next to Lake Lomond, a good source of walleye, bluegill, and northern pike. There’s a sizable swimming beach that’s roped off from boaters, with a shallow area additionally roped off for the youngest swimmers. The campground’s location within the city park makes it feel more rural than a city park might otherwise feel, but still provides easy walking distance to shops and cafes. A golf course is a short drive away, as are several other good fishing lakes. Pets are allowed.
Bagley, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Located within Land O’Lakes State Forest, you might expect a primitive campground with only 2 sites to be peaceful, but during the summer this is an ATV enthusiast’s paradise, due to the adjacent Moose River ATV Trail. Summer weekends can be particularly busy in the area. That said, off- peak visits will find the sites offer more serene forested camping experiences. The forest itself offers ample hiking and mountain biking trails, which are used for cross- country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Pets are allowed.
Outing, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This large park west of Minneapolis has a robust lineup of activities year- round, including winter camping (which must be reserved well in advance). There are all kinds of trails—hiking, biking (regular and mountain), horse riding, skijoring, and cross-country skiing. The Lake Independence Regional Trail connects Baker Park with the Crow-Hassan Park Reserve and the Luce Line State Trail via paved trail. Muskie, northern pike, bass, and walleye can be caught in the many lakes within the reserve. There’s even a golf course in the park. The campsites are mostly along Lake Independence and sit fairly close together, but have a good number of trees for shade and privacy. Pets are allowed.
Maple Plain, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
The terrain in this park is dramatic, with waterfalls, rivers and rapids, an ice cave, and the ruins of a historic quarry. There are 17 miles of hiking trails that traverse the park along the Kettle River and waterfalls. There’s also a short bike trail that connects with the Willard Munger State Trail, 160 miles of both paved and natural multiuse trails. There are cross-country ski trails in the winter, as well as snowmobile trails that also connect to the Munger Trail. The Kettle River is a turbulent river, offering some challenging paddling for canoers and kayakers. The campground is situated on the Wolf Creek Trail, which provides easy access to the other park trails. The campsites are somewhat snug, but with the amount of recreation offered, most campers won’t spend the day at the campsite anyway. Pets are allowed.
Sandstone, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Barsness Park Campground is on the shores of Lake Minnewaska in Barsness Park, which has a golf course on both sides. The campground itself feels much more remote than that sounds, as the park is a heavily wooded area that creates a feeling of seclusion, even though the campsites are fairly close together. There are extensive hiking trails throughout the woods. Lake Minnewaska is a sizable lake, about 9 miles long, and the campground has access to a good swimming beach. The lake is known for its bass, northern pike, walleye, and crappie populations. Pets are allowed.
Glenwood, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This county park has a newish disc golf course, and it’s also home to the Eagle Lake Observatory, the main outpost for the Minnesota Astronomical Society. This observatory is actually composed of 3 separate facilities with a variety of telescopes, and there are public programs and “star parties.” Four miles of walking trails take hikers through woods and prairie. During the summer, weekly family programming is offered, and the season closes each year with a chili cook- off. Campsites are fairly close together. Pets are allowed.
Norwood Young America, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This beautiful park is not far from the Boundary Waters, and its scenery is similar, with enormous stands of trees and pristine lakes. Fishing for walleye, bass, crappie, and trout is good here. Wildlife sightings are frequent, including eagles, wolves, moose, and black bears. There are 17 miles of hiking trails, some of which connect with the Taconite State Trail, a 145-mile trail from Ely to Grand Rapids, for great biking and hiking in the summer and cross- country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. There are regular naturalist programs during the warm months. The campsites are generously spaced and set into heavily wooded areas for a good amount of privacy. Pets are allowed.
Tower, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Located within George Washington State Forest and on the northern shore of Bear Lake, this campground is rustic but has several recreational amenities. The lake is a good source for walleye and crappie, and there’s a swimming beach. In the winter there are groomed snowmobile trails. The forest itself has extensive hiking and mountain biking trails and Class I and II ATV trails. (Note: The forest is open to hunters, so take precautions if camping during hunting season.) The sites are generously spaced, with most offering a good deal of privacy. Pets are allowed.
Nashwauk, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
Beaver Creek is fed from the “Big Spring,” and the streams are full of brown and brook trout. This is a very colorful park, full of wildflowers in the spring and brilliantly colored autumn leaves in the fall. There are 8 miles of hiking trails that wander through the forest and along the creek, including a trail from the RV campground. Bird- watchers come from miles around each year to spy Acadian flycatchers and Louisiana waterthrush. (Note: This is one area in the state where timber rattlesnakes are occasionally observed. If you see one, leave it alone—it likely will not bother you if you don’t bother it.) While no trails are groomed in winter, you can still find cross- country skiers blazing their own trails. RV sites are somewhat close together, but are situated near Beaver Creek, while the tent and cart- in sites allow more privacy. Pets are allowed.
Caledonia, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
This 302-acre park is divided into two segments, with horse campgrounds along the north side of the park and rustic campgrounds on the south end, along Beaver Creek. Both parts of the park offer scenic lookouts, wooded ravines, and a chance to enjoy undisturbed wilderness. The park is along the Tatanka Bluffs corridor, which has a myriad of recreational offerings too, including canoeing and kayaking on the Minnesota, Redwood, and Cottonwood Rivers, historic sites, horse riding, and wildlife viewing and bird watching. Campsites are reasonably private. Pets are allowed.
Olivia, MN - Campgrounds - Trail Length:

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