Last Saturday, in true last-minute fashion, I gave the DNR a call to find a state park with some availability for the night. Fall is officially here and I have to pounce on every opportunity to sleep outside!
I was surprised by how many parks were full but eventually we found a spot at Beaver Creek Valley State Park in Caledonia, Minnesota located in the southeast corner of the state where Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin meet. It was less than a three hour drive from Minneapolis and it had a walk-in campsite. I’ve never tried walk-in camping before and we don’t bring a lot of gear anyway so we thought, “what the heck!”
Beaver Creek Valley is a small state park but it’s quite beautiful and unique. As you drive through corn fields and farms it’s hard to believe a dense forest, filled with winding streams could exists and although it’s small, there are a decent number of hiking trails. We also noticed a lot of groups with fishing gear.
As you drive deeper into the park, the campsites get increasingly more rustic. You have to drive THROUGH the creeks, which is unlike any campground I’ve been to before. At the very end is the parking area and a wheelbarrow to take your gear down a path to reach the walk-in campsites. We camp very minimally, so it only took a few trips to cart the gear and firewood.
We went hiking before sunset. Some of the trails were really steep but we were rewarded with awesome views and my dog Audi had the time of her life jumping in the streams.
We finished the night around the campfire and without the car nearby, we crammed the gear, dog and two adults into my teeny-tiny tent. It was very…cozy haha
It was another perfect sleeping-outside experience and great reminder of how special our State Parks are. No matter how far you have to go, it is always worth it to spend some time in the great outdoors.