Camden State Park is a beautiful getaway on the prairies of southwestern Minnesota. Home to varied terrain such as rolling grasslands, hilly forests, the Pinewood River, lakes, and ponds, you’ll be thankful that the park has miles of trails to help you explore it all.
Created in 1935, much of the park’s infrastructure was built by the Veterans Civilian Corps and the Works Progress Administration during the Depression. Thirteen remaining buildings and structures on the property now have National Register of Historic Places status.
Camden is a treat in all seasons. In spring, marvel at abundant wildflowers such as white trillium, trout lilies, bloodroot and violets. To beat summer’s heat, splash and paddle in the swimming pond or the beach at Brawner’s Lake. As the woods burst with autumn colors, put on your waders and commune with the trout in Pinewood River. And in winter, tow the snowmobile or strap on your snowshoes to explore the miles of groomed trails to historic ruins or to enjoy the snow-covered silence.
Boasting 80 drive-in sites (47 with electric hookups), great facilities, and easy access to activities, RV camping at Camden State Park is a pleasant and restorative experience.
Camden State Park is located in the southwestern Minnesota, about one and a half hours from Sioux Falls, SD and three hours from Minneapolis. The next biggest town is Marshall, MN, which lies about ten miles away, off of State Highway 23.
Within the park, the 80 sites can fit 50-foot rigs, and seven of those can also manage 60-footers (in drive-through spots). There are no reports of the roads within the park being too difficult for the 60-foot RVs, although, if you have any doubts, call ahead to get info on specific spots.
With spacious lots divided by lots of trees, camping at Camden State Park is a relaxing and enjoyable experience. All spaces come equipped with fire pits and picnic tables.
Between its two campgrounds, Camden offers 80 sites, out of which 47 have electric hookup. These sites can accommodate rigs of between 50-60 feet - the 60-foot ones are pull-through only and there are only 7 of them.
The Upper Campground is home to newer facilities and generally has fewer mosquitoes, while the Lower Campground has easier access to the trails and swimming opportunities. Bring earplugs, because the park lies just across the river from a noisy train that runs even in the middle of the night.
Bathrooms throughout the park are clean and well-maintained, however flush toilets, showers, and the dump station are only available from mid-May through mid-October.
Reservations can be made up to a year in advance and include a fee for making them online or by phone, and are free if made the day-of.
Camden State Park has the fortunate location of being right on the Redwood River and Brawner’s Lake. On their way into the park, visitors can rent canoes, kayaks, or stand-up paddle boards (also called “SUP boards”) from the rental shop by the park entrance. For reasonable rates, you’ll have the tools to explore these peaceful bodies of water and enjoy the park’s beauty from a new angle.
Visitors can’t find enough good things to say about the lovely water at Camden. First, there’s the Redwood River running through the park which offers the consistent opportunity to cool down with a dip as it follows some of the hiking trails. Then, there’s a pretty sand beach at Brawner’s Lake and the spring-fed swimming pond. This pond and a beautiful bath house built from local stone were both constructed around 1935, when the park was first founded.
Camden State Park is a guaranteed great day of fishing. Drop a line at the fishing pier and try for bluegill or bass at Brawner Lake. If you didn’t bring your own gear, the park has you covered! At the main office, you can check out a Fishing Kit (rod, reel, fully-stocked tackle box) for free! Or you can dabble in the world of fly fishing by taking one of the occasionally-offered workshops at the park and then try for some trout in the Redwood River. There’s no doubt you’ll catch something worthy of a photo to put on the mantle while at Camden.
In every season, Camden State Park maintains trails that will make you want to spring out the door and have an adventure. There are 15.8 miles of adventures, to be exact; of those, 1.7 are an interpretive hike with information about nature and the fascinating history of this fairly old state park. Check out the 10 miles of horseback riding trails, or in the winter, come take advantage of the groomed skate-ski trail (one and a half miles), snowmobile trails (seven and a half miles), or make your own path with a pair of snowshoes! On any of these treks, check out the Jones Mill Historic Site where the settlement of Camden, MN used to be or, in the spring, keep your eyes peeled for stunning wildflowers.
Unless there is snow on the ground, Camden State Park is your biking oyster! All around the park you can cruise on single track mountain bike trails - check out the prairies, hilly forest, and cross over exciting streams and rivers. If you don’t want to be quite so extreme, hop on the Camden Regional Bike Trail - a 10-mile, paved track from the park to the nearby city of Marshall. Take this scenic route to get some ice cream or a drink in this charming town with excellent bike lanes to help you easily get around on two wheels.
How about a real-life treasure hunt, right in the state park? At Camden, you can check out a free Geocaching Kit - geocaching is using GPS (Global Positioning Systems) coordinates to help you locate little treasures that the park system or other visitors have previously hidden. Usually, the coordinates come along with a tricky clue or riddle, so that when you find the place, you also have to solve a puzzle to figure out where exactly to look for your hidden treasure in that area. The geocaching rule is: you can take what you find, but you must leave something else in its place. It’s a blast for children and adults alike.