Sitting along the south banks of the Rainy River just across the water from Ontario, Franz Jevne State Park offers a peaceful, secluded escape for those who visit this lesser-known gem of the Minnesota state park system. With 118 acres of undisturbed woodlands, shoreline along the Rainy River, and quiet campsites close to the water, Franz Jevne State Park is a great choice for your next RV getaway.
In addition to its serene environment, Franz Jevne State Park also offers visitors opportunities for fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking, snowshoeing, and more—with something to explore every time of year. Anglers and boaters can take advantage of the park’s miles of shoreline on the Rainy River and its convenient boat access point, while hikers can enjoy stretching their legs on the park’s nearly three miles of hiking trails. In the winter, adventurous visitors can enjoy snowshoeing throughout the park or cross-country skiing on groomed trails. And any time of year, visitors can enjoy looking out for the diverse wildlife frequenting the park, ranging from moose and beaver to woodpeckers and bald eagles.
Visitors who want to stay overnight at this northern Minnesota state park should make sure to come in the warmer months, as the park’s campground is open just from April through late October. Guests should be prepared for peaceful sites that are close to the water, but that involve fairly rustic conditions: Franz Jevne State Park has 18 drive-in sites, most of which are primitive campsites with limited amenities.
Located in far northern Minnesota just across the river from Canada, Franz Jevne State Park offers a serene and secluded experience for visitors who make the trip. The park is fairly remote, and sits a couple miles off of MN-11.
Once inside the park, visitors should note that there is no park office at this park, but they can plan to register for a campsite at the camper registration station located near the entrance of the park. Visitors in large rigs should be prepared for some tricky driving conditions inside the park: steep grades located after the picnic area, before the second set of campsites, limit large fifth wheel and RV travel. Guests can plan to park their rigs either at their campsite or in the designated parking areas located throughout the park, including near the walk-in sites, near the picnic area, and in the campground.
Franz Jevne State Park does not offer much in terms of supplies on-site, so visitors will have to venture outside the park for food, firewood, and other needs. In particular, visitors can find groceries, firewood, ice, and a restaurant in the town of Birchdale just a few miles from the park.
Franz Jevne State Park has 18 drive-in sites, with two of these sites offering electric hookups, while the rest are primitive sites. The sites are located in two clusters, with one group located just east of the rock outcrop and the other group located next to the picnic area closer to the park entrance. Since these sites do not offer water or sewer hookups, visitors will have to make use of the vault toilets available year-round near both sets of sites and the drinking water station located near the cluster of sites closer to the park entrance. All of the sites at Franz Jevne State Park offer easy access to Rainy River and to the hiking trails that wind throughout the park, and the sites can accommodate rigs of up to 30 feet in length. The campground is open from April through late October, and the sites can be claimed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Given the park’s prime location on the Rainy River, fishing is a popular draw to Franz Jevne State Park. Anglers can enjoy shoreline fishing while watching the sunset over the river, or take a boat out onto the river and fish from there, taking advantage of the boat access point. Either way, anglers can try their luck at catching walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and sturgeon. While fishing in the Rainy River, anglers can also soak in the views of Ontario across the river.
Marking the international border with Canada, the Rainy River is a unique spot to go boating, and Franz Jevne State Park makes it possible. Visitors to this Minnesota park can take advantage of the public boat access point located on the Rainy River just a few steps outside the park boundaries. Boaters can check out the small, lush island on the Rainy River, which is visible from shore when the water is high and can be easily accessed on foot during low water. While on the water, boaters should be wary of a rocky stretch of water that can make navigation difficult.
Franz Jevne State Park has nearly three miles of hiking trails to offer visitors. Hikers can hop on the park’s Hiking Club Trail and enjoy two half-mile loops, a range of shorter paths, or combine the trails and stroll the nearly three miles throughout the park. While on these trails, hikers can look out for a diverse group of vegetation including open hardwood flood plains, mossy rock outcrops, and stands of aspen, pine, and fir. At the end of the Hiking Club Trail, hikers can soak in the stunning views from the picturesque overlook along Rainy River.
Visitors who brave the northern Minnesota cold and make the trip to Franz Jevne State Park in the winter months will be in for a treat, as the park becomes a stunning destination for winter recreation once snow hits the ground. The adventurous winter visitors will be rewarded with endless opportunities for snowshoeing—as snowshoeing becomes permitted anywhere throughout the park—and excellent opportunities for cross country skiing, as the park offers groomed cross-country ski trails for visitors in the winter. The park does not offer equipment rentals, but visitors who bring their own gear will have plenty to explore.
Any time of year, visitors can expect to see a diverse range of wildlife at Franz Jevne State Park. Beaver, timber wolf, and moose all roam in the park, while many birds frequent the Rainy River, including various songbirds, woodpeckers, pelicans, and bald eagles. The park provides a full bird checklist that visitors can make use of, which indicates the varying prevalence of different types of birds throughout the year. In the park’s woodlands, visitors can look out for warblers, including black-throated green, magnolia, blackburnian, black-and-white, ovenbird, and American redstart, among others.
No matter the season you visit, one of the best ways to experience this lesser-known Minnesota park is to soak in the sounds of the rapids of the Rainy River and the songs of the birds flying overhead, while enjoying a picnic lunch. Franz Jevne State Park has a picnic area with tables, benches, and a picnic shelter, where visitors can either escape from the heat in the summer or warm up by the fire on a cold day. While enjoying a picnic, visitors should also check out the nearby rock outcropping, which dates back millions of years and towers above the park.