Kilen Woods State Park is truly a nature lover's paradise. This quiet forest nestled in a remote area of Lakefield is a hidden gem waiting for weary RV travelers to stop and explore.
Outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes will find an adventure awaiting them here. Hike along the Des Moines River and stop off at the scenic overlook to admire the park's rolling hills and dense forest. Cast your line out into the river and grill up a catfish dinner at the park's picnic area. If you're just looking to enjoy a digital detox, leave the smartphone at home and escape into Kilen Woods to soak up some solitude.
Don't forget to pack your camera in the RV -- when you see some of the snaps other novice photographers have taken here, you'll want to take some shots of your own! The park is a protected area for local flora and fauna, and unless you spend your whole trip lazing around in your trailer, you'll undoubtedly spot an abundance of wildlife during your stay. Deer and squirrels are frequent visitors, and the occasional eagle soars over this expansive forest. Keen botanists will want to take to the trails in search of colorful flowers, including big bluestem, purple coneflowers, and blazing-star.
When you're ready to re-enter civilization, crank up the RV and take Highway 71 down to Jackson, where you and your camping crew can chow down on some fast food, refuel the RV, and hit I-90 to continue your Minnesota road-trip!
Kilen Woods State Park is a heavily forested area located near Holthe Prairie Scientific and Natural Area. While driving conditions aren't particularly hazardous, use caution when traveling the park's gravel roads, especially in winter. If you need to restock your supplies or fill up on gas, Lakefield is the nearest town and offers plenty of provisions, including a few local restaurants and gas stations.
Two parking areas are available at Kilen Woods State Park's campground. One small lot is located between loops A and B, while the other parking lot designated for walk-in campsites can be found near the vault toilets in loop B. All lots are gravel. A parking fee applies in addition to camping fees. The park office features a small, paved lot with one spot available for day-use visitors with disabilities.
As the park's name suggests, Kilen Woods State Park's campground is nestled in a heavily wooded area, so tent and RV campers will enjoy a spot of solitude here. With 37 campsites -- three of which are pull-through for larger motorhomes -- you'll have plenty of space to park the RV and head out to wander the woods.
Primitive camping is the name of the game at Kilen Woods, with just 11 sites offering electric hookups. Select sites offer 50-amp hookups. Four sites are designated tent-only, while the remaining sites are open to RVs and trailers. Amenities include seasonal flush toilets and showers, drinking water, and a trash station with recycling. The vault toilets in loop B are open year-round, although overnight camping is only available from May to October.
Note that the campground is located a stone's throw away from private property, so be a courteous camper and observe the park's quiet hours out of respect for your neighbors. Your favorite canine camping buddy is allowed to wag along for your camping trip at Kilen Woods State Park, so long as they're leashed, well-behaved, and cleaned up after.
Don't forget to bring your trusty fishing rod along for your camping trip at Kilen Woods State Park! The fish in Des Moines River keep biting all year long, specifically walleye, pike, catfish, and bullhead. If you keep quiet during your angling excursion, you just might spot a beaver or muskrat swimming along the river's calm current.
After a long drive in the RV, step outside and stretch your legs on the park's five-mile hiking trail network. The park's most popular trail wanders alongside the Des Moines River. Looking to soak up the area's scenery? Hit the Kilen Woods Scenic Overlook Trail, which is just under a mile-and-a-half-long and leads to -- you guessed it -- the park's scenic overlook. Take in vistas of colorful wildflowers blooming in spring, or bring the binoculars to do a little birdwatching. Respect this untouched natural habitat and leave nothing behind but footprints.
Add the binoculars to your camper packing list when planning your trip to Kilen Woods State Park -- you'll need them! Swallows and warblers are frequent flyers through these quiet woodlands, while eagles and falcons are a rare treat. Don't forget to download a full checklist of bird species living in Kilen Woods before setting out on your excursion.
Snow transforms this stunning green space into a winter wonderland just begging to be explored! See the park from a different perspective via snowshoe -- as long as you steer clear of the snowmobile trails, you're allowed to explore the entire park. When the frost really starts to bite, make your way to the warming house at the picnic area by the trail center to thaw out in front of the fireplace.
Offering three-and-a-half miles of winter trails, Kilen Woods State Park is a prime place for skilled snowmobilers to clock some time playing in the snow. However, these trails aren't groomed or maintained, so come prepared for any trail hazards. Be sure to check weather conditions on Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources website when planning your trip.
Kilen Woods State Park's cozy picnic area is an excellent spot to enjoy an al fresco lunch with the family. Cook your catch from the Des Moines River on the picnic area's grill and chow down at one of a dozen tables. Looking to host a larger party? Call the park office to enquire about reserving the park's picnic shelter, complete with electricity and a fireplace.