Savanna Portage State Park
Guide

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Introduction

If you need a heavy dose of mother nature, pack the campervan and get rolling toward northern Minnesota. The state's third-largest state park, Savanna Portage State Park, is 15,818 acres of pure nature composed of rolling hills, somber lakes, mud-spattered bogs, and eye-catching wildlife. The park is home to the historic Savanna Portage Trail. The Savanna Portage Trail is a canoe route once paddled by the Ojibwe and Dakota natives, fur-traders, missionaries, and European explorers during the 17th and 18th centuries. You will find plenty of outdoor recreation at Savanna Portage State Park for both campers and day-use guests. Bike on designated trails or hike near the iconic Continental Divide. The Continental Divide Trail is unique because, from the trail, you can spot the division of water; to the west of the Divide, the water flows from the river into the Mississippi River, and from the east of the Divide, water flows from the river into Lake Superior. The water activities don't stop at the Continental Divide. Anglers can fish at four different locations, and the whole family can cool off by splashing in crystal clear waters during the summer. Wherever you wander, you will be immersed in never-ending amusement. Whether you're renting a motorhome from nearby or hauling your own rig, Savanna Portage State Park features more than 60 developed, RV-friendly campsites. The RV camping facilities at the park also include a group campsite for up to 30 people. The campground is open year-round, with hundreds of campers bringing their trailers, motorhomes, and rigs to the park for a unique camping adventure in a historically significant location. Visit Savanna Portage State Park during the peak season from May to October, and see the splendor of the park in full swing.

RV Rentals in Savanna Portage State Park

Transportation in Savanna Portage State Park

Driving

Savanna Portage State Park occupies more than 15,000 acres on the northeastern side of the town of McGregor. Popular routes like Minnesota State Highway 65 and 210 will easily take you to the park. The roads are in good condition all year round, except in icy winters or during rainfalls when the roads may become challenging to drive on.
The park is surrounded by state and national forests that make for exciting day trips. Hill River State Forest to the west and Solana State Forest to the south are both under an hour's drive. Further north, Minnesota's only national park, Voyageurs National Park, can be reached in under three hours.
When inside the park, get a parking permit for your RV, motorhome, camper, or whatever you are bringing along. The license is available at the Park Office near the entrance. The park is large, so you will need to drive to get from one place to another. Luckily, the roads are generally in good condition: wide and well-paved. If you RV camp in winter, you will have to drive some distance from your campsite to the park office to fetch drinking water or to use flush toilets. Sufficient parking is available at several locations in the park.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Savanna Portage State Park

Campsites in Savanna Portage State Park

Reservations camping

Lake Shumway Campground

Sixty-one campsites, 18 of which also boast electric hookups, are available for RV and tent camping in Savanna Portage’s campground along with many on-site amenities. The electrical hookup sites can only be booked for the peak season. Forty-three non-electric sites are available year-round, even during the winter. There are 61 drive-in sites, four pull-through sites, six backpack sites, and one canoe-in site in the campground. On-site amenities like water, flush toilets, and showers are only available in the campground during the peak season from April to October. For winter campers, these facilities are available at the park office. A dump station, located just outside the campground, is also available from April through mid-October. Vault toilets are open in the campground year-round. All recreational vehicles, rigs, motorhomes, and campers less than 55 feet can fit into a campsite. Reservations are available year-round and are highly recommended for peak season.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Group Camping

Bring your whole group for camping at Savanna Portage State Park as group camping for up to 30 people is offered in a forested region with Savanna Lake in the background. On-site amenities include a hand-water pump and vault toilets. Fire rings, boat landing, and picnic tables are also provided. Small trailers or campers are also permitted in the group camp area.

Seasonal activities in Savanna Portage State Park

In-Season

Biking

If you want an authentic view of the park without a windshield impeding your view, then you must get a taste of biking here at Savanna Portage State Park. Over 10 miles of terrain, as well as park roadways, are designated for biking. Mountain biking is permitted on specific trails, so be sure to plan your route ahead of time. If you toted your fat bike along with you in the motorhome, there is an ungroomed trail around Lake Shumway that is designated just for fat bikes.

Water Activities

Endless water recreation awaits RV campers at four immensely beautiful lakes at Savanna Portage State Park. Loon Lake offers a swimming beach on its sandy shorelines, and boating opportunities are available at all four lakes: Wolf, Savanna, Loon, and Shumway. RVers camping at Shumway Lake Campground will have close access to the Lake Shumway boat launch. If you didn't tow your own boat, rentals such as motorboats, canoes, and kayaks are available at Loon Lake Recreation Area. Don't forget to pack the sunscreen for your day out on the water.

Picnicking

Campers bringing their families and friends along in the Airstream should enjoy some peaceful picnic time at Savanna Portage State Park. The pleasant scenery and vibrancy of the park call for some private family time roasting marshmallows or playing a game of Go-Fish. A fancy picnic shelter is available for rent during spring, summer, and fall. Several picnic tables decorate various locations in the park, so scope them out while on a hike. Picnicking options are also available in the group camp area.

Hiking

Hiking is a must at this scenic state park. There are over 25 miles of trails to hike, with options for beginners and experts alike. The stunning vistas of the Continental Divide Trail will have your heart swooning. If you want to discover how Dakota and Ojibwe Indians and fur traders from 200 years ago traveled through the strenuous Savanna Portage Trail, try locating the portions of the river they once traversed. Beaver Pond Trail is also quite popular among hikers and sightseers. Get out of your RV, put on your hiking boots, and get set hiking this historic park.

Off-Season

Photography

Northern Minnesota puts on a show during the autumn, so you won't want to be without your camera when you head to Savanna Portage State Park. The four glacial lakes and the surrounding forests create the perfect backdrop to take in the stunning fall foliage in this area. If you tread lightly along the park's trails, you may be lucky enough to capture some of the park's diverse wildlife, like deer, moose, bears, or wolves. Novices and professional photographers alike can relish in the tranquil landscapes of the park during the off-season when there are fewer visitors, and if you fancy a full-fall foliage excursion, gas up the Sprinter van and head east until you reach Duluth (about 70 miles). From Duluth, head north along Lake Superior for stunning views of the biggest freshwater lake in the world and the colorful forests that surround it.

Fishing

Minnesota is famous for fishing. And if you're in this neck of the woods, you won't want to be without your gear. There are four lakes within the park, Savanna, Wolf, Loon, and Shumway, and each lake is an excellent fishing spot. It is not uncommon for anglers to catch panfish, trout, and bass in these waters. You can fish from one of the fishing piers, or head out on the water with your boat. If you didn't haul your own boat behind the motorhome for this trip, boat rentals are available at Loon Lake Recreation Area.

Touring the Visitor Center

Step back roughly two centuries ago at Savanna Portage State Park’s Visitor Center. The center holds eye-catching, interpretive displays reminding visitors of the long-gone history of the region. No matter what time of the year you bring your campervan to Savanna Portage, take out time to drive to the Visitor Center and experience some of the rich cultural and fascinating natural history of the area.

Winter Recreation

The cold winters call for an abundance of outdoor recreation at Savanna Portage State Park. When the snow sticks, more than 32 miles of icy trails are groomed to offer an outstanding snowmobiling experience. You can also spend a few hours skiing with friends, family, or all by yourself. Do not forget to pack a pair of snowshoes in your camper for a peaceful snowshoeing trek along the groomed trails of the park. You can snowshoe anywhere in the park except the trails designated for snowmobiling and skiing. A warming house is located on-site if you need to take a break from all the snow-play.

Wildlife Viewing

Savanna Portage State Park’s diverse landscape, composed of lush green marshes, oak, hardwood, pine trees, and mud-splashing bogs are home to ethereal wildlife and birds. The park is an excellent birding and wildlife viewing destination throughout the year. During winters, black-capped chickadee red and white-breasted nuthatch are both commonly sighted in the park, and little brown creepers are uncommon, but they can be spotted with a bit of effort and a pair of binoculars. Majestic wildlife like bear, deer, coyote, and wolf also capture the attention of campers who bring their rigs to the park to explore the great outdoors.

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