Each year millions of campers, day hikers, cross country skiers, and nature enthusiasts visit Sibley State Park to relax near their fishing piers and beautiful trails. Sibley State Park was first established in 1919 when the townspeople noticed that many visitors thought the surrounding area was a wonderful place to spend a relaxing day. The park received its name in honor of the first governor of Minnesota, Henry Hastings Sibley. From 1935 to 1938, the Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the structures that now litter the park grounds to this day. Due to its historic value, the park has also been named a historic site.
Sibley State Park has 41 acres for you to explore with your family year-round. There are five lakes that surround the park, but the largest one is Norway Lake. Andrew Lake provides a lovely beach which opens Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day and a beach store for you to buy necessities that you may have forgotten to pack. The park also offers walking, horseback riding, hiking, and biking trails. You can walk along the fishing pier or take your boat on one of the many lakes. If you decide that you would rather learn about the different plants and animals that call the park home, you can go to the interpretive center, try geocaching, or take a look at Minnesota’s Birding Checklist.
There are three campgrounds with 141 sites both with non-electric and electric hookups. There are no water or sewer hookups, but a water spigot is located in each campground and a dump station is located in the park. Since the park is open year-round, there are plenty of winter and summer activities to enjoy during your stay. Winters are cold with heavy snow with plenty of clear skies for you to go skiing, sledding, or just playing in the snow. Summers are warm with many visitors flocking to the beach area and relaxing on the trails. Any time of the year is the perfect time to bring your RV to Sibley State Park.
RV Rentals in Sibley State Park
Transportation in Sibley State Park
If all roads lead to Rome, then half of them must travel by Sibley State Park. State Route 48 travels directly through the park and state route 9, 5, and 71 are parallel to the perimeter of the park. The park is located in New London, making it relatively close to Sunburg, Spicer, Norway Lake, and Hawick. You can swing by any of these towns and pick up some groceries or fishing rods. Each town is located near beautiful lakes and has lovely little shopping boutiques and restaurants for a night out on the town.
The entrance to Sibley State Park welcomes you with a large sign. You will need to drive slowly as the roads are narrow and many low hanging branches will hit against your rig. The roads are also hilly and may have a few potholes. The sites are not even, so you may need a few bricks to help balance your rig. There are sharp corners and tight spaces, which it is not recommended for you to have an RV over 60 feet long. While the park is big rig friendly, the sites in the Lakeview Campground are close together, leaving little room for privacy. Oak Ridge and the equestrian campgrounds are much more spacious.
The sites are reservation based rather than walk-ins. At the beginning of summer and national holidays, the park fills up fast with visitors from all over the state. You can make reservations starting in March and ending in October with the majority of the campgrounds. From November to February, you may make reservations on the weekends. The campgrounds are still open in the winter months, but a lot of the amenities are not available. If you arrive later than anticipated for your reservation, please be sure to call ahead of time. There will be a ranger or park host to help you check in. The park also uses payment envelopes if there is no ranger or host around to take your payment. In case of inclement weather, the park may close, deeming trails and the campground unsafe for visitors. The park enjoys cool summers and cold winters.
Campgrounds and parking in Sibley State Park
Campsites in Sibley State Park
There are nine sites in the equestrian campground. There are no hookups here, but a dump station is nearby and a water spigot is provided. Each site can fit six people with a maximum trailer length of 60 feet. The pads are grassy and level. There are no showers in this area, but you can use the showers in the other campgrounds. This campground is open from April to November, and weather permitting the trails may be open as well. Parking for this campground is located near Henchien Lake. Amenities included are a fire ring and a picnic table. Only approved firewood is allowed for use in the park and can be picked up at the park office. You may stay here for a limit of 14 days at a time and can make a reservation up to 11 months in advance.
Lakeview Campground is located near the Andrew Lake and the beach area. There are 74 sites available from April to November. 53 of these sites have electric hookups while the others do not. There are no water or sewer hookups available. A dump station is near this campground but it is only open from early-April to late-October. The water spigots in this campground are turned on from early-April to late-October. The sites are shaded but very close together. You won’t have much privacy from your neighbor but plenty of shade from the hot summer’s sun. Amenities included are restrooms, hot showers, picnic table, and a fire ring. Approved firewood is available in the park office, you may also find ice and other knick-knacks. You are prohibited from bringing your own firewood or gathering firewood from your surroundings. You can make a reservation for no more than 14 days at a time and up to 11 months in advance.
Oak Ridge Campground
Open from April to November, there are 58 sites in this campground and only 34 of them have electric hookups available. While there are no water or sewer hookups available, there are a few water spigots and a dumping station available for use from early-April to late-October. This campground is located near Tom’s Mountain and several trailheads are located near the campground. This campground has gravel pads and can fit trailers and RVs up to 70 feet long. The sites are farther apart and offer some privacy from your neighbors. Each lot is shaded and comes with a picnic table and a fire ring. Other amenities included hot showers and restrooms. You can pick up firewood at the park office. Remember that you are not allowed to bring your own firewood and should not gather firewood from your surroundings. You may stay up to 14 days at a time and can make a reservation up to 11 months in advance.
First-Come, First-Served Options
There are no first-come, first-served options in this park.
Seasonal activities in Sibley State Park
Sibley State Park has seven miles of trails for you to explore with your horse. All trails begin and end at the Horse Trail Center near Henchien Lake. You will also find the Equestrian campground near the Henchien Lake with parking and stables for your horses. You will need a Horse Pass if you are 16 years or older, and you can find these online or buy from the camp’s main office. It is recommended that you stay on the trails at all times and to never leave your horse unattended. You are required to wear a helmet at all times as well.
Going to the Beach
Andrew Lake’s shoreline offers a white sandy beach with miles of summertime fun. You can take your family there to enjoy a relaxing day on the beach or pop over to the volleyball court for a fun game. You will be responsible for your own safety and the safety of your children so be sure to keep an eye out as they play in the water. Dogs are not allowed on the beach at all. There is a beach store nearby where you can rent boats and canoes or just get a few snacks to eat on your beach vacation. Remember to wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. You may want to pack your favorite swimsuit and a big beach hat for the next time you visit.
The park comes with 18 miles of easy to moderate hiking trails. One of the more challenging ones is Tom’s Mountain Trail. It is a three-mile trail with plenty of ups and downs. Pay careful attention to the trail signs and bring a map with you when you go. You will need a pair of sturdy hiking boots and appropriate clothing depending on the weather. The trails are open year-round with beautiful fall colors and a wonderful winter view. If you plan on hiking in winter, be sure to bundle up and use snowshoes to make the hike easier.
There are eight miles of cross-country trails ranging from intermediate to challenging with hilly terrain to keep your heart rate up. You are required to have a pass to ski on the trails and it is recommended that you never ski alone. Taking a buddy with you can increase the fun and reduce the chances of an accident or injury. Remember to carry your phone with you, and a map. If at any time you feel extra winded or dizzy, stop and take a breather. Dress warmly and check the weather before you go on the slopes to ensure your safety.
There are several docks and launching ramps near the different lakes within the park. You can launch your boat near Lakeview Campground into Andrew Lake. There are also fishing piers and a cleaning station to help with your big catch of the day. You are required to have a valid Minnesota fishing license if you are over the age of 17. Each license is valid for one year and must be renewed each year for you to fish in any stream, lake, or river in the state. You can fish any time, just remember to follow the safety regulations in the winter months. Common catches are catfish, bass, crappie, sunfish, bullhead, and perch all year long. Game fish can only be caught during certain times of the year and that period changes each year based on the weather. There are plenty of bait shops around and while it may be tempting to dig around your campsite for worms, it is strictly prohibited to keep the park ecosystem balanced.
If you are interested in getting to know the birds that call Sibley State Park home, then you should swing by the camp store and pick up a bird checklist. The checklist will provide you with a list of commonly seen birds and rare birds. If you take the trail up to Tom’s Mountain, then be on the lookout for the house sparrow, great blue heron, Canadian geese, indigo buntings, egrets, and many more. Remember to pack your binoculars and a pair of sturdy hiking boots in your rig as you explore and learn about the different birds and their habitat.