Just outside of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Turtle River State Park is a well-loved spot for year-round recreation and summertime camping adventure for hikers, fishermen, mountain bikers, and families.
There aren't a lot of trees in North Dakota, so this 784 acres of beautiful wooded valley along the scenic Turtle River is something of an oasis. Interesting stone bridges and log buildings around the park were constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps who developed the park. A large shady campground welcomes RVs and trailers with powered campsites. There are also several huge day use areas and building which can be reserved for large parties and weddings.
Hiking trails explore the park with over ten miles of walking, and in the winter these become well-groomed cross country ski trails in the snow. In the winter there is a warming hut open every day next to the popular sledding hill. Mountain bikers will find a a dedicated park with miles of singletrack winding playfully through the dense forest. Fishermen have well maintained access to the Turtle river which is actively stocked with brown and rainbow trout.
The park visitor center puts on events all year round, from a fishing derby and bike races, to winter survival classes and raptor demonstrations. They are definitely more active in hosting activities and classes than the average State Park
Because of the large pull-thru campsites, and the proximity to Grand Forks, this park is the go-to for large groups, family reunions, and simple camping with friends. Visitors feel safe letting their kids roam the campground on bikes and the general feel is a family-friendly spot.
RV Rentals in Turtle River State Park
Transportation in Turtle River State Park
This part of the country is popular with fifth wheels and big RVs for good reason, big roads, big parking lots, and many camping parks with pull-thru access. Turtle River State Park feels remote, but Grand Forks is nearby for supplies and entertainment after then sun sets. The campground is designed for trailers and towing vehicles, so no worries, even if you're new at driving something large.
Campgrounds and parking in Turtle River State Park
Campsites in Turtle River State Park
Turtle River State Park Campground
There are 100 total campsites in the park. 71 sites offer power and water. There are no full hook-ups in the park, but there is a central dump station. The camping is surprisingly roomy, with pull-thru sites throughout and room for the largest RVs to park and get around. There are vault toilets and drinking water, but not much more for services.
Seasonal activities in Turtle River State Park
Visitor Center Nature Programs
The Turtle River State Park visitor center classroom hosts events and educational talks on a wide variety of topics from fish and turtles, to raptors and the forest ecosystem. Themes are geared toward getting kids excited about nature, like winter survival and shelter-building, and fishing classes with live demonstrations. High quality education in an incredibly fun setting; your family will love it.
From dense wooded areas to open grassy meadows, Turtle River State Park is covered in hiking trails ranging in length from less than a mile to most of a day. Birds, deer, and yes - turtles, can be seen near the river and in the woods. A loop of the whole park is seven miles long, but there are many cut-offs which allow exploring in different directions and also heading back to camp a little sooner. The mountain bikes stay in their own area, so you won't have to worry about sharing the trail.
Mountain Biking Trails
With ten different singletrack rides ranging from easy to intermediate, Turtle River State Park is a real playground for mountain bikers. Smooth and swooping trails through deciduous forest with several bridges crossing the creek. Not much elevation to slow you down or burn up your legs make this easy, all day fun. The trails have been featured in a few mountain bike magazines.
Cross Country Skiing & Sledding
Winter hits hard in North Dakota, but that doesn't mean you'll be stuck inside. Turtle River State Park maintains seven miles of cross country ski trails for visitors in the winter. There is also a warming chalet open every day from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. There is also a sledding hill and designated dog walking and winter hiking areas. Several events are held to introduce kids to skiing and snow shoeing through the winter.
Event Space - Day Use
Meeting rooms, picnic shelters, and a full blown lodge are all available to rent out for large groups, parties, and weddings. The Woodland Lodge has become one of the most popular wedding spots in the area because of the great accommodations and scenic photo backdrops. This is an excellent place to plan a party, reunions, and company events. The day use areas are clean, inviting, and surrounded by grassy areas.
The Turtle River is stocked with trout and the park offers many great places for fly fishing from the shore. Many visitors report catching their daily limit in less than an hour when the fish are really biting. Easy access to the river and areas where vegetation has been cleared make this a great family fishing spot.