Experience Outdoor Adventure at Jay Cooke State Park This Spring

The Campground at Jay Cooke State Park Continue to Fill Fast; Reservations Recommended

CARLTON, Minn. – Folks are flocking to Jay Cooke State Park this spring.

Park rangers say midweek is the best time to visit right now if you’re looking to beat the big crowds.

“The Park itself is almost 9,000 acres in size,” said Ty Gangelhoff, assistant manager at Jay Cooke State Park.

It’s a vast landscape filled with countless opportunities for adventure. 

“I don’t think I’ve seen a mosquito in the park yet this year, so we don’t have a lot of mosquitos in the campground area or around the swinging bridge,” said Gangelhoff.

Rangers at Jay Cooke State Park believe it’s always a good time to visit, but it helps when the bugs are swarming come early spring.

“The wildflowers aren’t fully in bloom, but they’re beginning to pop,” said Gangelhoff.

From bird watching to wildflower finding, excitement encompasses every visit to the park.

“If people want to come out for camping early season, we recommend a reservation,” said Gangelhoff.

This season, the park’s campground is already filling fast. Gangelhoff says they’ve experienced the busiest April on record when it comes to folks setting up camp.

“We have about 80-90 campsites in the park, plus five camper cabins,” said Gangelhoff. “If the river is up, and the traffic on Highway 210 is not busy, you can be camping and hear the rapids from your campsite at night.”

Aside from staking out the perfect stay, visitors will also enjoy thousands of miles of trails including the Willard Munger State Trail, and scenic views of the St. Louis River from the iconic swinging bridge.

“A real highlight for the park is if you are out for a short amount of time, you can park in the main parking lot and see some really neat features of the river, or to go on the swinging bridge,” said Gangelhoff.

Similar to 2020, Gangelhoff predicts a year packed with visitors looking to escape, relax, and unwind whether from near or far.

“We would also see families on occasion out here that was doing the distance learning while also being able to camp at the same time,” said Gangelhoff.

Aside from the main parking areas, they recommend visiting the Oldenburg Point Picnic Area and Overlook which is located about one mile further east on Highway 210.

Park passes are $7 per day or $35 for the year.

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