We pulled in to Woodenfrog Campground in Woodenfrog State Forest around midnight and quickly got busy setting up our camp. Thankfully, the campground was far from full and since it was late, we could set up far away from other visitors. Located in the middle of wilderness near Superior National Forest, the number and brightness of the stars was truly amazing! It was chilly as we rushed around finishing our set up. We had just finished throwing our sleeping bags in our tents when we heard the howl of a far away wolf. The replying howls echoed all around us across the dark forest. To me, this is one of the most exciting sounds to hear. I guess she wanted to join her relatives because Luna excitedly leaped up and barked her reply as she tried to jump out of the tent. Thankfully though, she decided she would rather stick around and eventually settled back down on her blanket. We all snuggled in our sleeping bags to escape the chilly night air. As we fell asleep, we all knew we were in a special place. A visit to this part of the country is a true north woods wilderness experience.
The typical way to visit the Boundary Waters area is with a boat, traveling over the water to the numerous island campsites. But because of the size of our family, our relatively limited canoe experience and the fact we had our dog with us, we chose to explore the mainland which was still a wonderful way to visit. Woodenfrog State Forest is located adjacent to Voyageurs National Park on the shore of beautiful Lake Kabetogama and is one of the only mainland campgrounds near the park. While this is a primitive camp, privy toilets and water spigots are dispersed throughout the sites.Heavily wooded, sites at Woodenfrog State Forest are large and private and several back up to the beautiful lake. There are two docks located in the camping area, and a large day use area with a dock, picnic area with tables and grills, and a swimming beach. This would be a perfect camping spot to use as a home base while you explored the small islands with a canoe, kayak or motor boat.
I don’t know if Woodenfrog State Forest’s campground’s 60 sites ever fills, but there were only about a dozen sites occupied during our stay in July. The cost of camping here is $14 a night which we payed at the unmanned entry kiosk. Click here for a map of the campground.
While it is true that mosquitoes and flies will bother you when visiting Woodenfrog State Forest in the summer, don’t let that deter you from planning a trip. Our time here was definitely worth every bite. This place is beautiful and one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited, and a few bug bites are a small price to pay.
We spent a wonderful night at the day use area laying out on the dock, swimming at the beach and walking the path around the picnic grounds. I watched a mama loon and her chicks playing along the shore as the sun set. The dock was a nice place to sit and watch the multitude of stars come out. Our pup Luna was a little apprehensive of the dock as it moved when we walked over it, but she eventually relaxed. It was a perfect night.
We only stayed three nights at Woodenfrog State Forest due to time constraints, but we could have easily spent more. On future visits, I will bring a canoe to use during our visit off the convenient docks. Boat rentals are also available at several of the resorts that dot the lake.
Woodenfrog State Forest
If you go-
Arriving so late, we did not see the posted rules that stated you could not set up camp after 10 PM. Oops! Thankfully no one was around to enforce this rule as I am not sure where we would have gone to stay so late. We did our best to be extra quiet and choose a site away from those occupied so we would not bother other visitors.
Another posted rule states that only two sleeping shelters can be set up per site. We use three small tents, so we were prepared to spread out over two sites if necessary but thankfully no one asked us to.
While a campfire does keep bugs at bay, bug spray is essential up here- especially during dawn and dusk. We used Repel which worked well as well as burned citronella candles when at camp. We also wore Head Nets when the mosquitoes and flies were especially bad along with long sleeves and pants. For future visits, I would consider bringing our Screenhouse to have a communal place to relax away from the bugs.
There were plenty of trees to set up our Eagles Nest Outfitters Hammock. We love having an extra place to relax when camping.
Dogs are allowed throughout the grounds, as long as they remain on leash. We saw several camping pooches during our visit.
The closest convenience store was located about 10 minutes away down City Road 122 so we were able to replenish our ice, buy firewood and resupply our wine and beer. You know, the important stuff!