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Best Tent Camping: Minnesota: Your Car-Camping Guide to Scenic Beauty, the Sounds of Nature, and an Escape from Civilization Paperback – May 1, 2018
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About the Author
Tom Watson has enjoyed 30 years of camping in Minnesota, first as an Eagle Scout with Troop 22 in Minneapolis; later as a college student studying forest resource management at the University of Minnesota; and then throughout his life in various professions, including as a freelance writer specializing in outdoor subjects. Tom is an avid sea kayaker, naturalist, and photographer. He is also the author of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Minneapolis and St. Paul and Best Minnesota Camper Cabins.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Devil Track Lake Campground
Beauty 3 / Privacy 5 / Spaciousness 5 / Quiet 4 / Security 4 / Cleanliness 3
The closest campground to Grand Marais, Devil Track is situated on a peninsula at the western end of a long, narrow lake.
Address: Forest Route 1612, 0.2 mile south of Devil Track Road, Grand Marais, MN 55604
Contact: 218-387-1750, tinyurl.com/deviltracklakecg
Operated by: Superior National Forest, Gunflint Ranger District
Open: Year-round, when accessible (facilities: early May–mid-October; no fees or services in winter)
Sites: 16 rustic; group sites available
Each site has: Open tent area, picnic table, fire ring (premium sites available)
Wheelchair access: No designated sites
Assignment: First come, first served (no reservations)
Registration: Fee station at campground entrance
Facilities: Vault toilet, water
Parking: 1 vehicle/site; half fee/additional vehicle at site (must park on spur)
Fees: $16/night, $18/night premium sites
- Pets: Under owner’s control at all times
- Quiet hours: 10 p.m.–6 a.m.
- Fires: In fire rings; gathering of downed or dead firewood permitted; firewood must be purchased from approved vendor; nonash firewood gathered within 100 miles of Superior National Forest permitted
- Alcohol: Permitted
- Other: 9 people/site; use the facilities provided, such as tent pads and latrines; dispose of garbage in containers provided; water faucets for collecting water only―do not use area to wash dishes, fish, or other items; noise limits enforced at developed sites
When you drive into Devil Track Lake Campground, you might do a double take upon seeing the size of many of the campsites; they are huge expanses of grass. You could arrive in a bus and put up a circus tent and still have room for more. These sites are incredibly spacious―and therefore private.
Being as close as it is to Grand Marais, the lake serves two masters: those who want the amenities of a recreational water playground (motorboating, sailing, and even floatplanes) and those who want to feel that the north woods is right in the backyard. The campground is laid out along a broad, knobby peninsula near the western end of the lake.
I was dumbfounded when I drove into the site I had selected: The driveway extended nearly 50 yards long before coming to a Y intersection. My site was 4, to the left. That spur seemed to go on forever, too, before it came to the campsite itself. A broad, dense understory of mixed aspen and balsam fir separated my camp from site 3. Another line of trees separated the site from the lake. The rest of the area was a large, lawn-covered field that could easily allow me to pitch several more tents. The lone picnic table and fire ring are almost lost within the expansive site.
The campground is basically a long, curving stretch of camping spots along the lake with only four sites on the other side of the road. The road forms a cul-de-sac at the far end and makes a loop, with a lone site on it halfway back to the entrance. The area has mostly younger trees―aspen and spruce, with an occasional red pine and a few birch clumps scattered throughout the woods.
Site 1 is at the end of a 100-foot driveway and opens up into an immense area. The site is off to the right of a clearing where campers can get drinking water. Site 2 sits amid a stand of aspen saplings. Sites 3 and 4 are at the end of a long Y-shaped driveway, each at one end of the upper arms of the Y. These are the first sites that sit right on the lake; it’s only about 10 feet to the water from these big sites! Likewise, site 5 is large, with a long drive drawing you into the trees. Ditto for site 6, also flanked by young aspens.
Sites 7 and 8 are on a broad plateau―not as big as the others, but ample and situated right above the lake’s edge. Site 9 is at the end of the driveway that makes a beeline shot back to the campground. There is what seems to be a pull-through drive off the road at site 10. It’s handy because it’s blocked at one end; it best serves as a place to park your vehicle so it can at least partially block the view from the road.
Sites 12 and 14 are actually standard-size lots. Site 13 is a small site right on the road. Fortunately there is a small clump of birches serving as a visual screen for this site. The last site at the end of the road before the cul-de-sac is 15, a basic, “small” site when compared to the megasites here. Site 16 is off by itself on the back side of the loop that encircles the entrance.
Devil Track Lake would be the perfect place for a family that enjoys playing yard games while camping―there’s ample room to set up several different games at the same time. Of course, the lake is great for canoeing or kayaking; access at some sites is down a grassy or earthen embankment with a few boulders. There is a major floatplane base just east of the campground. Floatplane operations could provide entertainment, or some unwelcome noise.
Another nice treat about these sites is the openness to the sky―this would be an ideal campground for gazing at the Milky Way, summer meteor showers, and the occasional display of the northern lights. Main activities include fishing, swimming, and boating.
From Grand Marais take Gunflint Trail/CR 12 north 4 miles to Devil Track Road/CR 8. Turn left (west), and go 5.6 miles to the junction with CR 57. Stay left and go 2.7 miles, then turn left onto FS 1612. Go 0.2 mile to the campground.
GPS Coordinates: N47° 49.808 W90° 28.019'
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Paperback : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1634041240
- ISBN-13 : 978-1634041249
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
- Publisher : Menasha Ridge Press; 3rd Edition (May 1, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #788,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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