7 County Metro Camping
Explore the Wilderness in Your Backyard
Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes is home to a variety of wild places, including pristine areas that exist within the Twin Cities Metro Area. Allow your adventurous spirit to explore close to home for a camping experience at one of the many metro area parks. Camping locations include, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Cleary Lake Regional Park and Baker Park Reserve.
Get a taste of camping by cooking wonderful meals, hiking trails and paddling clear waters. Spend your evenings tucked around the campfire talking with new friends, playing games and sharing stories.
For standard meeting places and times, see Dates & Fees tab.
DAY 1: Your trip starts in the afternoon at a metro area park. Locations may include Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Cleary Lake Regional Park and more! You will meet your group and receive a brief introduction of the area before setting up camp. Dependent on your trip's itinerary you may head out for a hike or explore the water by canoe. In the evening you will settle into camp, enjoy a hot dinner, and get to know each other around the fire.
DAY 2: Awake early to enjoy breakfast and warm beverage of your choice. You will have a variety of activity options to choose from. Depending on location and what the group would like, you can expect to hike, canoe, or swim. Prepare dinner as a group and enjoy the evening around the fire eating s'mores and reflecting on your camping experience!
DAY 3: Wake up early to enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading out for one last hike. Return to your tent and pack up your personal gear. The trip officially ends after lunch. If you use WI's van transportation you can expect to arrive back in Minneapolis in the early afternoon.
Travel, Terrain, Etc...
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: Much of the time is spent at camp or participating in other nearby activities which may include canoeing or hiking.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: You will be base-camping at a group campsite. The site is large, flat and accessible. An average day's activities may consist of hiking, canoeing and exploring the immediate area. Outings typically consist of 2-5 hours, depending on weather conditions. To protect the environment, WI uses Leave No Trace camping techniques.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the summer months range from 45 F to 85 F. Rainfall can vary, but you should expect at least one day of rain.
LODGING/BATHROOM FACILITIES: This is a camping trip. At night you will sleep in a comfortable tent. Typically, there are 3 to 4 people per tent (although other arrangements can be made). We recommend that you bring your own personal sleeping bag and "camprest" foam core inflatable mattress (a limited number of sleeping bags and mattresses are available for individuals who need them). Bathroom facilities consist of an outhouse. We make every effort to ensure privacy and cleanliness.
MEALS: The food we bring is plentiful, nutritious, and geared for families. You can expect meals like burritos, pasta, and chicken stir-fry for dinner; sandwiches, fruit, and gorp for lunch; pancakes, eggs, bacon, and pancakes for breakfast -- and plenty of good coffee! If you have special dietary restrictions, be sure to list them on your registration.
GROUP SIZE: The group size ranges from 10 to 20 participants, plus Wilderness Inquiry staff. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities.
CAMP CHORES: Our trips are cooperative in nature. WI staff will assist you in whatever areas you need, however most people pitch in where they can. Part of the adventure involves learning about daily camp activities.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: If you are new to outdoor activities, you need not spend a lot of money on gear. Wilderness Inquiry will provide all necessary canoeing and camping equipment. All you need to provide is your personal gear, such as clothing and a sleeping bag. A detailed equipment list will be sent to you upon confirmation of your participation. If you need to borrow personal gear, that can usually be arranged.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: No previous experience is needed to complete this trip.A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
The landscapes of the Twin Cities metropolitan area have been shaped over time by the elements that define our region: snow and water. Everywhere you look in Minnesota there is evidence of our glacial past. Since the glaciers moved onward, humans have taken over and directed the modern history of the land.
Evidence suggests that people have lived in the region for almost 12,000 years. Throughout this history, the major rivers in the area have served for navigation, and travel, and for fishing and hunting. The lakes and prairies that dominate the oak savanna ecosystems of southern and central Minnesota have also offered excellent fishing and hunting.
Eventually, these regions offered excellent farming conditions to the people of the area as well. All of these conditions came together creating the potential to harness the power of the Mississippi River for energy and shipping in the 19th century. This resulted in a milling boom in the in the Twin Cities area. The industrial growth spurred a population boom and the need to preserve open spaces became apparent. Many urban areas across our nation have struggled to scrape together park spaces, which are few and far between. Long ago, residents of the Twin Cities began planning for the future, and we have them to thank for the wonderful park systems alive today.
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Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Fort Snelling State Park Picnic Island at 2:00 PM (local time)
End: Fort Snelling State Park Picnic Island at 10:00 AM (local time)